Albania is an agricultural-based country with a favourable geographical location, a variety of landscapes and is rich in culinary and gastronomy offerings. Combined with the special tradition of hospitality, Albania offers great potential for agritourism development.
The Albanian Government and foreign donors have supported the Agritourism sector through various facilitation schemes and technical assistance. However, access to finance remains one of the major obstacles, while at the same time providing an opportunity for financial institutions. Some of the funding needs relate to the rebuilding of old buildings, processing lines on the farm and marketing and certification activities.
For this reason, the Albanian Agribusiness Support Facility (AASF), has elaborated a comprehensive study on “Agritourism in Albania: Development Potentials and Financial needs”.
The purpose of the document is to encourage Partner Financial Institutions (PFIs) to increase financing in Agritourism and increase the number and volume of these investments in their portfolio by developing dedicated financing strategies with tailored lending products to meet the sector’s financing needs. Increasing investment demand combined with the opportunities that investment grants and dedicated financial products pose will be key for sector development.
This study provides information on Agritourism development opportunities in Albania and the sector’s financing needs to realize investments. More specifically, the document sheds light on existing potentials in the Agritourism sector, focusing on different public strategies, recent developments, fiscal and financial incentives and a sector SWOT analysis. In addition an elaboration of capital demand and supply characteristics for the Agritourism industry was elaborated to provide useful recommendations to PFIs.
The recommendations of this study will be useful for PFIs regarding potential initiatives and activities to be considered in order to take advantage of the potential of Agritourism and build the business case for PFIs. In parallel, the study aims to develop financing relationships between financial institutions and Agritourism, not just at the level of agricultural credit financing, but by developing it with diversified financial products, which would create better opportunities to accommodate market demand and to disburse new loans.
Overall, it is apparent, that Banks and financial institutions should consider increasing lending to Agritourism and treat it as a new segment including a sector-specific approach to risk.
The study on the “Sector of Agritourism in Albania” was prepared by the Albanian Agribusiness Support Facility (AASF), a project funded and developed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in cooperation and with support from the Government of Albania.