Romania's booth scandal at the New York Tourism Fair
Romania is one of the richest countries in Europe and maybe even in the world when it comes to tourism opportunities. We have a country rich in many forms of relief (mountains, hills, plateaus, plains), but also in tourist attractions (castles and palaces, museum cities and much more). Romania has tens of kilometers of coastline, but also the famous Danube Delta. However, Romania ranks last in Europe in attracting foreign tourists.
After 1989, the number of foreign tourists who came to Romania decreased from one year to another. In 2021, Romania was visited by 840 foreign tourists, but their actual number is much smaller. According to an article published by ZF.ro, about 640.000 were accommodated in accommodation units in Bucharest and cities of residence, a number that shows business travel, a different category from leisure tourism.
The number of foreign tourists is declining, although the Romanian authorities announce with trumpets and trumpets the participation in dozens of tourism fairs organized in Europe and in the world. The problem is that these participations in tourism fairs have zero relevance as long as the stands are sad, like the one at the New York Tourism Fair.
Several organizations in Romania, as well as tourism representatives, have sanctioned the skid in New York. Romania's stand at the New York Tourism Fair, presented under the slogan "Explore the Carpathian garden", generated a huge scandal. The organizers posted on social media a photo depicting a poor stand of our country, in contrast to the spaces arranged by other states that creatively presented their tourist offer.
Romania's stand basically meant a table, four chairs, brochures and a few pictures printed in poor quality and displayed on a black curtain. In addition, the presentation slogan was incorrectly titled, while the presentation photo of the stand was allegedly used without the author's consent. Traian Bădulescu, spokesman for the National Association of Travel Agencies, harshly criticizes the lack of professionalism of the stand organizers, quoted by rfi.ro.
Personally, I think we made fun of ourselves in New York, we made fun of ourselves at EXPO 2020 in Dubai, but also at other profile fairs. And yet, the authorities continue in their stupidity and no one assumes failure, no one resigns, no one comes to justify the amounts spent unnecessarily. When I saw the photo in New York, I was disturbed by the indifference of those sitting in the picture and the fact that they were proud of this masterpiece.
At first I accused them of carelessness and stupidity, but I think this is actually the real tourism in their head and that of many in the state administrative system. That's all you can do! In vain do we struggle as an online press publication to present the beautiful part of Romania, in vain do private travel agencies struggle to bring tourists to Romania, in vain do guides, hoteliers and HoReCa representatives fight to present hospitable Romania, if the authorities know and can , that's all they know. This demonstrates how incapable the Romanian state is in the tourism sector.
Punctually on the stand in New York, I understood that the whole masquerade cost $ 8000, and the black curtain was provided by the organizers. But even so, much more could be done for Romania on a tight budget, compared to those embarrassing, small, poor-quality prints of photos used without the consent of photographers.
For example, they could print some photos (with the right of use) representative of Romania in a much larger format to cover the black curtain. They could use 2-3 large TVs on which to shoot movies with images from Romania, such as "Wild Romania". They could have dressed the table in a more colorful material, maybe even in the colors of the Romanian flag and it was still better. At least they came out of the grim picture of the vigil.
But no, no one bothered to come up with ideas. Clearly there were people with no experience in tourism and they just wanted to tick off an unnecessary expenditure of public money. They collected the daily allowance, maybe something else, they took a photo to justify their presence and that was Romania's participation in the Tourism Fair in New York.
Similar scenarios were recorded at other tourism fairs. Participate people without training, who have no ideas to promote tourist Romania, participate people who do not care to promote Romania, but only to tick an international walk. During all this time, Romania is less and less visited by foreign tourists.
Consequently, there are no tourists, there are no budgets allocated by the relevant ministry to promote Romania. We have been in this circle of helplessness for 30 years, while the neighboring countries announce millions of foreign tourists and tens of millions of euros collected as a result. See how Hungary, Bulgaria, Serbia have evolved in terms of tourism and always have an impressive presence at trade fairs.