Helping Albanian consultants to boost local tourism sector

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The Business Advisory Team (BAS) has organised a training programme to improve tourism consultancy services.

Albania’s tourism sector has great development potential, especially along the coast facing the Adriatic and Ionian Seas and at areas close to archaeological sites. No wonder the Lonely Planet guide ‘Best in Travel’ places Albania among the top 10 destinations to be visited in 2011. However, the local expertise needed to provide the right boost to this industry is still scarce.

Tourism know-how

Training opportunities for tourism operators in the country are limited, which reflects a general lack of awareness about the benefits of business consultancy services. In 2010 the BAS team in Albania organised a round table along with tourism sector representatives. The meeting revealed that reliable market analysis is not available. Participants agreed that areas to improve included customer relationship management, computer systems and cost management. But the question was how to build this knowledge?

To address this issue, BAS in close cooperation with the USAID Rritje Albania project and the Albanian Tourism Association has organised a specific training programme for sector consultants. The training was designed to provide advice on best practices and techniques for effective management of small lodging facilities, and how to develop the necessary skills to further assist tourism businesses in implementing good management practices.

Learning from experience

This programme which was funded by the Netherlands took place in Tirana in the summer of 2011. It involved 20 sector operators and covered marketing, human resources and cost management issues. Participants were introduced to several case studies and practical examples and greatly benefited from the opportunity to exchange experience.

Thanks to the training, a number of participants were able to undertake their first consultancy projects with local hospitality businesses. As the demand for this kind of service grows, local operators are much better prepared to welcome and help visitors discover this fascinating country.

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