Albania is not a famous country in Europe in spite of its rich historical and cultural heritage. Known also as "the land of eagles" or "the bridge between West and East", Albania has contributed a lot to European history and culture from the Antiquity to nowadays.
If you look past the years of Albanian history, you may notice a history of wars and invasions. The strategic geographical position was sometimes favorable to Albania as several different civilizations have influenced its culture, and at other times unfavorable because these civilizations came as invaders.
In the early 90s the first wave of democracy began and the country left behind 50 years of communism and dictatorship. During the communist regime, tourism was considered a “society’s problem”, but nowadays it is one of the main contributors to economic growth.
Tourism has contributed positively more than any other sector to the development of sites and corporations in the economic, cultural and social fields, but it can turn up to be quite dangerous if it is proposed in a non-responsible way.
ECOTOUR ALBANIA was created in 2011 from a team of professionals, lovers of both nature and their country. The common goal for the development of alternative tourism forms as sustainable, adventurous, social and ecotourism in Albania has made it possible to create a network of collaborators consisting of professionals in the field of tourism, local guides, residents, local government representatives as well as national and international NGO’s.
Through direct contact with residents of different areas of the country, we will get to know the spirit and traditions of the Albanian people better.
Ecotour Albania wants to share with you the passion for travel and nature through a spirit of sustainable development, responsibility and justice. One of our goals is to contribute as much as possible to the development of rural, mountainous and coastal areas by respecting and protecting the nature of the country. Also, discovering protected natural places and at the same time providing you a welcoming and a comfortable accommodation is one of our main everyday purposes. Ecotour Albania was founded as a run away from mass tourism option and invites travellers to participate in responsible travel actions.
For this reason, we are committed to:
1. Having travelers learn about the culture of our country.
a. In the materials given to travellers prior to departure, we mention that they need to be respectful to the history and culture of the place they are about to visit. This can be done by learning more about Albania, its people and what is allowed or not. Some phrases in Albanian can be very appreciated by the locals.
b. We inform and ask hotel staff and residents to ensure safety and assist our travellers in case of any need. We provide assistance 24/7 to all our traveller so that they trip is an amazing experience for them.
c. When preparing the whole trip, we constantly update travellers on the most important information about the destination country. They will be informed about weather, health and safety conditions as well as latest news on the current political atmosphere. This is to ensure the trip is not negatively impacted by these factors.
d. While on site, we encourage our travellers to not only taste and touch local products, but also to take some back home with them. They get to buy souvenirs and tasty jam jars after they see how they are made and also get to contribute to the development of these small local businesses.
2. Discover and preserve the environment.
a. Use of single used plastic objects has been reduced more and more over the years and the reuse and recycling of paper is our everyday goal at the office. Since the early days of our work, we have taken care of buying only the best quality and environmentally friendly equipment for our tours.
b. Each of our team members owns or uses a bike to travel to the office and the use of vehicles is reduced to only the most necessary occasions.
c. We promote the use of public transportation, use of electric bikes and other means of transportation that care about our earth.
d. We suggest travellers in the road books, to save electricity in hotels or places of accommodation, to avoid, if possible, taking or buying plastic bags or inorganic material while traveling, to use local transportation to reach tourist villages, to bring with water bottles to refill them in local streams and so on.
3. Stimulate the local economy.
a. Through years we have created our team of professionals and experts of the field, with deep knowledge of every corner of Albania and the neighbours. Our network of local guides is constantly trained and updated with the most intriguing information about sites they will introduce and also highly appreciated is their feedback.
b. Our tours include stops and visits in various local sites where travellers can experience the authentic Albania. Picnics are made of fresh local products, lunch and dinner served at agritourist farms, local families and traditional restaurants that bring together the goods from local farmers. We have travellers visit small factories for the production of jams, sauces, liquor etc. We visit local artisans who create beautiful soft furnishing, stone carved objects and souvenirs. Travellers almost always end up buying something as a reminder of their time with us.
c. In order to include more local people in responsible tourism, we always encourage and ask for our suppliers to recommend and facilitate our connection with local people near them that might be of mutual interest in working towards local growth. We connect with farmers, shepherds, fisherman, village administrators and so on.
d. For years now we support the village of Rehova and Skenderbej by making them a tourist attraction in many ways. We have travellers spend the night at the local families, eat and cook with the family traditional dishes made with freshly picked products, visit the villages to get to know the customs and history of the area better.
4. Provide an extraordinary experience that travelers would love to share with others.
a. We invite travelers to share their experience with their families, friends or acquaintances so they to have the chance to join us in a wonderful journey.
b. Travelers are welcome to share with us an overview of the benefits they have taken from their trip in Albania.
c. Their feedback and feelings on traveling in a responsible way and on being an actor in a sustainable development of Albania, are highly appreciated from us.
5. Ecotour Albania is happy to announce that we have engaged with the Travelife for Tour Operator & Travel Agents scheme.
Travelife is an internationally recognized, GSTC-Global Sustainable Tourism Council accredited training, management & certification program in sustainability in tourism. We are member of Travelife and we have started the process to work step by step toward complying with international sustainability standards. Travelife is a three-stage certification program for tour operators and travel agents: (1) Travelife Engaged; (2) Travelife Partner and (3) Travelife Certified. We are at stage 1- Travelife Engaged. We are working to move forward to stage 2- Travelife Partner.
Responsible travel is humanitarian travel. The world today needs more than ever in a humanitarian approach of the human being.