Visa waiver policy marks new era for Sino-Albanian tourism ties
The recently adopted Visa Waiver Policy marks a new era in tourism and trade relations between Albania and China as more Chinese tourist will be able to visit Albania without a visa, director of Albania's national tourism agency Albin Gega told Xinhua Saturday in an interview.
"In cooperation with the Chinese government, several meetings have taken place to achieve the outcome of visa abolition and policy-making to be implemented in increasing the economic incomes flow for both countries," Gega said.
On Wednesday, the Albanian government decided to lift visa regime for nine countries, including China, in a bid to attract more tourists from these countries to Albania.
"The visa waiver will start from April 1 to Oct 31 of 2018 and will this enable the development and deepening of tourism relations between Albania and China," Gega noted.
He added that so far, the presence of Chinese citizens in Albania had been limited because of visa regime.
"This fact has made the government think something concrete and in the end it decided to lift visa regime with China a way to facilitate the movement of Chinese tourists in Albania," Gega highlighted.
He added that relationships between the two countries have early origins and precisely for this, nostalgic tourism was one of the kinds of tourism in Albania, especially with the Chinese market.
"Many Chinese citizens have lived and worked in our country, giving a huge contribution and leaving their footsteps in the works they were engaged. This makes them want to return to Albania," the NTA Director noted.
Further, he said that the Albanian cinematography has now become one of the trends of the Chinese people as films made by Albanian film making companies are now transmitted to Chinese by some local TV channels.
"Precisely based on this reality, tourist packages for Chinese tourists are organized by combining with other tourist attractions of our country," Gega told Xinhua.
Besides this, he underscored that construction of new accommodation structures in accordance with world standards would make it possible to bring Chinese tourists closer to the Balkan and Mediterranean ones.
Talking about the way how visa waiver policy will be implemented or chances to be extended, Gega told Xinhua that visa regime was decided to be lifted for the tourism season in 2018, mainly for tourism purposes.
"This process is the implementation of a regional policy, which will be accompanied by a special monitoring to make the normal progress of this goal possible. If the whole process results in a normal functioning by creating a solid platform, we can say that the premise is to extend the period of visa waiver until the full exemption from this obligation," Gega explained.
In the end, he invited Chinese tourists to visit Albania under the slogan -- Discover "The Last Virgin Destination of the Mediterranean".