Romania boasts an excellent tourism potential, and this became obvious in
recent years. The Danube Delta, a unique ecosystem in Europe, included in the
UNESCO World Heritage, the mountain resorts in Prahova Valley and the seacoast
resorts on the Romanian Black Seacoast, the Saxon fortified churches in
Transylvania are but some of our country's well-established tourist sites.
Still, Romania's tourism-generated income is significantly lower than those
reported by neighboring Hungary or Bulgaria, for instance. The reasons
identified by both specialists and the general public include insufficient
promotion abroad, the lack of a comprehensive motorway network, underdeveloped
hotels, mediocre services and tax evasion.
On April 24 the Government passed a
new tourism law, tacitly adopted by the Senate, which is now under debate in
the Chamber of Deputies. Tourism Minister Bogdan Trif told Radio Romania that
the law encompasses all the previous laws passed recently in the field and is
aimed at regulating tourism-related activities. One of the major goals is
decentralization. Therefore local authorities will now be responsible for
classifying accommodation units, certifying ski tracks and mountain trails,
authorizing beach segments, granting building permits or certifying local
guides. The transfer of authority at local level will reduce costs
significantly, Minister Trif claims.
The new law also provides for the full
digitization of the system, which is bound to offer an exact and swift image of
the tourist industry, allowing operators to adapt their strategies. Therefore
new control methods will become available, allowing Ministry inspectors to
perform checks while posing as mere tourists, sharing tourist experience. The
President of the Hotel Industry Federation in Romania, Calin Ile, says the new
law represents a "historic landmark", hailing the previous introduction of
holiday vouchers for public sector employees, to be used in Romania
exclusively, or the VAT slash for tourist services to 5%. "Romania has become investor-friendly,
investors' appetite for doing tourism in Romania has gone up", Calin Ile went
on to say. Romania has the potential, and the results will come soon, Calin Ile
concludes, although not all of his peers seem to share his optimism.
(Translated by V. Palcu)