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Romania is ‘black hole’ for German tourists, Dominican Republic and Thailand promised land for Romanian tourists in 2012

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German tourists know practically nothing about Romania and almost never visit the country, according to Dragos Anastasiu, President of Eurolines Romania, TUI representative in Romania.

Romania’s main tourist options at the moment are Transylvania circuits and city-breaks in Sibiu and Bucharest. In the summer of 2012, Romania faced heavy competition from neighbor Bulgaria. There were approximately 1,000 German tourists staying at the Romanian seaside resorts at the time, according to Eurolines statistics, while the Bulgarian sea shores hosted 25 times more German visitors. This difference appears to reflect the German public’s lack of awareness about the Romanian tourist attractions as well as our country’s low level of tourist infrastructure development.

“German tourists don’t get to see Romania, they don’t know anything at all about it. It’s like a black hole, a dark spot on the map,” commented Anastasiu. He put this situation down to a lack of motorways and green areas and the presence of stray dogs which are constant elements of Romanian everyday life. “Foreign tour operators, especially those based in Germany, want hotels to have family rooms, the staff to be kind and polite and to speak several foreign languages. They also want adequate room furnishings, among other things,” concluded Anastasiu.

A logistics drawback that put a halt to the influx of German visitors to Romania is TUI’s decision to cut its printed material costs by 30 percent, which resulted in Romania only being present in the German tour operator’s online catalogs. Given that German tourists tend to rely on printed materials when choosing holiday packages, this cost reduction practically blocked their access to information about Romania.

Anastasiu also pointed out that Romanians’ preferred exotic destinations for 2012 were the Dominican Republic and Thailand. “For Thailand alone, approximately 8,000 Romanians bought holiday packages during the first months of 2012,” noted Anastasiu.

As for 2013, the forecast is that Greece,Turkey and Spain will be the main targeted destinations. “While in Greece the price of holidays is likely to remain at the same level as in 2012, vacation costs in Turkey will go up,” according to Anastasiu. Romanians will not spend more than EUR 250 per person in their 2013 holidays, according to an Eurolines estimate.

The Eurolines group estimates that it will end 2012 with a turnover of approximately EUR 54 million (RON 243 million), some EUR 13.3 million (RON 59,8 million) more than in 2011.

Ioana Jelea ioana.jelea@romania-insider.com

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