Tourism Minister Dobre: Romania’s brand is the country itself in its entirety

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Speaking in an interview for AGERPRES about Romania’s tourism brand, which will stay in place until 2020, Minister of Tourism Mircea Dobre said that this identity design is just a logo.

“I think we need to put our vanity aside and showcase ourselves in a far better manner. Everyone thinks that the country brand is a logo. Wrong: the country brand is everything Romania means in its entirety.”

Mircea Dobre says that currently “we cannot have a clear measure of tax evasion in Romania’s tourism. Tourism generates about 1.3 pct of GDP directly, and indirectly – including auxiliary services – it goes somewhere to 5 – 6 percent of GDP. My aim is that in four years we double these figures, ie get Romania tourism to account for 3 – 3.5 percent of the GDP, and the indirect contribution to Romania’s GDP from this activity to somewhere around 10 percent.”

“Health tourism has emerged as a novelty a couple of years ago. There are also one or two dedicated industry associations and a more intensive promotion of health tourism. Indeed, we have more than 30 percent of Europe’s mineral resources for everything meaning spa activity: thermal waters, curative waters, the mud of Techirghiol. There are not many in Europe to have such assets, they have the wellness and leisure part, but we are talking about curative matters. However, the Romanian state can no longer sell travel packages. To an extent of 99.99 percent everything meaning tourism investments in Romania is private, and the Romanian state holds just small stakes in some tourism companies. I honestly believe that God has presented us with a treasure country. I believe there is no county in Romania that hasn’t something to offer in terms of tourism, and I am referring also to cultural tourism, to the history of Romania, to Romanian writers,” the minister said.

“I’ve said it before, and I take responsibility for my statements: I think we need to better showcase the positive things in Romania and less the negative elements.”

Referring to the Danube Delta as a tourist destination, Dobre said he does not think it is “very expensive”, but admitted that it does not “provide top comfort, you have to travel by boat. A high investment was needed to build that comfort in other countries,” he said.

Among the new investments on the Black Sea coast, the minister mentioned that as national priorities, the investment Masterplan provides for “the Diamond Port, which is on the border between the Constanta Municipality and the resort of Mamaia, in the area of the student hostels. The Sulina tourist port is also on the list, but it is for the local public administration of Constanta and the Tulcea County Council to do their job and come up with the technical and economic documentation, for the budget to be devised and investments get the go-ahead.”

In connection with the desire of tour operators to have the VAT reduced to 9 percent Mircea Dobre says it is impossible for now.

The minister says he pushed forward for holiday vouchers in order to increase tourist circulation in Romania. “Of course, since this is public money we are interested in spending it inside Romania. And, in terms of accommodation, “the state has its hands tied, it can only come up with the part of public policies, because investments in Romania’s tourism are private and the investments in general are made by 100 percent private entities.”

“I think that Romania has its specific and I don’t think we can compare countries, because each has its own history, each one has its specific climate, its peculiarities and I don’t think I could pick a certain success model. I believe Romania and Romanians can create added value anywhere, inside the country too, and I do not think we have to follow each time someone in particular. I think we too are able to invent a lot of things, even a success model, yet we need to be far more serious and put our vanity aside,” Minister Dobre said.