15 November 2011

A Mark of Quality for Albanian Tourism

Albania Holidays has been, and still is, one of the main supporters of this USAID project, which will help putting Albanian tourism back into international standards. Projects such as Quality Mark help classifying tourism businesses in Albania and diminish informality. Soon we will publish at our hotel websites www.albania-hotel.com and www.tirana-hotel.com which hotels are awarded the respective Quality Mark, adding in this way another professional source for tourists to find the right hotels. Below the article:
Country's first Quality Mark boosts membership and advocacy efforts of fledgling sector
A Mark of Quality for Albanian Tourism
Logo Authentic Albania
Logo Authentic Albania
The visual identity of the Authentic Albania Quality Mark program was developed based on motifs placed on ancient Illyrian vases and amphora, as well as ornamental designs used in Albanian traditional folk costumes. The key symbolizes Albanian hospitality.
"This helps members set themselves apart in terms of quality."
For a small Balkan country that just 20 years ago was completely closed to foreigners, Albania has come a long way to overcome its isolation, building both infrastructure and a reputation for hospitality that has grown a burgeoning travel industry. In fact, Lonely Planet travel guides currently list Albania as one of this year's top 10 travel and tourism destinations in the world.
USAID began work with the Government of Albania and its tourism industry (or ATA) in 2003 to promote the country's image and strengthen tour operator competition. In 2010, in partnership with the ATA, USAID's Rritje Albania ("Grow Albania") project launched the industry's first quality certification system for hotels and guesthouses: the Authentic Albania Quality Mark. USAID has supported assessor training and the design and promotional campaign.
So far, over 60 hotels and guesthouses have applied to the program to have their facilities and services evaluated based on the international hospitality standards and Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria that govern receipt of the Quality Mark. In April 2011, ATA awarded its first 20 Quality Marks to those businesses meeting its standards. The program is encouraging better business practices and providing recipients with an extremely effective publicity campaign.
"This is becoming one of our association's most visible and effective programs," said ATA's executive director, Ms. Matilda Naco. She added, "There is evident value in the Quality Mark for businesses because it helps members set themselves apart in terms of quality. […] It is increasingly important that we can advocate for sustainable tourism development at the national level. This must be the future of tourism in Albania."
USAID has been an important partner in the development of tourism sector since 2003, helping promote Albanian tourism, working with small and medium enterprises in the tourism sector, as well as the ministry to improve Albania's image as a desirable tourist destination.
The Agency will continue to support Rritje Albania until 2013, at which time local tourism authorities will assume full ownership.

11 November 2011

Frommer's Top Value Destination in 2012: Albanian Riviera !

Being still the Lonely Planet’s Nr.1 country to visit this year, it’s a pleasure to see Frommers confirming this by choosing Albania as 2012 Top Value Destination. Albania Holidays offers you the possibility to travel to Albania, while with www.albania-hotel.com you can book online a hotel in Albanian Riviera. Below the article:

Top Value Destination: Albanian Riviera

Unsung, undeveloped and eminently affordable, the Albanian Riviera has all the natural attractions of its Croatian counterpart further north but without the crowds and considerable expense. Here you have white-sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, and Mediterranean villages barely changed since long before King Zog.
A coastal road, reconstructed in 2009, allows you a relaxed and jaw-dropping drive from the Llogara National Park in the north to Lukovë, close to Corfu, in the south.
The black pines and Bulgarian firs of Llogara is where Caesar pursued Pompey the Great. Golden eagles and griffon vultures still fly overhead today, above chamois and European wildcats. Paragliding and hiking provide peaceful recreation in a landscape dotted with lemon groves, olive plantations, and castles built by medieval Sultans intent on taking Corfu. Spit-roasted lamb and honey tea, perhaps sourced within earshot, provide memorable sustenance.
Borsh is considered the warmest spot in Albania. Romans, Greeks and Venetians scrapped for its three-mile-long beach, the longest on Albania's Ionian coast. The Greeks stayed put in Himarë, a sleepy hamlet of authentic tavernas, Orthodox churches and a bizarre dialect of archaic Greek no longer spoken in Athens. This is genuinely Greece as it once was.
In nearby verdant Qeparo, Greeks and Albanians live amid olive groves planted before Napoleon, positioned above a beautiful beach you'll barely have to share.
For real isolation, swim between the four Ksamili Islands just south of Sarandë in Albania's extreme southwest, blessed with a beachside bar, maybe two. From the littoral you could walk to Greece but, then again... why would you?
Read more: http://www.frommers.com/micro/2011/top-destinations-2012/top-value-destination-albanian-riviera.html#ixzz1dR7kRrLb