What about the ceiling of the economic "boom", will we touch Mr. Prime Minister?
"If October, November or December will be a surprisingly positive month in this trend, we can reach 10 million tourists, however we will touch the ceiling of 10 million, it took much greater courage to say it years ago. I don't believe there were many who imagined that it could happen in a relatively short time."
This is what Prime Minister Edi Rama declared today during the presentation of the balance sheet for this tourist season, as he also spoke with superlatives about future plans. The Prime Minister expressed the desire that Albania should no longer be seen as "low cost", but to focus on tourists who have money, since according to him they bring more income.
But, despite the fact that our country, as the head of the government says, recognized a "tourism boom" this summer season, this did not translate into income.
A BIRN analysis on the tourist-revenue ratio showed that the tourist boom had nothing to do with the economic boom, which for Albania does not exist, even though Rama's plans speak of touching the ceiling of 10 million tourists.
The Gross Domestic Product in Albania increased by 3.23% in real terms, in the second quarter of this year, while the government's statements about a tourism boom with an increase of over 50% in the number of tourists or in the number of overnight stays seem to be inconsistent with the real economic growth of neither tourism nor the economy as a whole.
Economic growth of 3.23% in the second quarter of 2023 follows the 2.72% growth in the first quarter. Both figures are higher than the forecast for Albania's annual economic growth by the International Monetary Fund, but significantly lower than the development potential. According to the IMF, the Albanian economy is expected to grow this year by 2.25%, while Albania's growth potential is estimated at 4.5%. The Albanian economy has grown below potential for more than a decade now.
Corruption, misgovernance and the lack of what in the language of the IMF are known as "structural reforms" are believed to be the cause of the lower growth than the development potential. Growth potential is calculated by taking into account many factors, including low economic level, natural resources, available labor force and others.
Which means that before Rama talks about 10 million tourists, he will have to solve the corruption and bad governance of Rilindsha. Because in the end, these millions of tourists that Rama has counted with "pencil and paper" have not brought anything to the Albanian economy, or at least not as much as expected.