Albania’s newest tourism campaign is tackling the country’s negative stigma head-on. Taken, a 2008 movie starring Liam Neeson, has given the world the impression that Albania is a haven for organized crime and kidnappers, and the country’s tourism bureau wants to put an end to it — in a hilarious way.
In the movie, Liam Neeson’s daughter is kidnapped by Albanian human traffickers and sold into the sex trade. The “Taken By Albania” tourism initiative is all about promoting the country’s gorgeous beaches, nature, castles, culture, friendly locals and more by embracing the popularity of the movie and putting a positive spin to it.
Actor Arben Bajraktaraj, aka “Marko from Tropoja” in the movie, even makes an appearance in the promotional video to debunk some stereotypes and invites travelers, including Neeson, to see a side of the country that was definitely not shown in the film. There is also a petition on the campaign website to get Neeson to visit and “be taken” by the country’s beauty.
Whether or not the campaign successfully reassures people about traveling to Albania and attracts tourists remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure: Albanians have a great sense of humor.