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Albania's Military Island Will Reopen For Tourists This Summer

Travelers Today       By    Glory Moralidad

Updated: Apr 13, 2017 05:30 AM EDT

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Albania will let tourists step foot on its mysterious military island used during the Cold War to boost the tourism industry of the country. From May to October, travelers can have a walking tour on Sazan Island and two other military bases, Pashe Alimani and Orikum, which has archaeological sites found in the area.

Sazan "Military" Island is still operating under the country's Defense Department. Nonetheless, Defense Minister Mimi Kodheli signed an agreement with Economy Minister Milva Ekonomi to have the place turn into a hotspot destination. Stuff.co.nz reported Kodheli as saying, "No doubt Sazan Island is a tourist attraction due to its position."

Many tour operators have suggested on tourists visiting the military island already, especially with some travelers already stepped foot on Sazan since 2015, according to Travel and Leisure. Currently, the island has bunkers and tunnels to resist nuclear attacks since the 1930s. About 3,000 military personnel used to live there, but now, it houses only a couple of officers.

Sazan Island was originally built to prevent Western invasion. But when communism fell in the '90s, the buildings fell into ruins and still contain old beds, utensils, and furniture. Other reasons why travelers were so intrigued with Sazan Island is its azure waters and the diverse species of flora and fauna thriving in the island's environment.

Despite the announcement, there have been no plans on how tourist walks will be managed and conducted. Any news whether the island will hold establishments for tourists haven't been conjured up yet. However, the government has ideas on turning the war tunnels into wine cellars.

Economy Minister Milva Ekonomi told Stuff.co.nz that the deal between Kodheli proved to be marked as an important event in Albania for its economy. In 2016 alone, about 4.7 million tourists have visited the military island. The tourism industry has been the number one source of income for Albania.

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