New consulate in Durres improves Albania-Macedonia ties

13/08/2013

An increasing number of Macedonian investors and tourists are arriving in Albania.

By Miki Trajkovski for Southeast European Times in Skopje -- 13/08/13

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A new consulate in Durres will serve Macedonians visiting or living in Albania. [Miki Trajkovski/SETimes]

Macedonia's new consulate in Durres is expected to serve an increasing number of Macedonian tourists, as well as a growing business interest on Albania's coastline. This year, nearly 30,000 Macedonians vacationed in Albania.

"Durres is at present of greatest interest for Macedonian tourists in addition to Valona and Saranda, because of the low prices and the proximity of the [Adriatic] sea," said Petko Kutanoski, the owner of Balkan Tours, a travel agency with offices in Struga.

Kutanoski told SETimes that Macedonian tourists are treated very well and have not encountered any problems.

"But the consulate can contribute to an even greater sense of security. Many [Macedonians] have not had a chance to visit, and it is good to have an institution to turn to in case of need," Kutanoski added.

Kutanoski said the number of Macedonian investors in Albania is steadily increasing as they begin to invest in residential and commercial property, hotel and restaurant businesses, shops and other businesses in Durres as well as the surrounding tourist areas.

"That is why opening a consulate to offer legal support is a very good thing," he said.

"The consulate will help protect our companies investing there in case of need or if damaged in any way. It will also promote Macedonia's economic and tourist potential to Albanian businessmen," Mendres Kuci, president of the Economic Chamber of North-West Macedonia, told SETimes.

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"This is one good signal that the Skopje-Tirana political relations are improving. It is always better to do something rather than nothing in that regard," Kuci added.

The consulate will also benefit ethnic Macedonians living in Albania, especially around the greater Durres area, according to Nikola Gjurgjaj, president of the Macedonian association Ilinden in Tirana.

"They will not have to travel to Tirana anymore as they can obtain all information at the consulate. This will positively affect also relations and the contacts between the two neighbouring countries, which are especially important [for the region], and that is the reason why we salute this act," Gjurgjaj told SETimes.

How will the new Macedonian consulate in Durres improve Macedonia-Albania relations? Add your opinions to the comment section.

This content was commissioned for SETimes.com.
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