Interview: Slow tourism, culture and Albania with Jonida Shano – Exit

I had the pleasure of knowing Jonida Shano all the time I was in Albania. We both love the country, its people, culture, food and scenery, and we’ve worked on a couple of projects together. I admire her deep love for her country and her need to promote development, sustainability and a slower approach to research. When I found out that she opened her own travel agency, I wanted to know more! In this interview, Jonida and I talked about respect for nature, Illyrian tombs, wine and 2000 Albanian cultural monuments.

What is Gaia?

GAIA is a tour operator born on the idea of ​​respecting nature and learning to be one with it while traveling.

GAIA is a way to travel in support of nature and tradition, focusing on man as a farmer, the preservation of tradition, the craftsmanship of his hands and mind, a symbol of resilience and resilience, and the core of our economy.

GAIA serves travelers passionate and passionate about stories, products and territories, trying to bring them closer to the hearts of people who have embodied the values ​​of our land in its various aspects.

Where did you get this idea from and what is the purpose?

For many years I have been working on various projects for the development and promotion of the territory, and my work has allowed me to travel a lot, even to the most hidden and remote corners of Albania.

This allowed me to get to know realities, people who keep the same spirit, recipes, cooking and serving methods and traditions as 100 years ago.

In 2020, I had the opportunity to work on a project for the conservation and development of protected areas. The idea was born from a character that I created and used in four commercials to promote protected areas.

The character is a young girl named GAYA who spent her holidays in the protected areas of Albania, where she constantly traveled with an environmental escort, admiring the magnificent landscapes and places of extraordinary beauty.

From this GAIA as a concept, a concept of responsible travel, born from the love of nature, people, animals and the taste of the earth.

GAIA wants to bring travelers from all over the world closer to the heart of the Albanian people.

What is the tourism sector in Albania?

Albania has a varied topography including mountains, valleys, forests, rivers, lakes and beaches. The country offers many opportunities to explore cultural heritage and archaeological sites that date back to pre-Roman and Greek times. Amphitheaters, castles, Roman cities, monasteries and ancient churches are among the archaeological sites that Albania has to offer, some of which are under UNESCO protection.

If we want to classify the tourism sector in terms of its contribution to tourism revenues, three main categories can be distinguished:

  • Coastal tourism and sea tourism. The beach, the sea and the sun have been the main product for many years, accounting for the largest share of all tourism…

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