State-financed promotions, combined with those of private operators and apartment owners using online booking platforms, is believed to be a reason for the increasing number of foreign tourists in Albania.
Albanian tourism experts believe that the growing numbers of holidaymakers choosing to spend their summer vacations in the country is mainly a result of promotions.
Matilda Naco, director of the Albanian Tourism Association, told BIRN that this summer was one of the best in terms of numbers of foreign tourists.
"I believe the number one reason why Albania has been favoured is mainly because of promotion. State institutions and also private operators have raised their budgets when it comes to country presentations at world tourism exhibitions. Also, the level of presentation has become more professional and efficient," Naco said.
"It is a fact that Albania is still one of the least discovered countries in Europe, so curiosity also plays a role," she added.
The minister of Economy and Tourism, Milva Ekonomi published figures on suggesting that 24 per cent more foreign tourists chose Albania as a destination this year compared to 2015.
"The numbers speak for themselves," the minister wrote on Twitter.
The data showed the numbers of tourists crossing the country's land and sea borders from June 1 to August 15
Naco said that local entrepreneurs have done a good job this year promoting their apartments via increasingly popular online booking platforms like Airbnb.
"In 2013 the number of apartments listed for rent at Airbnb was only 35, now it has soared to thousands while the majority of properties in the coastal towns and cities are registered on the platform," she said.
Brunilda Licaj, an expert in tourism and lecturer at the Aleksander Moisiu University in Durres, also told BIRN that the added promotion in Albania has brought positive growth in the number of foreign tourists this year.
Licaj also believes that the difficult situation in Turkey has contributed to growing numbers of tourists visiting the Balkans.
Tourism in Croatia also grew during 2016. In the first seven months of 2016, there were 45 million overnight stays - five million more than 2015. Of this number, 26 million overnight stays were registered in July alone.
Bulgaria attracted 3.1 million tourists in the first half of 2016, reporting a 15 per cent increase as compared to the same period in the previous year. In June, the country witnessed a 28 per cent year-on-years growth in the numbers of foreign tourists compared to June 2015.
The lower price of accommodation compared with other countries in the region is also considered by experts to be a factor in the growing number of tourists in Albania this year.
According to the booking.com platform, the price for a night in a four-star hotels in Vlora or Saranda during August starts from 50 euros and rarely exceeds 150, while in Budva in Montenegro, the price for this category start from 75 euros and goes up to 200.
Prices go even higher in Croatian coastal towns of Dubrovnik and Split, starting from 130 euros and going up to 220.