Plans to Build Luxury Resorts Threaten Ecosystem in Pristine Coast in Albania

Plans are afoot to turn a vast expanse of unspoiled wilderness into a famous tourist destination, threatening the very survival of an area well-known for the incredible diversity of plant and animal species.

In Albania, the Vjosë River empties into a large delta that covers 59,000 acres, including a stunning lagoon that extends over 10,000 acres. The delta is the biggest and most untouched river delta in the Mediterranean, and humans have left it almost unspoiled.

The country’s energy industry may undergo some changes with the help of foreign investors—including Jared Kushner, a former top adviser to the Trump administration—and the Albanian government.

Kushner is married to Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump.

Developing an international airport next to the lagoon is one way the Albanian government is helping the area grow. The European nation allegedly has grand ambitions to build five-star resorts and turn the region into the “Albanian Riviera.” The airport is only the first step towards realizing this ambitious goal.

The Kushner family’s business, Affinity Partners, has a heavy hand in shaping the neighborhood’s trajectory. The Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund contributed significantly to the $3.1 billion investment pool. Rumor has it that Kushner reportedly focuses on the deserted Sazan island and the Zvërnec peninsula. He plans to build several resorts, each with a maximum of 10,000 rooms.

The area’s varied fauna would be wiped out as thousands of acres of natural land are slated to be lost to tourism development. Birds migrating from Europe to Africa make the Nartë lagoon a major stopover. Dalmatian pelicans, flamingos, and spoonbills are just a few bird species that rely on this region as a home.

Two environmental organizations, EuroNatur and Albania’s Protection and Preservation of Natural Environment, monitor the delta. They have initiated legal proceedings against the government to resolve this urgent matter.