Permet, a popular destination for increasing number of local and international tourists 

Permet is one of the region is increasingly joining the country’s top popular destinations for local and international visitors as a well-known area for its landscape, handicrafts, hospitality, traditions and special cuisine based on the locally grown produce and artisanal products and its well-preserved rich and beautiful heritage recently revived under the Urban Renaissance programme. At a meeting with local women involved in guesthouses management activities and small craft businesses in the town of Permet, Prime Minister Edi Rama exchanged ideas and opinions on turning tourism, agriculture and craftsmanship into an engine of local and household economy growth.

According to Permet Mayor Alma Hoxha tourism has recorded significant growth over the past few years. “Tourist season in 2019 reached its peak with record visitors as Permet welcomed more than 28,000 tourists, according to data from the information office and tourism associations. The transformations under the Urban Renaissance programme has been a great help in this aspect,” Mayor Hoxha said.

The Urban Renaissance programme and the investment projects on road infrastructure are designed to create an integrated area starting from Korça to Leskovik, Permet, Gjirokaster and Tepelene, and diversify the tourist offer, making it more attractive to visitors.

“We have finally arranged everything to launch investment project on construction of the road linking Erseke, Leskovik and Përmet along a breathtaking stretch of a picturesque area and stunning landscape, but with its current state being not really inviting for many people to hit that road. Meanwhile, with the investment already underway a strategic connection will be created with whole Korça region. We will expand the area. Only a small number of fragmented trips take place currently, meaning that whoever travels to Korça, they choose to stay just there, because only two thirds of the road between Korça and Erseke has completed and its third segment has yet to complete and its construction is set to kick off next year. However, the road doesn’t provide access to the other side for now, an area with a mindboggling landscape that includes Permet, Gjirokaster,Tepelene and vice-versa. This project will generate a lot of revenue for household and local economy,” the Premier said.

The government head pledged support for craftsmanship through two new programmes, namely the support programme for arts and craftsmanship and creation of craft cooperatives connected to a chain of dedicated retail shops.

“The Sports programme and that of Arts and Craftsmanship, where we plan to invest a lot to ensure its continuity and legacy. It would be particularly important during the summer season as it would draw a larger number of people to participate. Moreover, the launch of new support packages to establish a network of shops of women entrepreneurs is really important as your products will gradually gain access to the ‘I Love It’ brand shops in collaboration with women in Gjirokaster to found the craft cooperatives. We are confident that new projects will bring a boom in this area. The reconstruction of the historical area already underway will have the same effect it has yielded in Korça, Vlora, we will do the same in Elbasan. We will transform the old cultural and historical sites into gravity points to attract tourists and Perment has huge potential in this direction as it is home to a rich diversity. Another major project will be implemented in cooperation with the international company hired to construct the tourist port in Durres and which will build here a network of activities for a different kind of tourism based on farming, agricultural and livestock products in this territory. The company is currently conducting a market research here and they are really optimistic as this is a highly-sought sort of tourism. Of course, it would take time, because it is about a very sophisticated project, but the investment will give a huge impetus to the area’s development.”

The mass vaccination campaign will support tourism industry this year. The government head noted that Albania will keep its borders open this year, saying that demand of foreigners to visit Albania is growing constantly.

“This year’s tourism season will be much more relaxed than last year, yet it will be again a season when Albanians continue to learn and explore their own country. We have already seen a number of foreign nationals, especially from Israel, Sweden, and Central Europe, who are showing greater interest in visiting our country and we are working with tour operators on this aspect. As we expand the vaccine eligibility to include younger people under 65, we will hopefully start the vaccine rollout for all workers in hospitality and tourism industry by May, as it would attract a larger number of visitors.”