What I want to tell, first of all is that, I love this place.
I love the energy it gives me whenever I raft into wild canyons and rivers, climb the mountains, soak in the crystal waters, or kayak in the lagoons.
Of course what I said above is not something I decided now, but this feeling has been formed with me over the years.
During the last 17 years actually, since I started my first rafting adventure when I was only 14.
Albania is the most beautiful country in the world for me.
Believe me, I do not exaggerate with that.
This place has "taken" my heart! Not just mine.
During these years of work with tourists, I have met thousands of them.
There are those who said to me: I did not think I would find such a beautiful nature, a hidden gem in the heart of Europe and meet so generous people.
Because of the isolation and because of the bad reputation that we have received during these 30 years, foreigners before coming to Albania considered our country as dangerous, where they can be robbed, a place where life is not safe and where they can be taken.
For the last one they are right, once they came here, they have been taken!
"Taken" and Marko from Tropoja is the movie that that inspired my team to embrace this fact and use it to our advantage the message that gives this cinematic production for our country.
Be taken by Albania!
In a Europe that’s been tamed and explored, with rules and order around every corner, Albania is the last defender of the rugged. A place where the mountains have no roads, the rivers flow wild, and the beaches are unspoiled by the concrete promenades of the West.
Where adventure isn’t guided by velvet ropes or Lonely Planet guides, but by each and every footfall and the fire inside your soul.
A place where your routine will melt under the midday sun, and where you'll reinvigorate a zest for the undiscovered and experience the grit of nature beyond the confines of a map.
I have seen the thirst of foreigners to visit and enjoy the beauties of Albania.
They do not need to slip into a tram in big cities, they want to walk to our rugged mountains, paddle into our rivers and enjoy our coastline which is considered to be an unveiled diamond.
I know if there is a way to develop Albania is the sustainable tourism.
I have seen the joy and hope that tourism brings to the most isolated areas of Albania and the transformation force of this industry by changing the lives of local people, opening up new jobs, more youth employment and more incomes for the community, especially for girls and women.
Of course if there is something that sport and tourism has taught to me is teamwork and I am lucky that in Albania I meet every day devoted people who believe that work and love can contribute to a better life and a more beautiful future. I would like to thank the Swiss Embassy that through the Swiss Entrepreneurship Program supported me with the best experts who mentored me from September. Acknowledgments to the Ambassador of the European Union that embraced this idea in the first steps and became one of the first messengers of Albania together with Minister Klosi. Special thanks to famed actor Arben Bajraktaraj, without him our initiative would make no sense and for all the successful and hardworking people who have joined and will join in this campaign. I thank the Rinas Airport, the entrance gate for tourists who immediately accepted to become part of our team. Without Zamo and the team of the Albanian Rafting Federation, this project can not be realised.
Along with all our contributors and champions , first of all Florjan, talented singers like Era, Venera, Kanita, Kelly, Alban, local artisans like Adi, successful businessmen like Altin, journalists who have become part of this video and have walked with me all over Albania we have collected beauty pieces forming this puzzle that lasts only 2 minutes.
We do not pretend that through these images foreigners will understand everything about Albania.
We want and we invite them to come and visit our country.
I invite them to be "taken" by Albania and fall in love with Albania.
Together with all the friends and partners who helped me, we felt obliged to make this gift to my country by telling everyone how beautiful it is. This video is just the beginning of a campaign of Albanians everywhere, who believe in Albania and the extraordinary tourism potential we have.
Thank you all for being here and I invite you to see this video together and hopefully enjoy it and distribute it all on your social networks and on the web site takenbyalbania.com sign the petition to invite actor Liam Neeson and any foreigner to be taken by our beautiful Albania and the welcoming people. Share with your family members living abroad because they are our ambassadors and our Albania in the eyes of foreigners and ask them to show it to their friends and colleagues in the places where they live and work because Albania is ready to take their heart with love and hospitality.