Travel and Tourism - Romania - November 2013
In the northern part of the Balkan Peninsula between Bulgaria and Ukraine and bordering the Black Sea, Romania lies at the crossroads of Europe. Its diverse natural landscapes – ranging from the Carpathian Mountains to the Danube Delta and the Black Sea – and a 2,000-year-old rich cultural heritage are the main draw for tourism.
The extravagant architecture of its cosmopolitan capital, Bucharest, once earned it the nickname ‘Little Paris of the East’, although most people are more likely to associate it with the fictional Dracula, set in Transylvania, which put the country on the tourism map. Transylvania is still the top region for leisure tourism today, and its cultural treasures include the ancient Saxon city of Sibiu (Hermannstadt), which was the European Capital of Culture in 2007.
Romania’s accession to the European Union (EU) in 2007 led to increased investment in the tourism industry and funds for modernisation, standardisation and infrastructure developments. It provided a much needed boost to the country’s tourist economy. Since accession, although it has some way to go, Romania has made efforts towards a coherent strategy to develop and promote its tourism destinations.
In 2012, it ranked 68th out of 140 countries in the World Economic Forum (WEF) Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2013. The majority of its international arrivals come from Europe, almost half of its top tourism-generating countries being its neighbours – Hungary, the Republic of Moldova, Bulgaria and Ukraine. However, over the last five years, tourism from Western Europe has increased, led by Germany and Italy. Although domestic tourism has declined since the last Mintel report in 2007, according to industry insight, it is still substantial, at around six times the size of the international market in 2012.
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