Tourism in Romania ranks high for its safety, natural and cultural resources and hotel prices according to the 2017 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report published by the World Economic Forum. The report places Romania 68th from 136 countries, with a score of 3.8 on a 1 to 7 scale.

The report analyzes a total of 136 countries in order to measure the factors that enable the sustainable development of the country’s tourism sector. The report not only provides and in-depth analysis of the travel industry, but it also highlights the areas where each destination can improve.

Tourism in Romania: strengths

 

In the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report Romania ranks high in the following categories:

Oral and intangible cultural heritage: The country’s cultural heritage is transmitted from generation to generation and is constantly recreated by local communities, giving tourists the chance to discover Romania’s unique history and traditions. This indicator places the country on the 20th place worldwide, close to Indonesia and Italy.

Romanian traditional costumes

Health and Hygiene: With a score of 6.1, Romania is amongst the first 31 countries in the world offering strong healthy and hygiene conditions, similar to Australia and Denmark.

Safety and Security: The country places 39th in this top, near Cyprus and Latvia,  having the maximum score for lack of terrorism incidents.

World Heritage sites: Romania has 1 World Heritage natural site (the Danube Delta) and 6 World Heritage cultural sites (the Churches of Moldavia, the Historic centre of Sighisoara, the Dacian Fortresses of the Orastie Mountains, the Monastery of Horezu, the Wooden Churches of Maramures and the Villages with fortified churches in Transylvania). Thus, it is ranked on the 46th, respectively the 36th place, with scores close to that of the Republic of Korea and Norway.

Attractiveness of natural assets: With a score of 5.2, the country ranks in the first half of the classification, indicating that tourism in Romania attracts a large number of tourists due to its natural resources: mountains, parks and wildlife. Countries with an identical score are Jordan and Japan.

Internet use for business transactions: Romania ranks 43th. Nowadays being present online comes as a necessity and a great part of businesses in Romania provide online services, which makes it easy for tourists to plan itineraries and book tours.

Hotel price: The country has inexpensive accommodation (ranks 10th in terms of affortability), with the average price for a room in a first-class hotel being 79.4$. An almost identical price can be found for example in Tunisia and South Africa.

Number of hotel rooms: Romania places in the first half of the ranking for this indicator, too, offering 0.7 hotel rooms/100 population. Countries like The Dominican Republic and Hungary have a similar rank.

Railroad density: The country places on the 20th place from this perspective. Almost all touristic destinations are connected by train, making it easy to choose this means of transportation to discover the beauties of Romania.

Air transport: Romania has 42 operating airlines, guaranteeing access to a high number of destinations across the world. The list includes British Airways, Lufthansa, Air France, Turkish Airlines and Iberia, along with low-cost operating companies Wizz Air and Ryanair.

Presence of major car rental companies: All 7 global major car rental companies have a subsidary in Romania, giving tourists a higher range of qualitative transport options to choose from.

 

Lowest scores in the report

 

On the other hand, Romania registers weak scores in the importance that the government gives to the T&T sector, ranking on the 108th place from this perspective. Investments of the government are perceived as low, making  the infrastructure the main issue hindering the development of tourism in Romania. Both Air transport infrastructure and Ground and port infrastructure are given low scores, 2.4, respectively 2.8 (out of 7). Tourist service infrastructure is given a 4.4 score, the quality of hotels, resorts and entertainment facilities being perceived as low to medium.

In terms of price competitiveness, tourists should also be aware that ticket taxes and airport charges are quite high (104th place), as well as fuel price.

 

Most significant changes compared to 2015’s report

 

Compared to the 2015 report, Romania’s performances in tourism competitiveness improved in some areas, whilst in others they worsened.

  • The country registered a significant progress in Safety & Security and Health & Hygiene, offering tourists comfortable and assuring conditions for traveling. An improvement was also shown in Natural and Cultural Resources.
  • In air transport infrastructure, although still weak, Romania’s rank improved by 5 places.
  • Cost of access to air transport and fuel prices both increased, lowering Romania’a ranks in price competitiveness from 54th place to 85th place.
  • Government prioritization of the tourism and travel industry declined compared to the last report and, as seen above, this fact has consequences on this year’s results. The country’s tourism industry could greatly benefit from an enhanced priozitization of the government, as well as a better marketing and branding strategy.

 

Romania: tourist numbers, spending, percentage of GDP and employment

 

More and more international tourists visit Romania each year, but this fact is not translated into increased tourism revenues. The number of international tourist arrivals was 2,234,520, a rise of approximately 30% from the last report. However, the average spending per tourist dropped from 926.9 US$ to 766.1 US$. The Travel and Tourism industry GDP accounted for 1.3% of the total GDP, a slight fall of 0.3%. The same situation can be identified in the Travel and Tourism industry employment, where 2.2% of total employments took place in the tourism sector, while in the previous report 2.4% of total employments took place in the travel industry.

 

About the report methodology

The report uses 14 pillars separated into 4 categories: Enabling Environment (Business Environment, Safety and Security, Health and Hygiene, Human Resources and Labor Market, ICT Readiness), Travel and Tourism Policy and Enabling Conditions (Prioritization of Travel and Tourism, International Openness, Price Competitiveness, Environmental sustainability), Infrastructure (Air Transport Infrastructure, Ground and Port Infrastructure, Tourist Service Infrastructure) and Natural and Cultural Resources (Natural Resources , Cultural Resources and Business Travel). Each pillar is further split into individual factors, for a total of 90 indicators, ranked on a scale from 1 to 7, where 7 signifies the best performance.

 

The full report can be read here: https://www.weforum.org/reports/the-travel-tourism-competitiveness-report-2017

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