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About Albania

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Language: Albanian
Time Zone: GMT +2
Government: Democratic
Coastline: 362 km
Sunshine: Up to 350 days
GDP Growth: 5% (2006)

Albania is rapidly growing as a popular tourist destination. The south-eastern European country with a unique Mediterranean climate and hot dry summers is being enjoyed by a growing number of tourists every year. Albania shares the same stunning coastline as Croatia and Montenegro.However, Albania has a warmer climate and prices are about a quarter of those compared to it's better known neighbours.

With hundreds of millions of euros being invested in the country by the EU in preparation for EU entry in 2014 and NATO entry in 2008, investment into the capital city must be one of the safest and most lucrative investments in the world today.

List of topics
  • Getting There
  • Economy
  • History and Politics
  • Investment Potential
  • Hotels & Restaurants
  • Electricity supply
  • Hours of Business
  • Social Etiquette
  • Legal System

Getting There
Albania has a new International Airport, located in the Capital, Tirana. Flights are available to Tirana from most major UK airports. Flights are readily available from the U.K. With BA, Bmi, Malev-Hungarian Airlines, Lufthansa, Alitalia offering regular services from £150 return!

A new thermal power plant is planned in the center of the country.The government is also moving to improve the national road and rail network, which historically has been a long-standing barrier to sustained economic growth.Such projects are already seeing fruition with completion of prestigious projects such as the Tirana ring road. EU funds are undoubtedly accelerating growth within the country. The country has experienced periods of strong growth between 2003-07 and inflation is low and stable.

History and Politics

For the many decades under his totalitarian domination, Hoxha created and destroyed relationships with Yugoslavia, the Soviet Union, and China. Towards the end of the Hoxha era, Albania was isolated, first from the capitalist West (Western Europe, North America and Australia) and later even from the communist East. Enver Hoxha died in 1985. By the end of 1990, in line with much of the Eastern European countries, the regime accepted a 'multiparty' system.

The first general elections were held in March 1992 and produced the countries first democratic coalition. This consisted of the Democratic party, the Social-Democrats and the Republican Party.

The Euro-Atlantic integration of Albania has been the ultimate goal of the post-communist governments. Albania's EU membership bid, has been set as a priority by the European Commission. In 2006 Albania signed a Stabilization and Association Agreement with the EU, thus completing the first major step towards joining the the EU. Albania, along with Croatia and Macedonia, is expected to receive an invitation to join NATO in 2008.

Investment Potential
Albania is currently undergoing a period of redevelopment as it tries to develop a similarly thriving tourist industry to those which can now be seen in other Eastern European countries, such as Bulgaria, Romania and Montenegro.

With a new focus on the economic growth supported by aims of NATO and European entry, Albania has emerged as a strong investment market for nationals and internationals alike. Finance options are readily available for foreign investors, whilst the mortgage market is surprisingly developed with locals being able to obtain up to 100% mortgages!

Other economic benefits are:
  • No Purchase Tax
  • No Capital Gains Tax
  • High Capital Growth
  • Simple buying Process

Passports / Visas

A valid passport is required to enter in Albania. Identity cards are not accepted. UK citizens do not need a visa to enter in Albania.

Hotels & Restaurants
Around the historic city of Tirana, there is a wealth of High quality restaurants and four - five star hotels all offering an atmosphere of well-deserved grandeur and uncompromising quality.

Albanians are excellent at providing hospitality and no where is this more obvious than in some of the finest restaurants to be found.

The local cuisine is famous for the rich flavours and freshness of ingredients, where possible are grown locally. There truly is an abundance of choice and it is hard to be disappointed in quality or service.

Electricity supply
The electricity supply is similar to that of the majority of European countries. They operate on 220 volts, at 50 cycles. This means that travellers from the U.K. will require adaptors and in some cases transformers for any mains operated equipment.

Hours of Business
Shopping hours: Generally Mon-Sat 08:00-12:00 and 15:00-19:00
Office hours (including Banks): Mon-Fri 08:00-16:00

Social Etiquette
Some Albanian characteristics and mannerisms resemble those of the mainland Greeks, most notably in the more rural areas; for instance, a nod of the head means no’ and shaking one’s head means ’yes’. Handshaking is the accepted form of greeting. Any attempt to speak Albanian is greatly appreciated by locals.

Although previously frowned upon by the authorities, tips are gratefully received in restaurants or for any service provided. The usual is to tip 10-15% if you are satisfied with the service. Service charges are not usually included in the bill.

Legal System
Albania has a civil law system. The government has has accepted jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court for its citizens.
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