Prince Charles of Wales has urged Romanians to spend their holidays in the country and rediscover the country's "incredible riches."
The message is delivered in a five-minute film meant to support the local tourist industry - "A Special Message from HRH the Prince of Wales in Support of the Romanian Tourist Industry."
The film, narrated by Prince Charles, is the work of Charlie Ottley, the presenter and producer of the Wild Carpathia documentary series.
The prince recalls his first visit to Romania and highlights the country's "unrivaled biodiversity" and "breathtaking natural landscapes."
"Over the years since my first visit, more than 20 years ago, I have come to know and love so much about Romania, her unique historic heritage, unrivaled biodiversity, her vast mixed forests, and breathtaking natural landscapes. As much as I have seen, there is so much more that I long to explore. Romania is an astonishingly diverse country," the prince says.
He mentions spots such as the Danube Delta, the forests, springs and monasteries of Bucovina, Moldova and the Maramureș, the hills of the Apuseni or the wilds of Harghita, the precious collections in Bucharest museums or the wild beauty of the Iron Gates Gorge, the castles and Saxon villages of Transylvania, the remote valleys of Banat and Crișana, the Dacian fortresses, and the Greek cities of Histria and Argamum.
"To find such huge health of natural and cultural diversity under a single flag is quite remarkable, and it's one of the features that make Romania such a unique and special corner of Europe. So too is the determination of the Romanian people to preserve and protect their heritage, to hold fast to their crafts and traditions and retain the very best of the past whilst building a brighter future," Prince Charles says.
Touching on the profound change brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, the prince speaks of the devastating impact it had on the tourist industry and the associated businesses and jobs.
"This year, all of us have experienced a profound moment of change as our lives have been turned upside down by the first major pandemic that any of us has known. It has been a time of huge uncertainty and anxiety not just for the safety of those closes to us, our friends, and our families but also for the future welfare and livelihoods of so many people. All around the world, countries shut their borders, and it became necessary for people to stop traveling. I do know just what a devastating effect this has had on the tourist industry, on hotels, restaurants, and other tourist businesses, and on the millions of jobs that depend on them."
He explains that opting for a local holiday offers plenty of opportunities for exploration and discovery and argues this is the ideal time to "rediscover one's roots and reconnect with one's heritage."
"But staying at home can offer so many wonders to explore and to discover. As restrictions are lifted, people will want to travel again and to rediscover the world around them. Understandably, many will want to jump on an airplane and swap the familiar for a breath of foreign air. However, now is also the ideal time to rediscover one's roots and reconnect with one's heritage. I have every confidence that Romanians who do so will find much to delight them and to give them the greatest pride in their country."
The prince also says he will continue to champion the importance of protecting and celebrating Romania's heritage.
"For myself, Romania holds a very special place in my heart. I can trace my forbearers all the way back to Vlad Țepeș, which may explain why, each time I visit, there is a part of me that feels at home. For as long as I am able, I will continue to champion the importance of protecting and celebrating Romania's unique treasures, her villages, her historic buildings, her food and drink, and her precious biodiversity, her wildlife, and majestic forests."
While touching on the potential of domestic tourism to bring prosperity to "to even the most remote rural areas," the prince urges Romanians to rediscover their country.
"So I can only encourage all Romanians to rediscover the incredible riches within the borders of your remarkable country, and, when it becomes possible for me to travel to Romania again, it will be a precious moment to cherish. Să ne revedem cu bine!"