Many tourists and few workers

2023-05-28 16:10:00, Sociale CNA
Many tourists and few workers
Kallmi beach near Durrës

In the capital of Albania, Tirana, every day you can see groups of foreign tourists. Despite the increase in the number of tourists, the tourism industry in Albania is facing a labor shortage.

Foreign tourists mainly visit some of the main tourist attractions of Tirana, such as the National Historical Museum, the Clock Tower, the Et'hem Beu Mosque, take pictures in front of the monument of the Albanian national hero, Gjergj Kastrioti Skënderbeu, as well as visit BunkArt2, since the period of communist regime has been the anti-nuclear bunker of the Ministry of the Interior. They also visit the Albanian coastline.

Radio Free Europe has talked to some of the foreign tourists who have shown what they like and what they don't like in Albania.

Many tourists and few workers
A beach in Radhime, near Vlora.

Complaints about the quality of services

"I am in Albania for the first time and I like it very much. I like nature and food, but the negative is the fact that few people know how to communicate in English while serving us", said Marina Kataschlaga from Austria, who visited the Et'hem Beu Mosque in Tirana, for Radio Free Europe.

Meanwhile, Mishel from Austria, before visiting Tirana, had stayed in the south of Albania, in Ksamil, which he said was a very beautiful place. However, she had complaints about the service.

"Restaurants and hotels are really good, but the staff have a lot of problems communicating with foreign tourists. Road infrastructure is also a problem. However, I like Albania and I will come back again", said this tourist.

Many tourists and few workers
A beach in Durrës

Raiza from Indonesia said that Albania is very similar to her country in terms of roads and traffic. Despite appreciating the cleanliness, she mentioned the problems she had with the service at the hotel, due to the small number of workers.

"We were going to our room on the 12th floor, and the staff was a bit of a mess, a bit aggressive sorting our bags while we were waiting to take the lift. I also had difficulty communicating because they understood little English," she said.

Over 50 percent more tourists

According to the latest report of the Institute of Statistics (INSTAT), published on May 25, tourism in Albania has increased.

"During the months of January-April, Albania was visited by about 1.7 million foreigners, which compared to the same period a year ago is 57 percent more", said the report.

The tourist companies said that there is an influx of tourists and there are reservations for the summer months. But what troubles them is coping with this situation, due to the lack of manpower.

Many tourists and few workers
A woman cools off in Xhema lake in Valbona National Park.

Feriolt Ozuni, tourism expert and head of a tourist agency, said that finding qualified or semi-qualified staff is a big challenge.

"The tourism industry needs at least 35 percent more staff, as this type of industry guarantees a seasonal period. We are forced to hire untrained staff, which affects the quality of services, but we have no other choice for some services. So, as the vernacular says, we are patching, we are trying to fill the gaps in all kinds of ways," said Ozuni.

He emphasized that because they fail to hire qualified staff, they are forced to turn some of the staff members into "trainers" for his workers.

“I suffer for bus drivers after organizing various tours and I cannot hire unqualified people and train them because it takes too much time. I have been forced to be the driver myself, but also the tourist guide in some cases, with several groups of local and foreign tourists. These are contracts that were signed a few months ago and it does not predict how the situation will turn out and you will find yourself without workers. So, as a company manager, I am forced to do these jobs as well. My responsibilities are big, I have to be in contact with partners, clients, etc. This has happened to many of my colleagues, due to the numerous staff shortages we have", he said.

Many tourists and few workers
A beach in Himare, in the south of Albania

Although state institutions have made tourism a priority, Ozuni said that he does not see that anything has been done in this direction. He said that vocational secondary schools or universities are not oriented towards the needs of the labor market.

"Urgent, not long-term solution"

Besnik Vathi from the hotel-tourism association, told Radio Free Europe that the lack of labor is the main problem of tourism on the eve of the start of the summer season.

"It is too late to find a solution now. Measures should have been taken much earlier with concrete long-term policies. For this season, this cost remains with the business, which has taken measures for individual training, while they are trying to find qualified workers from Turkey, Serbia, North Macedonia to bring qualified workers, this season with an increasing flow cope with successfully. Now the business must look for urgent, not long-term solutions", said Vathi.

Many tourists and few workers
Tourists near the town of Permet, where the Vjosa river passes.

He added that the tourism industry in Albania has a shortage of cooks, waiters and even drivers.

According to the report published by INSTAT, the number of foreign tourists this year is the highest in the last seven years. This institution has warned that there will be an increase in foreign visitors to Albania during the summer, which the leaders in the tourism industry said will present a great challenge for them./ REL

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