Presidenti i Republikës së Shqipërisë

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Statement from the President of the Republic, H. E. Mr. Bajram Begaj, at San Cosmo Albaneze

Dear Friends of San Cosmo Albanese,

Distinguished civil, military, and religious authorities,

These days’ enjoyable visits and the exceptional hospitality of the authorities and the Arbëreshcommunity have made me experience unique sensations.

They have provided me with extraordinary energy, motivating me to discover further and explore the historical-cultural values you have passed down from generation to generation, which unite and represent us together.

In addition to confirming my expectations, this visit to Arbëria in Calabria and all the meetings I have had so far, including the one with you today, strengthened my belief that there are plenty of opportunities for cooperation between the regions of Albania and Calabria.

We can further promote economic and tourist cooperation by developing sustainable joint projects alongside close and institutional coordination, especially among entrepreneurs and tour operators.

I would like to express my gratitude to Mr. Occhiuto, President of the Calabria Region, for supporting the Arbëresh community in our region, particularly the Foundation of the Regional Arbëresh Institute of Calabria, led by Commissioner Madeo.

I feel confident that by encouraging and maintaining cooperation between Calabria and Albania, numerous exchange opportunities in various fields of mutual interest will emerge, immediately impacting the tourism and cultural industries.

Our shared historical and cultural values contain attractive elements that inspire us to create a joint strategic program to promote our exceptional ecosystem and natural beauty better. This would facilitate the growth and development of integrated tourist products and services in both territories.

Albania has experienced a tourism boom this year, with many tourists coming from Italy.

Over half a million Italian tourists visited Albania this year alone, leading to comments like “the Italians are invading us again”. The Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, was among the visitors who stayed in our country for a few days.

Many of these Italian tourists were visiting Albania for the first time, and they expressed admiration and surprise at discovering this wonderful country situated so close to Italy, whose population is hospitable and speaks Italian fluently.

The combined tourism potential of Albania and Calabria, surrounded by two seas and stunning landscapes, makes us optimistic about the endless possibilities of coordinated and integrated cooperation in tourism.

Through this cooperation, we can better promote our identity features and preserve and enhance our rich historical and cultural heritage.

In contrast to seasonal tourism, which only benefits from the pleasant weather during the summer, three or four months, cultural tourism unquestionably stays at the core of this economy, enabling the option of year-round cooperation.

By cooperating in this area, we can provide our young many opportunities and encourage them to envision their future in these wonderful areas rather than leave the country in quest of a different and better life.

Naturally, this would call for joint projects for training and skill enhancement of Albanian and Arbëresh youth in historical, cultural, and seasonal or gastronomic tourism.

I am confident that we can achieve this together, and in this regard, I assure you of my support.

Thank you!