Academic journal article Entrepreneurial Executive

Entrepreneurial Investment in the Shkodra Region: Opportunities for Women in Tourism

Academic journal article Entrepreneurial Executive

Entrepreneurial Investment in the Shkodra Region: Opportunities for Women in Tourism

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Albania is an untapped investment opportunity for the international entrepreneur. With abundant mineral resources, a desirable Mediterranean-Continental climate, and growing political stability, increased investment in the Shkodra region could lead to economic stability and be profitable for both the entrepreneur and Albania (Hall, 2004). Furthermore, investments in this region will help increase female employment and alleviate the strain of adversity that female entrepreneurs in the region face. This paper will address seven main areas of interest, namely: i) geography and climate, ii) political state, iii) infrastructure, v) tourism development initiatives, vi) human resources development for the tourism industry, and vii) family tourism. These sections will detail the opportunities for investment for the international entrepreneur considering investment in Albania, and in the Shkodra region in particular.

GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE DETAILS

Prior to discussion of Albania's investment opportunities, it is essential to place Albania and to inventory its basic climate details. Albania is located in southeastern Europe and has land boundaries with Kosovo, Montenegro, The Former Yoguslav Republic of Macedonia, and Greece, as well sea borders with the Ionian and Adriatic seas. It encompasses 28,748 square km, an area that is slightly smaller than Maryland and has a population of 3,563,112 (Albania Geography, 2005). The Shkodra region in particular has a diverse geographic landscape that includes a coastal area, plains, rivers and a mountainous region. The region's Mediterranean--Continental climate nurtures the region in the winter with rains and warms it with hotter, dryer summers, and an average annual temperature of 59 degrees Fahrenheit (Albania Climate, 2008). Albania's location and its desirable climate will be discussed further when the opportunities for investment in the tourism industry are discussed. Before discussing the investment opportunities, it is essential to determine Albania's location in the political and economic landscape. This will help provide a more in-depth understanding of the country, beyond its surface characteristics.

ALBANIA: AN EMERGING DEMOCRACY

Since its emergence from 46 years of Communist rule in the early '90s, Albania has struggled to reach the economical success of other post-communist countries such as Hungary. In Hungary, the strengthening of domestic tourism has proven to be a positive influence outside entrepreneurial investment (Hall, 2004). Albania, however, has faced several challenges during its political transition that must first be addressed before investment in tourism is further explored.

One of the biggest challenges for Albania is a philosophical transition from the communist mind set to that of the market economy. Certain expectations must change. For example, some basic "rights" (i.e., right to be fed, educated and healthy) of the communist's regime have transitioned into basic "needs" in the post-communist economy. Women in their central role within the family have particularly felt this transition and are endeavoring to find solutions by capitalizing on new roles and opportunities (Ghodsee, 2003).

Another challenge was the reemergence of socialist views within the political arena. Albania as a whole, struggled during its political transition due to the pyramid investment scandal in 1997, which led to the election of the Socialist Party and the loss of power for the Democratic Party of Albania (DPA) (GTZ, 2008). This change in power provoked the Organization for Security and Cooperation (OSC) in Europe to become involved. The efforts of the OSC helped reestablish democracy in Albania and the DPA currently controls all of the country's main public offices until the next parliamentary election in mid-2009 (Albania Economy, 2008).

Corruption is a common by-product in a transitioning economy, but some are more successful in battling this. …

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