TIRANA (Albania), January 11 (SeeNews) – Hotel operator Marriott International, owner of the Sheraton hotel brand, told SeeNews that it is no longer managing the Sheraton Tirana property as of December 31, 2017.
“Marriott is ensuring a smooth transition for associates, clients and partners of the property,” the company said in an e-mailed statement sent to SeeNews late on Wednesday.
Sheraton Tirana will leave the system, Marriott said.
The company did not comment on the reasons for the de-flagging of its Albanian property.
"Any further questions relating to the future operation of the hotel should be directed to the owners, MAK-Albania Limited," Marriott International said.
Several phone calls and e-mails to MAK-Albania seeking comment went unanswered.
The Albanian Society of Tour Operator and Tourist Agencies (ATOA) has attributed Sheraton's departure from Tirana to what it said were insufficient measures taken by the Albanian government to attract international hotel brands and maintain their presence.
Albania's tourism sector continues to operate without clear rules and standards and informality is at high levels, ATOA said in a Facebook post on December 29, announcing Sheraton was leaving Albania.
According to Albanian media reports, the reasons for the departure are related to financial difficulties faced by the owner of the property MAK-Albania in recent years, following lack of investments and deterioration of standards.
MAK-Albania is a subsidiary of Kuwait-based M.A.Al-Kharafi & Sons W.L.L, which is active in Albania since 1992 with interests in investment, contracting, and participation in international tenders for infrastructure, roads, hospitals, bridges, airports and major projects in civil engineering, according to information posted in the company’s website.
The Sheraton Tirana Hotel was the first five-star hotel introduced in the Albanian capital, operating under Sheraton's brand since it was built in 2003.
Meanwhile, US hospitality chain Hilton said earlier this week it will open its first hotel in Albania in the summer of 2018, introducing its Garden Inn hotel brand in Tirana.