Romania loses EUR 1.17 bln in 2020 as fewer foreign tourists visit the country amid COVID-19 pandemic
Romania’s tourism sector lost RON 5.72 bln (EUR 1.17 bln) in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions that have kept foreign tourists away from the country.
The number of foreign tourists who visited Romania dropped by 83% in 2020 compared to 2019, to just 452,000. Romania thus recorded the second-steepest drop in the number of foreign tourists among EU countries, after Cyprus, according to Eurostat data.
Consequently, Romania’s tourism sector last year lost 83% of the revenues generated by foreign tourists compared to 2019. The foreign tourists spent only RON 1.18 bln (EUR 240 mln) in Romania in 2020, down from RON 6.9 bln (EUR 1.42 bln) in 2019, according to data released by the National Statistics Institute (INS) on Wednesday, March 17.
Hotels have the biggest share of the lost revenues as about half of the money foreign tourists traditionally spend in Romania goes on accommodation. Thus, local hotels lost revenues of about RON 2.86 bln (EUR 587 mln), according to Romania-Insider.com estimates based on INS data. The hotels in Bucharest and other big cities were likely the biggest losers because they traditionally rely more on foreign tourists who come to Romania for business or for city breaks.
Restaurants were also strongly hit as they generally get about 17% of the total amounts foreign tourists spend in Romania, according to INS data. Thus, local restaurants and bars lost revenues of about RON 972 mln (EUR 200 mln) in 2020.
The remaining 33% of the foreign tourists' expenses in Romania go into transport services, shopping, leisure activities, healthcare, and others.
Overall, Romania’s tourism sector dropped by more than 50% in 2020 as the number of local tourists who checked into local hotels also went down by 45%. Meanwhile, the restaurant operators were even more severely hit by the restrictions and the long periods in which they were forced to shut.
The Government promised to help companies in the local hospitality sector by paying them grants to compensate 20% of the business lost in 2020 (up to EUR 800,000 per company). However, the program hasn’t been launched yet.
(Photo source: Dreamstime.com / Mihai Neacsu)