The Entrepreneural Discovery Process in Albania: Mountain Tourism

3 November 2022

Mountain tourism was the key topic of the second EDP activity for the tourism sector, held on 3 November 2022 at the Xheko Imperial Hotel. Throughout this activity, the quadruple helix actors gained a deeper understanding of the entrepreneurial discovery process, expressed their views on the key opportunities, obstacles, progress, and outlook of the Albanian mountain tourism sector, and exchanged ideas on key government policies required to boost this sectors performance, all of which will serve as the basis for the preparation of the country’s smart specialization strategy. In particular, two of the most extensively discussed topics were the measures required to reverse the unfavorable demographic trends in rural areas and those that can enhance the role of quadruple helix actors, namely academia and non-profit organizations, in support of the development of this sector, identified as two of the most significant medium- to long-term barriers to this sector.

Activities and Output

The event began with a presentation of the “smart specialization strategy,” the result of a mapping process conducted in 2021 that helped determine the priority domains to be considered for the country’s smart specialization, and the “Entrepreneurial Discovery process,” which is one of the most crucial stages in the preparation of this document by engaging representatives from all disciplines of the quadruple helix to provide their perspective on the performance of these domains and what needs to be done to help them flourish.

As for the second session of the activity, in accordance with the format of each EDP roundtable, an open discussion session on the key strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of this sector was organized. Throughout this activity, participants emphasized that despite the mountain tourism sector’s constant growth over the past several years, mostly due to the increased interest of both domestic and international tourists to frequent in this type of tourism, in addition to the unfavorable demographic trends, the three main obstacles to the development of this sector are (1) the inability of private sector representatives to effectively use the company profits to improve their competitive position in the marketplace (2) university systems’ incapacity to produce graduates with the skills necessary to meet the demands of the marketplace and adapt to the worldwide innovation trends and (3) the difficulties that the business helix has in effectively communicate its needs to non-profits and government, preventing  the latter from having a more active role in promoting the expansion this sector.

Recognizing the opportunities and challenges indicated in session 2, the quadruple helix actors then proposed a number of initiatives that promote the development of this sector. These included the establishment of new local action groups and destination management organizations—or the reinforcement of the roles and contributions of those already in place—the enhancement of the effectiveness of Albanian educational institutions, the revision of the country’s current legal framework and government policies with an impact on the performance of this sector etc.

  • Members of the Panel
  • Mr. Arben Shkodra: Secretary General of Albania Manufacturing Union (AMU), Member of the Inter -Institutional Working Group, and moderator of the event.
  • Mrs. Matilda Naco: Executive Director of the Albanian Tourism Association (ATA)
  • Mrs. Albana Tole: Deputy Minister for Education and Sports and Head Member of the Inter-Institutional Working Group

Event organizers

This activity was organized by Future Center in collaboration with Inter-Institution Working Group and the Albanian Tourism Association (ATA), with the supported by the European Commission’s Joint Research Center (JRC) and the POLICY ANSWERS Project (Horizon Europe GA 10105887).


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