Albania – travel hotspot
Albania is a country in Southeastern Europe, bordered by Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia and Greece. The capital is Tirana and the country has a population of approximately 3 million, of which 95% is Albanian and 3% Greek. 70% of the population is Muslim, with Albanian Orthodox and Roman Catholic making up the other 30%. Arguably the most famous person of Albanian origin is Mother Teresa, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.
Albania is classed an upper-middle income economy with the service sector dominating the country’s economy followed by the industrial sector and agriculture. A large part of Albania’s national income comes from tourism: 4.2 million people visited Albania in 2012 and this number is expected to increase. The country was voted a top travel destination by Lonely Planet, and was nominated Number 4 as a global tourist destination by the New York Times.
Traditionally, women are viewed as the caretakers of the home, raising the children and being expected to serve husbands, sons and any guests who visit. However, women are increasingly becoming employed outside of the home and while many of the men remain unemployed, women seem to find employment more easily. Women are almost never served raki, which is the traditional Albanian hard liquor made from grapes.
In business, decisions are made from the top down and a group consensus does not usually play a role in the final outcome. Don’t expect to have decisions to be made right away. It is best to have a good translator (honest and skilled in your business sector) and also an Albanian to act as your representative as foreigners will likely be given a higher price, especially if they can’t speak Albanian. New solutions (ones that haven’t been tried before) are viewed with distrust.
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Sources: Wikipedia, Culture Crossing, Kwintessential