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60,000 Romanians choose local destinations for Christmas: 15 percent increase in end-of-year tourism

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Close to 60,000 Romanian tourists are expected to spend their Christmas holidays at local hotels or boarding houses with an estimated total budget for accommodation and food exceeding EUR 8 million (RON 36 million), according to the Romanian Tourism Employers’ Federation (FPTR), quoted by Mediafax news agency. FTPR estimates that there will be a 15 percent increase in the local flow of domestic tourists this year.

The highest demand is for lodgings in rural areas, with 80 percent of available rooms booked by an estimated 28,000 tourists who are ready to spend roughly EUR 122 (RON 550) on average for Christmas in Romania.

“Although Romanians dream of more and more diverse destinations, from neighboring countries to exotic beaches, Christmas is the holiday they prefer to spend at home,” said Dragos Raducan, FTPR Vice-President. “Nevertheless, almost 60,000 Romanian choose to spend their Christmas in a hotel or a boarding house,” added Raducan .

Mountain resorts are the next preferred destination, with 18,000 tourists ready to occupy more than 50 percent of the available rooms at costs ranging between EUR 77.7 (RON 350) and EUR 155.5 (RON 700) per person per stay.

Balneoclimateric resorts, or health spas at natural hot springs, come in third among the local tourist destinations, with 10,000 beds already booked. Things will be very quiet at the Romanian seaside resorts and the Danube Delta with just 100 and 80 tourists respectively planning to go.

“Foreign destinations take up a very small percentage of Romanians’ options for Christmas,” according to Raducan. “Just a few hundred Romanian tourists are traveling abroad this time of the year either with one target destination or on tours. More and more Romanians refuse to stay home and cook for Christmas”.

In 2011, hotel owners were facing quite a grim perspective, with end of year estimated spending by tourists down by 30 percent  as compared to the holiday budgets for the previous years, according to  a survey conducted by the FTPR. This was just another stage in a year long regress of the tourist industry attributed to higher taxes and 50 percent increase of utilities costs shouldered by local operators. The FTPR noted then that accommodation costs in Romania stood 5 percent below the level of the Hungarian tourist industry, while a comparison with Austrian destinations placed local rates a good 50 percent below.

Ioana Jelea, ioana.jelea@romania-insider.com