SuperyachtNews.com – Owner – Investment in superyacht infrastructure in Albania shows promise
Belinda Balluku, Albanian Minister of Infrastructure and Energy, discusses the role of superyachts in the new Albania …
Albania remained a side conversation when discussing the Adriatic, the smallest neighbor to the hotspots, north and south, bursting with potential but adjacent to the main event. There have been many hypothetical developments, renderings and hopeful dialogues since the region’s rebirth as a destination. With the apparent halt in the development of Porto Albania, it seems that the wheels are indeed turning for a series of other projects.
The announcement of Dubai-based Emaar Group’s commitment to a € 2 billion infrastructure development aroused some skepticism at first, but with the continued commitment expressed, and after a cooperation agreement was reached. Signed in November 2020, focused on the conversion of the commercial port of Durres and the surrounding residential infrastructure, significant development seems to be really underway. With the recent publicity press release from Emaar Group showing the scale of the project.
This development is one of the many projects that the Albanian government is committed to undertake. As highlighted in the “First National Spatial Planning Document:“ Shqipëria 2030 ”, released by the Albanian government in 2015, Albania appears determined to re-establish itself as a vital hub for trade and tourism in the region. new Europe.
SuperyachtNews speaks exclusively with Belinda Balluku, Albanian Minister of Infrastructure and Energy, on how development is supporting a new generation of development in the region.
Like many European countries, Albania has recognized the importance of the long-term development of the maritime sector, as explained by Minister Balluku. “Since 2015, when the Albanian government first presented ‘Shqipëria 2030’, it introduced a national planning instrument for integrated infrastructure development, with tourism in the spotlight. Naturally, the port and maritime sectors have been integrated in the development strategy due to the specific importance in the trade and tourism of the country.
Speaking specifically of how the marina’s developments would complement growth in the region, Minister Balluku continued. “In October 2020, the government approved the National Sectoral Plan for Maritime Transport and Port Infrastructure, in which it provided for the relocation of all freight ports from current urban locations and the redevelopment of these into marinas and high-end tourist real estate. range. He also approved the construction of new marinas, provided they meet all the needs of a full-service home port. “
While not explicitly mentioned in the full infrastructure plan, Balluku refers to the recognition within the national government of the importance of the superyacht industry and superyacht tours for planning. “Although the superyacht industry is not yet at its peak, the government is fully committed to providing the necessary deregulation measures and financial incentives to make it a rapidly growing industry; Therefore, we believe it will affect all aspects of the economy of the Albanian Riviera. “As Minister Balluku mentions, the superyacht sector may not be at its peak, with the number of visits reaching 30 million superyachts in the region supplied below by The Superyacht Agency As noted, there has been a foreseeable collapse, likely due to Covid-19, after 5 consecutive years of growth.
While the infrastructure plan describes the redevelopment of the four Albanian marinas, there are two that cater specifically to superyachts, as Minister Balluku clarified. “The two largest marine tourism infrastructure projects, Durrës Waterfront and Marina Vlorë, provide for combined accommodation of 130 superyachts, from 30 to 200 meters, while providing berths, refueling, utilities, maintenance lightweight on-site and disposal.
The opposition Democratic Party (PD) has raised concerns that the proposal would cede control of the port to Emirati interests, as the original document contains no conditions or restrictions. However, Minister Balluku is positive in her assessment of the benefits of working with a developer like the Emaar Group. “Every investor is welcome in Albania, and the Albanian government is committed to facilitating them in all efforts that boost the economic development of the country.”
The Port of Durres is a very important commercial center which is the main entry point for Pan-European Corridor VIII, connecting Macedonia and Bulgaria, covering over 80% of trade in Albania. In response to this, commercial operations will be transferred to Porto Romano, approximately 20 km away. According to Bjordi Gogo, Albanian managing director of Acquera Yachting, operations will be transferred in about 36 months, with the first work starting earlier than expected, with part of the commercial port having already cleared customs.
Photo credit Bjordi Gogo
While the Durrës seafront and the Vlorë marina remain the two most important developments, Gogo is also presenting plans for further expansion along the Albanian coast, with the port of Shengjin to be converted into a large marina, and finally, the port of Limion, having already started its redevelopment (photo above), offering additional mooring capacity for superyachts along the coast.
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