"Don't destroy, but build", the message of the Italian journalist to the Albanians who fell in love with our country

2023-12-22 08:56:35Dhoma e rrëfimit SHKRUAR NGA ENTELA RESULI
Gloria Aura Bortolini

Entela Resuli

Gloria Aura Bortolini is an Italian journalist. She has been the host of a show on the TV channel RAI 3 in Italy entitled "Kilimanjaro". The focus of this program is travel.

In 2018, Bortolini classified Albania in first place, as a must-visit destination.

In the report published in RAi 3, some statistics were listed showing the places where Italians have recorded the most bookings.

Considering it as a destination-trend and relying on the booking figures that Albania has had in the last year, our country was ranked first in the list.

"Albania, which during the last year has recorded 88 percent more bookings from Italians, will continue to be the main destination for our neighbors during 2018. During the last 10 years, more than 19 thousand Italians have moved to Albania ", says the RAI 3 report.

"Don't destroy, but build", the message of the Italian journalist

Three months later, after this news that made the rounds of Albanian portals, Bortolini came to Albania to see this country up close.

We had a meeting with Gloria at that time where we talked about the trips and the places that had made the most impression on her in Albania.

Under the warm sun of Tirana, on the first day of May, the Italian journalist told us about her intense days of stay in Albania (she visited Tirana, Vlora, Sazan and Karaburun, Berat, Osum Canyons, etc.)

"In Italy, there is the perception that Albania is a poor, dangerous country, with difficult roads, but when you come here, you face a positive surprise. Everything is different and there is nothing similar to what you have heard", says Gloria, who has traveled quite a bit in her career.

- Many foreigners tell us this, why is it so difficult to change this image of Albania? – I ask the Italian journalist, wanting to get some advice on this matter.

-"I think it has more to do with the fact that the Italians, and not only, have fixed those first moments of the Albanians when they came to Italy, and perhaps more should be invested in communication to change the perception about this country. You are haunted by some wrong clichés which are not in fact and you do not have to carry them on your back for nothing. However, I think something has changed, since many Italians are visiting your country, even with word of mouth advertising, things are no longer as they were before."

Although her trip to Albania has been intense, she shows no signs of fatigue. She has the appearance of a typical Italian girl, petite and with a smile that never leaves her portrait...

"I felt very good here. Another thing to consider as a value in your country is hospitality. You can go to the most beautiful country in the world, but if you were not treated well, if you were not welcomed then, there is no way to leave a good taste of the visit. You open the doors and your heart, so here everything looks beautiful and loving..."

"Don't destroy, but build", the message of the Italian journalist

-And after a few days of stay in Albania, you visited Tirana, Vlora, Berat... do you have something to tell us?

"You have a great place, believe me! As for us Italians, Albania is very close to home and we should visit it more. I like the coexistence between religions and that between history and modernity. It is valuable that in such a small territory you have it all, the sea and the mountain, climatic changes and the variety of cuisine. You cook seafood fantastically and you have a very good relationship with meat."

-Gloria, you also had a stop in the city of Vlora, what did you see in that city?

"Vlora was fantastic. It's nice to see how a country changes as Vlora is an example of a fast transformation and a model of a livable city.

The reconstruction of the historical center, the creation of pedestrian spaces give an important value to the city, which is being lost in other countries where there is a development adapted from an American model, where everything is concentrated in shopping centers and historical centers are "dying".

Whereas in your country I see a different model in culture and lifestyle, almost like the Italian one. Albania is a special country and it should remain so, if you try to compete with countries with luxury tourism, you will probably be wrong. Focus on your values, historical and cultural, on natural beauty and you have to be a very coveted destination for tourists in the future".

"Don't destroy, but build", the message of the Italian journalist

-To return to Vlora...?

"Yes, I visited the city, the island of Sazan, Karaburun... At one point I said to myself: I want to live here! The Mayor of Vlora was a man who was in love with his city and was doing something that was changing that place. The facts showed this, Vlora had changed".

-However, tell us something that you didn't like, because I don't believe that we are so perfect?

"There is nothing I didn't like. I really hope you take advantage of the opportunities you have as a country. For example, I saw that the fortress of Berat was empty, without activities. Different projects can be organized there which help this city in absorbing tourists. So that foreigners come not only to see the castle, but also to visit a gallery, to see a film, to have more art, festivals and activities. An event can turn into an excuse to go to a place and get to know it better."

With Gloria, we also took a tour of the New Pazar market, where she curiously saw what was being sold there.

"This place reminds me a bit of Barcelona", he told us at one point while photographing the olive trees of Berat at one of the stands located there.

"Don't destroy, but build", the message of the Italian journalist

- You have visited three cities, now we are in Tirana, what did you like most about this city?

"Tirana seems to me a clean, new city... I feel like I'm in Switzerland and not in the Albanian capital. I really like it here. It's vibrant like a city..."

What about in Vlora?

"In Vlora, I really liked Lungomare. The city had undergone a very big change with its construction. Meanwhile, Sazani and Karaburuni were fantastic..."

In Berat?

"Canyons. When I went rafting it felt like I left for another world. There was incredible nature and I experienced a beautiful adventure. Then Berat itself is magical. The cobbled streets, the white houses, the history of that city..."

"Don't destroy, but build", the message of the Italian journalist

-The best dish you ate?

"Between meat and fish, I prefer fish and I had a very good lunch in Vlora. I am surprised how well you cook the pastries, you are very good at this point".

- We learned from you...

"And you did it perfectly."

-When you come as a tourist and stay for a few days, everything seems beautiful, but if you decide to live here, then life is not as colorful as you describe - I turn to Gloria... But she let me know that she was not naive and he understood this very well.

"I know, but that's normal. Even Italy may seem like this to many tourists, but there are also many problems there. I am not saying that it is paradise here, but it is a place with opportunities, especially in terms of tourism. You are still in transition and if something changes in this country, it stands out. You must use the opportunities that the terrain of your country gives you, nature and the great assets you have... Don't destroy, but build" - Gloria concludes her story.

*'Confession Room' exclusive column of Vox News.


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