Focus Group Meeting 'On Formalization and Competitiveness in Tourism' (28 September 2018)

Secretariat holds consultation meetings with key stakeholders ‘On Formalization and Competitiveness in Tourism’

September 28th, 2018

In the framework of the upcoming Investment Council meeting ‘On Formalization and Competitiveness in Tourism,’ the IC Secretariat has organized consultation meetings with representatives of central/local government, tourism associations, chambers of commerce, etc. In early July 2018, a survey was launched by the Secretariat with focus on ‘Informality and Competitiveness in the Tourism Sector,’ covering issues related to i) fiscal administration such as frequency of tax control, inspectors’ skills, etc., ii) business perception on informality in the sector, iii) other  concerns related to the current business and investment climate in the country.

Roundtables were organized in close consultation with local chambers of commerce and industry, respectively in Durrës (5-Sep), Gjirokastra (7-Sep) and Korça (12-Sep), attended by around 65 representatives in total. In addition, individual consultation meetings were held with tourism business associations as well as businesses from Shkodra, Vlora and Tirana. Purpose of these regional meetings was to share preliminary findings of the Survey, highlighting region-specific findings on informality in the tourism sector, including business concerns identified by the Secretariat since 2015 (tourism sector) and to openly discuss with the business potential findings and recommendations.

During these consultation meetings, business stakeholders confirmed an increase in hospitality demand and capacities, especially during the last tourism season. However, some main business concerns are related to unfair competition, lack of quality in human resources to face the increasing number of visitors, obstacles to access to finance, need for more public infrastructure etc.

Following consultation with key stakeholders, as per usual IC working methodology, the Secretariat held a focus group meeting (28-Sep) at a technical level to further discuss and consolidate the preliminary findings from the survey, desk-research analysis and direct consultation with the business. The meeting was attended by around 20 representatives from the Ministry of Tourism, General Tax Directorate, Tax Appeal Directorate, Albanian Tour Operators Association,  Association of Albanian Touristic Restaurants, CCI Tirana, DIHA, AmCham, Advantage Austria, CCI France-Albanie, ATTSO, GIZ, USAID, Nordic Association Albania (which officially informed that Thomas Cook Northern Europe launches Albania as a new destination for summer 2019), etc. After the Secretariat’s presentation, participants commented survey’s findings and further discussed the impact of fiscal initiatives for the sector on employment, and investment by the size of the business, the role of the public infrastructure, informality related to www.booking com/Airbnb etc. as a major constraint for the competitiveness of the sector.

All the constructive comments and suggestions, deriving from this inclusive consultation process, will be elaborated and reflected in the consolidated analysis of the Secretariat, which will be presented in the upcoming meeting of Investment Council (mid-October 2018).

 

Roundtable organized in close consultation with CCI Durres (5 September 2018)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roundtable organized in close consultation with CCI Gjirokaster (7 September 2018)

Roundtable with the business community in Korça (12 September 2018)

Investment Council is supported by the Ministry of Finance and Economy, the EBRD and the Central European Initiative.