EBRD cash for tourist roads in Albania

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development said part of the goal is to allow tourism to continue beyond the traditional summer months.
Highway & Network Management / June 16, 2023 1 minute Read
By David Arminas
Improved secondary roads in Albania should boost the tourism sector in the Balkan country that lies on the edge of the Adriatic Sea and is home to dozens of Roman and Greek ruins (image © Vladislav Jirousek/Dreamstime)

Nearly 100km of local and regional roads in Albania are being upgraded or extended as part of a programme to boost tourism.

The work is being supported by European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD and the European Union (EU) at a cost of around €100 million. The EBRD said the goal is to improve tourist access to many of the Balkan country’s ancient sites as well as allowing tourism to continue beyond the traditional summer months.

The programme, to which the EBRD is contributing €60 million in loans and the EU €40 million in grants, also helps rehabilitate cultural and natural heritage sites. Included is support for local small businesses active in tourism, according to the EBRD.

Among the road works is construction and extension of the road that connects the archaeological site of Bylis, an ancient Illyrian city, to the highway in the Fieri region. The Bylis site is located in a hilly region and is not easily accessible from the main highways.

The 42km road connecting the cities of Erseke and Leskovik is also being reconstructed to allow better access to the Korca and Gjirokastra areas.

Another 40 km road, between Perlat and Fushe Lure, is also being upgraded. In addition, work is expected to start soon on the road from Shiroka to Zogaj, near the border with Montenegro, as well as on the new bridge over the Osumi River, in the Berat area.

“Currently, many inland tourist sites in Albania are not well connected to key national roads and coastal areas, which hampers their potential for development and attracting more tourists,” said Ekaterina Solovova, EBRD head for Albania. “Investments in road infrastructure should improve regional connectivity, facilitate access to tourist areas and help expand the region’s tourism.”