Romania has the lowest tourism taxation in the European Union, 5 percent VAT, and this fact has generated steady increases in the number of tourists in the country, according to the relevant minister, Bogdan Trif.
“We have the lowest EU tourism taxation, the lowest taxes in the EU, 5 percent VAT. I was actually talking with the operators who were saying that there is nothing they can reproach us now on this segment. They are very pleased, which is why investments can actually be seen and will be seen from year to year. (…) Last year we had by 6.5 percent more tourists in Romania than in 2017. This year we have an increase of 6 percent in the first quarter. On May 20, as compared to 2018, we have a 13 percent growth in the number of tourists. There are steady increases and they are not however fallen from the sky, we have had measures in the governing program that we have implemented. Taxation has been one of the main measures. You have to leave money to people so that they can invest,” the Tourism Minister told private TV broadcaster Digi24.
Bogdan Trif said, in this context, that this year’s budget of the Ministry of Tourism is six times higher than last year, but he also highlighted the importance of promoting the unique places Romania has, such as the Danube Delta.
Thus, the Minister brought to mind an order from last year according to which agro-tourism guesthouses in the Danube Delta can be built on a smaller area, of about 200 sqm, showing that it was inconvenient for a guesthouse to be built in the Delat on 1000 sqm.
“It was an inconvenience for a guesthouse to be built on 1,000 sqm in the Danube Delta. It was only possible in very few places, a reason why many operators were deprived of such opportunities. Now, they can access European funds and national funds so they can develop such guesthouses. We have promoted everywhere, at all the tourism fairs and at all the meetings, including Romania’s new promotion video as a tourist destination 365 days a year, the Delta has played an important role. We have a strategy that we want to implement at national level and which also refers to the Danube Delta. It is a matter of priority to deal with the unique places we have, and the Danube Delta is one of these places. It was no accident that it was incorporated in the UNESCO heritage,” the cited minister underscored.
At the same time, he stated that Romania’s promotion abroad is being sought, showing that it is important for tourists from outside the country to come, including in the Danube Delta.
“We have to be very careful, however, because we have to develop sustainable tourism in the Danube Delta, not to affect this ecosystem so that future generations can enjoy it as it is now. We will promote the Danube Delta by all means the Ministry of Tourism has at its disposal and the results can be seen. We already have a big increase as compared to last year. The operators were telling me that there are by 50 percent more tourists than last year.
Holiday vouchers bring to light much of economy on black market; licensing applications, up 60pct
Holiday vouchers have brought to light a large part of the economy that was functioning on the black market, given that last year the number of operators who submitted applications for licenses at the Ministry of Tourism increased by 60 percent and in this year’s first quarter there has been an advance of about 65 percent, Tourism Minister Bogdan Trif maintains.
“The measure of granting holiday vouchers has brought much of the black market economy to light, because these vouchers can only be granted and taken over by licensed operators authorized by the Ministry of Tourism. In 2018, we had an increase of almost 60 percent of those who applied for licenses at the Ministry of Tourism and in the first quarter of 2019 we have an increase of nearly 65 percent as compared to 2018,” Tourism Minister Sunday said at private broadcaster Digi24.
Trif however specified that this measure is not a subsidy but prompted Romanians to spend their holiday in the country. He also pointed out that the 1450 lei amount is only enough for two or three days at the Romanian seaside but underlined that the money is spent in Romania, not outside the country.
The year 2018 was the first time when holiday vouchers were granted and almost 1.2 million Romanians benefited from them.
“We infused nearly 400 million euro in this sector. Tourism operators have asked us not to give up this measure, which is why we will still maintain it in 2019 and 2020. We are even thinking about improving it in the next years,” Bogdan Trif said.