Albania sees influx of tourists


Tourists are flocking to Albania for their summer holidays. Also in business news: Spain wins backing to restrict its number of Romanian workers, while Turkey delays the bidding process for construction of a new bridge.

Tourists enjoy the Albanian seaside at Vlore. [Reuters]

Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha said on August 10th that his country has witnessed a tourist boom this holiday season, making tourism one of the most important sectors in the economy. Berisha said that as of August 8th, Albanian had been visited by 2.15 million tourists, which is over 400,000 more than last year.


German company RWE Innogy, Greek state energy firm PPC and a Chinese company have submitted bids to build four hydro-power plants in Republika Srpska. International investors were invited at the end of June to submit their bids for the 500m-euro project on the Upper Drina River.


Bulgaria's ICGB AD and the Consortium Penspen LTD-C&M Engineering SA have signed a contract for performing the Front End Engineering Design and the Environmental Impact Assessment of a gas interconnection between Greece and Bulgaria. The 170km-long facility will connect the town of Komotini in Greece and Stara Zagora in Bulgaria. The pipeline is expected to become operational by 2014.


Recession in debt-stricken Greece has slowed in the second quarter of the year, flash estimate data from national statistics agency ELSAT showed on Monday (August 14th). During the period, GDP fell 6.9% compared to the same quarter last year and contracted 8.1% from the previous quarter.


The European Commission (EC) on Friday (August 12th) approved Spain's request to restrict its labour market to Romanian workers until December 31st 2012, amid the economic crisis that has hit the country. Spain has the highest unemployment rate in the EU, over 20% since May 2010. It also has the biggest pool of Romanian workers seeking better-paid jobs.


Serbia will cut public spending and stop borrowing to prevent turmoil similar to that in other European countries, Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic said on August 10th. Speaking at an emergency government meeting, Cvetkovic said Belgrade needs to strike a new standby arrangement with the IMF.


Turkey's Transport Ministry announced on Monday (August 15th) that it is postponing a tender for the building of a third bridge over the Bosporus to connect the European and Asian parts of Istanbul. The new deadline is January 10th 2012.


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Of all former Yugoslav republics, prices in Macedonia are the lowest, according to an analysis published by Croatian internet portal on Sunday (August 14th). Montenegro, meanwhile, is more expensive than Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia, but is cheaper than Slovenia and Croatia.


Albania has become Kosovo's third biggest trade partner after the young country imposed a trade embargo on Serbian products. In the past, Albania occupied seventh or eighth place, Agim Shahini, president of the Kosovo Business Alliance, was quoted as saying on Saturday (August 13th).

(Various sources -- 10/08/11-17/08/11)

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