AURORA SHPATAJ

Two of the main promises of the electoral campaign of the mayor of Elbasan Gledian Llatja in 2019 included investments in the touristic village of Gjinar, part of the “100 villages“ project and the revitalization of the Krasta park. During the fact-checking on the ground Faktoje found that even after two years these two promises still await on the willingness of the municipality of Elbasan to fulfill them.


Gjinar became part of the 100 villages program in July 2018 with the establishment of the “100 villages Academy”, with the participation of 22 groups of professors and students from 6 universities in the country which in collaboration with line ministries came up with concrete proposals for every village.

“Gjinar the touristic gem of the municipality of Elbasan and part of the “100 villages” program will for certain receive our most immediate attention so that it can rapidly become a beautiful tourist attraction” – wrote the mayor of Elbasan Llatja on Facebook on April 20, 2019.

In order to understand what is going on with the pledge made on Gjinar and other areas included in the “100 villages” project, Faktoje addressed the municipality of Elbasan.

Gjinar became part of the 100 villages program in July 2018 with the establishment of the “100 villages Academy”, with the participation of 22 groups of professors and students from 6 universities in the country which in collaboration with line ministries came up with concrete proposals for every village.

“Gjinar the touristic gem of the municipality of Elbasan and part of the “100 villages” program will for certain receive our most immediate attention so that it can rapidly become a beautiful tourist attraction” – wrote the mayor of Elbasan Llatja on Facebook on April 20, 2019.

In order to understand what is going on with the pledge made on Gjinar and other areas included in the “100 villages” project, Faktoje addressed the municipality of Elbasan.

Request addressed to the municipality of Elbasan, August 2021

The municipality of Elbasan agreed to respond only after Faktoje’s complaint. In its response the institution stated

“Regarding the village of Gjinar the municipality of Elbasan has designed an analytical database with the priority of developing the village. Also the private university “Epoka” designed a draft idea after consulting it with the community of the village”-states the response of the municipality. In the same statement the municipality affirms that no funds have been allocated for the transformation of Gjinar in a touristic landmark and that the institution is preparing the project “Gjinar Center System” and that the expropriations will be conducted with the funds of the municipality. The municipality affirms that 6 inns have been established so far and works continue to establish other 3.

Response of the Municipality of Elbasan

Considering Gjinar as a very good opportunity for the tourism of the future, investors are are interested in the “Shpati i sipërm” area, well-know for its rich climate and rare natural beauty. Residents of the area who have returned from emigration are among the main investors who are investing in restaurants, inns and hostels.

Photograph of the center of Gjinar.

It has been three years now since the “100 villages” program and no investments have been made in Gjinar. Residents state that they are waiting for investments and that no concrete changes have been made yet.

Ardian Bërdufi, a tourism expert for Gjinar states that the residents’ expectations were high at first, but they are fading everyday more.

“For us, the intervention in the center is of utmost importance and then creating opportunities to use the runways, secondary roads, etc. in the winter. In fact, none of this has happened. They just threw some ballast one day and left. We don’t know anything about when or how the investments will take place, we only know that we are part of the “100 touristic villages” project.

Another investor in the area states that he invested on his own for the road that leads to his inn and that the state can’t even provide him with electricity.

“We did everything on our own. Even the road that leads here was opened thanks to us. We have also invested to provide electricity. We paid for the poles and the wires. All we ask of the state is insurance that we will have enough electricity supply so we won’t have such problems and for help instead of considering us as a way to get more taxes”,- states the owner of one of the inns.

In context of encouraging tourism in Elbasan, another promise made by the mayor of this municipality was the revitalization or Kodër Krasta.

“Another project is the revitalization of Kodër Krasta, which also includes the Ministry of Tourism and Environment. But it also includes the support of the Japanese government, a huge project which aims to plant as many trees in the empty spaces within the park. This is to guarantee greenery according to all standards of the park and will also create sportive corners within the park. Another project includes creating a ‘Lungo Fiume’(riversde)” – stated Llatja.

On the ground Faktoje stated that after 2 years no investments were made.

Photo from Kodër Krasta

Faktoje had written an article previously, which showed that the promises on the investments in the tourist landmark of the touristic village of Gjinar and Kodër Krasta remain on paper.

Based on the data gathered on the fact-checking on the ground, the promises of the mayor of Elbasan for Gjinar and Kodër Krasta will be categorized as Unkept.

*Faktoje, with the support of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), is monitoring 15 municipalities throughout the country to see if mayors keep their promises.