Recent data from the Romanian Federation of Tourism Employers (FPTR) shows some 650,000 plus tourists having arrived from outside the country in Bucharest every year. The data shows most tourists taking advantage of Bucharest hotels are in fact business travelers.
The news that Bucharest and even all Romania is more prone to receive visitors on business than on vacation should be a bit disturbing for officials there. The opportunities for Romania to grow off a thriving, or at least viable tourism industry, should be readily apparent. To that end, a few Romanian news outlets point to the country taking advantage of the Greece economic situation in order to spur interest in Bucharest tourism, not to mention Constanta and other destinations there. The Bucharest Herald, for instance, quotes FPTR head, Dan Matei Agathon of international promotion:
“Romania must promote itself internationally as a safe tourist destination, because here there are no terrorist attacks on tourist buses.”
Despite the fact that Romania’s seaside visitors has recouped since the financial crisis began, Romania and other Eastern European countries do not need the status quo of past tourism maintained, but real growth in the sector to start an upward economic trend. Sadly, a good number of Bucharest tourist come to the nation’s capital to meet Romanian women. A mirror of the Russian Brides scenario for not just Romania, but all of Eastern Europe, portrays the county as some sort of meat market affair. A CNN report in 2o11 went so far as to suggest Romania as a hub of human trafficking period, a stigma the country should be doing EVERYTHING to combat.
According to FPTR, such visitors contribute to Romania’s economy by spending upwards of €150 euro per day “hooking up” with Romanians. Data also shows the breakdown of visitor nationality.
The National Institute of Statistics showed that, of the 646,000 foreign tourists coming to Bucharest this last year, 69,422 were Italian, 56,148 were Americans, some 55,693 were from Germany, 52,702 British, 49,690 from France, while Israel sent 46,378 and Spain 24,890. Austria and other countries were also represented by large numbers of either business or “socializing” travelers.
Looking at just Romania’s online tourism footprint, it seems feasible that criticisms of the country’s PR and marketing are justified. The US and Canada targeting website, Romania, Explore the Carpathian Garden website is fairly well done, but devoid of updated news or real cutting edge marketing effort. In spite of the fact this site engages very well the many visitors to it, in the last three months traffic is drastically down. No social media effort (they follow nobody),
If we were to study this popular website about Romania under the magnifying glass, a pitiful state of affairs might emerge where Romania’s Ministry of Regional Development and Tourism is concerned. Just scanning the site for recent news this quote from a Casino website came into view. Study the grammar alongside the intent here.
“Romaniatourism.com is one of the best websites we look up to for high quality information about tourism in Romania. This is where we can get
the all the information we need about tour operators, travel agencies, tourist attractions and travel conditions. It even helps us know the events and tourist facilities within Romania. This website is truly an inspiration for providing great information for all your tourism needs.” Joyce Paul of casinotop10.net
Romania’s number one touristic portal just gave a link to a gambling casino online, one who’s spokesperson thinks a website is “someone” to look up to. Excuse me for saying this, but Romania’s people do not deserve to be represented so. My partner and wife is Romanian, a former military journalist, her family proud people having no inkling of the above mentioned character or tone. The best Romania can do for them is hook up with Casinos and apparently foster trafficking in females?
Meanwhile, some agents of Romania’s ministries do seem transparent and objective of finding ways to better promote the country’s hospitality industry and potential. Cristian Bărhălescu (Image top), State Secretary for Tourism at the Ministry of Regional Development, recently spoke of searching out appropriate “agencies” for the promotion of tourism, particularly for Romania’s seaside communities. This sort of news validates the fact Romania has a sluggish marketing effort, as much as it does adding hope to the equation for industry players there.
Hotels and other service providers in Romania, not to mention the greater part of the general public, need desperately to optimize the potential this country has in the sector. Speaking bluntly, there is perhaps no country more misunderstood and uniscovered than Romania, when it comes to the wealth of wonderful things to do and see there. The fact that most people confuse Bucharest is Budapest, is only the tip of the iceberg where Romania’s true treasures lay. We cover news for all the countries of Eastern Europe, and Romania’s attractions are only slightly more visible than those in neighboring Serbia.
A final note. Offing specials at Bucharest hotels that are in fact, not specials at all, this is the sort of thing that no Internet business or organization engaged upon it should ever do. Looking at the Romania Tourism deals for hotels, a 40% discount on a room at the five star Continental in Bucharest, should not be beaten by a 46% discount on the hotel’s website. The discrepancy alone is enough to stain not only the Romania tourism effort, but the hotel for allowing it.
Romania, her people in particular, deserve a better shake when it comes to how they are perceived, and too, as far as the world wanting to visit there. The task at hand for Romania’s government, is to begin to change outside perceptions, then and only then will investment and tourism dollars and euros flow inward. The same obviously holds true for many Eastern European countries.
Why only 457 people viewed the video below posted to YouTube, is a sad mystery given what it must have cost to create.
Photo credits: Mountain village courtesy © emicristea – Fotolia.com