According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, the future is bright for Albania. The Council ranks Albania ninth out of 174 countries for tourism growth over the next ten years. A summary of the Council's report is available, as is the full report complete with many pages of graphs, charts and spreadsheets.
This summer I have seen a number of tourists on the streets of Tirana. Some of them may well be Albanian expats, or people of Albanian descent returning home to visit family, but others are genuine 'foreigners'.
Judging from their appearance, they are probably best described as 'independent travellers' - the kind of people who are not interested in luxury hotels or crowded beaches. This is a good start, but independent travellers are not the kind of big spenders that the tourist industry likes.
In the longer term, if Albania wants to bring in the kind of free-spending tourists who currently holiday in Croatia or Slovenia, there will have to be a huge investment in infrastructure - new roads, new hotels and resorts, reliable power, clean beaches and water and a lot more besides.
It will be a lengthy and expensive process but, little by little, things are improving. Today I picked up a new publication, Albania: Guide Turistike, which covers the whole of the country. The Celesi Practical Guide to Tirana now has a companion guide to the Albanian coast.
I am doing my bit for Albanian tourism by trying to persuade friends back home to visit - though with only limited success so far. Still, there is always next summer.
Still on the tourism theme, I have now added a new set of travel links. For potential visitors, I highly recommend the In Your Pocket guides - and not just because they have a link to my blog. The guide to Tirana, which has now been supplemented by a guide to Shkodra.
If any of you do decide to visit, let me know. It would be nice to meet up.