Humans have traveled since the beginning of time. Initially, they traveled mostly for their basic needs and trade. Later on, following the evolution of technology, people started to travel for leisure and exploring.
HOW DID TOURISM BEGIN?
It is believed that the history of tourism began somewhere around the end of the 18th century. The initial destinations for western civilizations would be historical sites such as ancient Greece or Rome and the Seven Wonders of the World. As for the eastern civilizations, the primary form of tourism would be considered pilgrimage.
Other early tourist destinations include thermal spas and grand tours of cultural sites for the aristocrats. By the early 19th century, these journeys were very common among middle-class Europeans.
The final push towards tourism globalization was the transport improvements starting from railways to cruises and finally airplanes. Later on, in the early 21st century, international tourism became one of the most important economic activities in the world.
WHAT ARE THE ECONOMIC IMPACTS OF TOURISM?
The social and economic impact of the travel industry throughout the years has been undeniably enormous.
According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, only in 2018, the global Travel & Tourism sector contributed a record of $8.8 trillion and 319 million jobs to the world economy. For eight consecutive years, this contribution has surpassed the growth rate of the world GDP. In addition to that, this research shows that Tourism is the second-fastest-growing sector in the world behind Healthcare.
WHAT PROBLEMS IS THE TOURISM INDUSTRY FACING TODAY?
Following the outbreak of COVID-19, the world, in general, is experiencing some major challenges. Facing the risks of a weaker world economy, political, social and trade tensions, needless to say, the tourism sector is shaken. Right now we are encountering impacts on both travel supply and demand.
Considering that this situation brings new updates every day, it is hard to give an estimation of the full impact of this pandemic. However, based on research made by UNWTO, it is estimated that during 2020, the global international tourist arrivals might decline and the loss could be of $30-$50 billion in spending by international visitors. Besides that, the coronavirus could be putting at risk around 50 million jobs around the world in the tourism sector. So far, it is certain that Asia and the Pacific region will be the most
TOURISM CURRENTLY IN ALBANIA AND THE BALKANS
A travel destination that has gained a lot of popularity, is the Balkan peninsula. For a long time, these countries, except Greece, were off the beaten path for the tourists. Eventually, the tourism industry became a very important part of the GDP in these countries. Albania makes no exception because these last few years we have seen a boom in the tourism industry.
However, with the latest coronavirus outbreak, which has affected every Balkan country, tourism has taken a hard hit. First of all, with the borders being closed and flights suspended, many incoming and outgoing tourists are either canceling their plans or postponing them. Also, many of the tourist attractions, bars, restaurants are closed and different events and activities have stopped until further notice. Nonetheless, there are still bookings for Summer and Fall 2020 but with a very slow sales volume.
The fight with Covid-19 has just started, and we hope that everything turns back to normal as soon as possible, and the upcoming months show better numbers.