Around 1.7 million foreign tourists looking for city breaks, general tours and specialized tours (cultural, vineyards, historical) as well as relaxation package tours visited Romania last year spending individually over 635 euros per holiday in the country. Tourists for business purposes were at smaller ratio as compares to leisure tourists.
As a total, foreign tourists spent 3.5 million nights in the county, four times less than in Bulgaria ( 14.3 million nights), 3.5 times less than in Hungary (12.3 million nights) six times less than in the Czech Republic (20.8 million nights) and 22 times less than in Austria ( 78.1 million nights).
Romania earned 4.79 billion lei (the equivalent of 1.08 billion euro, 635.29 Euro per person) from foreign visitors. Foreign tourists represent only 18% of the touristic market in Romania, against 67% in Bulgaria, 49% in Hungary, 53% in the Czech Republic and 71% in Austria. The states with most tourists, according to the recordings at border are Hungary, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Poland and Austria.
Lucia Nora Morariu, chairman of the National Association of Tourism Agencies (ANAT) said, “If the authorities admitted the incoming as export services activity, the number of tourists coming to Romania would increase and we could get from 2% of the GDP to 6% – the level of potential estimated by World Tourism &Travel Council in our case.This is the reason for which ANAT requests the government to accept incoming as export activity and implicitly, with the use of VAT (exemption with deduction for all activities in favor of tourists non-resident in Romania by tourism agencies and touristic welcoming structures classified by the National Authority for Tourism).”
Only 20 out of the 2,000 tourism agencies in Romania have incoming activity especially in the structure of business, unfortunately, too little to draw a significant number of foreign tourists.
Gheorghe Fodoreanu, former chairman ANAT the owner of a specialised agency in incoming said, “To admit incoming as export activity may bring annually over 2 million Euro out of which 20,000 pensions of 450 lei could be paid.”
The vice-chairman of ANAT, Alin Burcea said, “ANAT proposed the ministry of public finances to offer incentives to increase the number of agencies to have this kind of activity. We proposed that every foreign tourist brought to Romania, an agency could receive two euros for each accommodation night at a two star hotel, three for a three star hotel, etc. The sums could be taken from the tax for profit due to the state by the tourism agency, the measure becoming an incentive for profit and others.”
Lucia Nora Morariu, chairman ANAT said, “Following the trend of the last years, an increase with several percentage points of foreign tourists is expected by Romania, but the potential for our country is higher. Without having a competitive transport infrastructure, with investment support, and a foreign promotion programme still modest by comparison to the competing countries, Romanian tourism got the number of foreign tourists of 2007, 2008 and contributes to the GDP with a percentage of 2%. Everything, as the VAT got up to 24% for food and touristic services, other than accommodation and breakfast included, increase which affected the activity of the tourism operators, domain where you cannot increase prices with tax increase, as you lose your clients. If the Romanian state really wishes to support incoming tourism of foreign tourists (incoming)they have to lower the VAT in tourism restauration, to apply the VAT with exemption as for any other export, to invest in support infrastructure and to promote aggressively and unanimously the target market.”
The Republic of Moldova could pull a large number of tourists to Romania as a result of the withdrawal of visas starting with 28 April. China is, at the same time, a potential market.
The authorities set up promotion offices in Tokyo and Brussels, waiting for the ones in Beijing, in The Netherlands and the Northern Countries in order to draw several foreign tourists to Romania.
What is more, the country participates in 2014 at 37 international fairs with the purpose of promoting Romania and implicitly to draw several foreign tourists. For the period to come, the country brand of Romania will be known in fairs and exhibitions in Vancouver (May-June), Moscow (September), Japan (September), Las Vegas (October), Poznan (October), Austria (October), Rimini (October – November), Shanghai (November) Leipzig (November)Barcelona (November),London (November) and Warsaw (November).