Albania is one of the six countries featured in the special supplement of the June issue of the National Geographic Traveler Magazine.
"The Western Balkans: Land of Discovery" presents the natural, historical and cultural treasures of the region. The supplement was provided to tour operators and companies at a reception held last week in Tirana. The Minister of Tourism, Culture, Youth and Sport, Ferdinand Xhaferaj, the USAID president for Albania, Joseph C. Williams, and the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edith Harxhi, were present at the event. "Cut off from the rest of the world for 50 years, Albania is still little known outside Europe and has had difficulty in overcoming the negative stereotypes related to poverty, corruption and crime. Unlike its Balkan neighbors, Albania has had to face considerable disadvantages, namely its lack of infrastructure, unplanned urban development, and lack of investment, ”Williams told the conference. "More can and must be done to preserve Albania's cultural heritage, conserve natural resources and protect valuable archaeological and historical monuments."
At both regional and national levels, USAID is helping to promote the image of Albania as a welcoming and unique tourist destination.
Last month National Geographic Traveler magazine published a supplement of 47 pages on the Western Balkans, with photos and articles on the history, cuisine and culture of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. The supplement was distributed with the National Geographic Traveler Magazine of June 2010 in English to over 220.000 subscribers in the UK, the Netherlands and Germany.
Tourism is recognized as an important sector of the Albanian economy, with the possibility of reaching small and medium-sized enterprises in the most remote and poverty stricken areas.