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DRAFT LAW “ON TOURISM”

The Council of Ministers has submitted to the Assembly of Albania the draft law “On some additions and amendments to Law No. 93/2015, ‘On Tourism’, as amended” (Draft Law). The proposed amendments aim to adapt the legislation to the issues identified in practice, as well as to the need for continuously improving the quality of service provision in the tourism sector. The main proposals are reflected as follows:

The proposed draft law expands the category of accommodation structures by adding apartments, blocks of apartments, rooms, villas, and dispersed hotels. According to the draft law, these accommodation units are defined as follows:

 

“Apartment” is a residential unit intended to provide accommodation services for tourists, consisting of at least a living room or kitchen, one or more bedrooms, and at least one bathroom.

“Block of apartments” refers to two or more apartments that are managed by the same tourism entrepreneur.

“Room” refers to a distinct unit within a residential building or housing unit where accommodation services are provided for tourists.

“Villa” is a building with a yard and garden area, intended to provide accommodation services for tourists in tourist areas.

“Dispersed hotel” is an accommodation structure that provides hospitality services for visitors, consisting of houses, apartments, or rooms located in separate, existing buildings close to each other, managed by the same tourism entrepreneur.

Additionally, the addition of definitions for certain terms is proposed, such as: “cultural heritage accommodation structure”, “tourist entertainment activities calendar”, “beach”, “permitted beach”, “tourism entrepreneur”, “tourist trail”, “maintenance trail”, “beach observer”, “inland waters”, “coastal area”. The addition of these terms is proposed to address the legal vacuum in the current law.

Every tourism entrepreneur operating as an accommodation structure must apply to the Ministry of Tourism for a categorization certificate within 30 days from registration at the National Business Center for operating as an accommodation structure. This certificate is issued for an indefinite period of time.

Operating as an accommodation structure without obtaining a categorization certificate constitutes an administrative offense and is punishable by a fine ranging from 20,000 to 400,000 ALL, depending on the number of rooms.

Additionally, the draft law provides for the obligation of every accommodation structure to carry out electronic registration of clients with data on the number of visitors, nights of stay, nationality, residence, gender, and age.

The draft law specifies that entities engaging in agrotourism activities must have: a) a farm associated with agrotourism activities; b) hosting facilities for guests/clients; c) offering meals and beverages prepared with ingredients sourced from the farm itself or local producers; d) providing recreational/educational activities.

Non-compliance with these criteria constitutes an administrative offense and is punishable by a fine of 100,000 ALL.

This activity is certified by the Ministry of Tourism and Environment through a preliminary certificate for the construction of agrotourism and a certificate for the operation of agrotourism activities.

Operating agrotourism activities without the appropriate certificate constitutes an administrative offense and is punishable by a fine ranging from 50,000 to 100,000 ALL, depending on the number of rooms.

The criteria, documentation, and specific procedure for certifying agrotourism activities and the construction of structures for its operation will be approved by the Council of Ministers.

In the draft law, a change is proposed regarding the criterion related to the education of the legal representative or technical director of the travel agency, specifying that the legal representative or technical director must have completed secondary education (the current law requires possession of a first-cycle university diploma or evidence of professional qualification).

The draft law proposes changing the validity period of the tourist guide certificate from the current two years to an indefinite period.