Romania has been steadily improving its position as a European tourist destination
Romania has been steadily improving its position as a European tourist destination. The capital Bucharest is already a very popular point of attraction for tourists seeking entertainment venues or cultural and historical landmarks. The region of Transylvania and its medieval fortifications, along with the Saxon fortified churches, are another major point of attraction. Add to that the Danube Delta, with its spectacular wildlife, and the north of Moldavia, with its magnificent centuries old monasteries.
One other area of attraction is the seaside, the Black Sea coast. Each summer, it gets overbooked, beaches are swarming with tourists, and clubs are full to the brim at night. Unfortunately, most of the demand is generated by the domestic market. Not enough foreign tourists are coming here, and one possible cause is insufficient marketing abroad. In order to answer this challenge, the municipality of Constanta, the biggest city on the Black Sea coast, has recently published a development and promotion strategy, one which includes the resort of Mamaia, which is part of the Constanta metropolitan area.
The strategy covers several types of tourism: summer tourism, entertainment tourism, as well as business, cultural, and religious tourism. We spoke to Mircea Dobre, former national tourism minister and MP representing Constanta, about which areas should be promoted as a priority:
"I don't believe that we should focus on a specific one. We should go with general promotion. As regards the Black Sea Coast, we should go bottom to top. Which is why I think the promotion and development strategy for Constanta and Mamaia should be an example for the other areas of the Romanian seaside. We are talking about the resorts of Mangalia, Costinesti, Eforie, and resorts of national or local interest."
We asked Marius Dobre about some concrete examples of tourist promotion:
"The World Tourism Organization has a section for affiliate members, but Romania is not present there. This is one of the projects I left with the Ministry of Tourism, so that Romania could become a member of the Executive Committee of the World Tourism Organization, which became a fact in 2017. The next step was for the Ministry of Tourism in Bucharest to start working together with employers' associations and local public administrations that operate resorts of national interest, bringing them in as affiliated members. If private economic agents in Romania don't sit at the same table with those from across the world, I don't think we can speak about effective and coherent promotion. And this is the first important step to take."
At some point, Romania used to have abroad so-called Tourism Promotion and Information Offices, placed in a number of foreign capitals. We asked Mircea Dobre what happened to them and how is Romania promoted abroad now?
"This mission was taken over by the economic attaches that the Romanian state has abroad. I can tell you that I worked very well with them during my term in office. These economic attaches have diplomatic status, and represent Romania in economic issues and relations. Since tourism is an economic issue, naturally those economic attaches have represented very well the Romanian state. Promotion offices were dismantled because they were not working properly. However, they will be reorganized and this summer, promotion abroad will be the task of tourism attaches with diplomatic status, similar to economic or labor attaches."
We also asked the former minister Mircea Dobre what the mission of a tourism attaché will be:
"The tourism attaché will deal mostly with the public at large. And, of course, after that it will deal with relations between companies, between Romanian and foreign tour operators. There have been enough tense moments in the activity of some travel agencies, and every time, Romanian tourists in countries where they had difficulties during their vacations were helped by consular offices or embassies. The tourism attaches will deal with such situations. They will deal with Romanian tourists vacationing in a given country. Of course, they will also deal with promotion for the public at large, because foreign promotion offices have to be open towards the citizens in that particular country, promoting Romania. At the same time, obviously, they will deal with arranging business to business contracts between Romanian and foreign tourism operators." (translated by Calin Cotoiu)