At least by 25% more Romanian tourists travel abroad in 2008

The over 700 companies of the National Association of Travel Agencies (ANAT) earned a cumulated turnover worth 4.45 billion lei (1.25 billion euros), in 2007, read National Trade Registry Office data, ANAT president Dragos Atanasiu told a news conference on Sept. 4.
ANAT member companies number 16,035 employees, 11,000 of them belonging to the travel agencies.
The peak season of 2008 summer is closing to the end. We can say it has been a good one, when mainly the number of outgoing charter flights went up,” ANAT official said. The number of the Romanian tourists traveling abroad grew by at least 25% than that last year. While Greece topped the most favorite destinations, same as in the last years, Turkey registered the biggest growth, being the destination that most operators widely promoted. Although Bulgaria remained a sought-for destination it was lagging. But Corfu, Greece, was one of the less successful destinations although it had been very well publicized, the same source says.
As for the Romanian Black Sea shore, the tour operators assess the growths have ranged between 5 and 20% so far, compared to the previous year.
According to the important travel companies, the number of the tourists who spent their holiday at the seaside grew over May 1-June 15, and the trend seems to be the same till the end of the seaside season in September.
Unlike the years before, the hotel owners have shown openness to the ANAT efforts as regards the prolongation of the tourism season on the Romanian Black Sea shore, Atanasiu stressed.
Much more hotels on the Romanian Black Sea shore will shut their doors after Oct 1, in 2008, while they used to close on Sept 15 or even earlier, in the years before. At the same time, this summer has been the first with all inclusive vacation packages, strictly promoted on the Romanian market. Likewise, about 50 hotels will be part in the Seashore for Everybody programme that the Littoral Tourism Promotion and Development Association conducts over Sept 1-Oct 15, and when the hotels part in the programme, supply 6,000 beds and the tariffs for a stay range between 159 and 380 lei, depending on the hotel’s category.

Despite the fact that the hotels start their activity earlier they are to close later, but many economic agents such as restaurants, stores, disco bars fail coping with this longer timetable. Under the circumstances it is required that the local authorities should compel the economic agents to start activity when the tourism season officially starts, and close at the same time when hotels do. Although after Sept 15 the weather will not be fine enough to lie on the beach, tourists like to have fun and rest on considerably less money than in other places in Romania, ANAT official said.
By round 20% less foreign tourists have spent their holiday in the Romanian Black Sea resorts, this year than in the year before, mainly because the number of German and Scandinavian tourists dwindled last year because the German TUI Travel Company decided to withdraw from the Romanian market.
This year, there have been no direct charter flights, and the foreign holidaymakers who come to the Romanian Black Sea shore are transferred from the Airport of Varna (Bulgarian Black Sea resort). There is only one single charter liner from Russia.
“It was a bad year for incoming, but it is a reality that the hotel owners prefer the Romanian tourists who spend much more money and are less choosy not being used to complain. Many Romanians like weekend tourism, Travel Agency officials say.
ANAT members think the Government has failed really promoting the Romanian Black Sea resorts, this year, and say that coherent decisions and a better price-quality ratio are required to improve the situation. Likewise a stronger promotion abroad is needed. This year, the Romanian Black Sea resorts will not number more than 100,000 foreign holidaymakers coming from Germany, France, ex-Soviet states such as Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, the Republic of Moldova and Italy, this year.
This summer, ANAT members initiated a campaign to help the floods victims. Thus, ANAT Regional Council president Grigore Alexa coordinated the action called ‘Moldavia – A Flood of Tears, on this Sept 3, through which there were donated fridges and gas stoves to 70 flood-hit families in Radauti (north-eastern Romania. The donation amounted to 80,000 lei given by 59 ANAT member tourism agencies.
A final analysis will be made in the framework of the Tourism Stock Exchange due in Mamaia, in the second half of this September.
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