Foreign tourists in Romania prefer city breaks, circuits and rest packages

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In 2013, 1,7 millions of foreign tourists they visited Romania. They spent 3,5 millions of nights in our country, 4 times less than in Bulgaria (14,3 million overnight stays), 3,5 times less than in Hungary (12,3 million overnight stays), 6 times less than in Czech Republic (20,8 million overnight stays) and 22 times less than in Austria (78,1 million overnight stays).

Foreign visitors spent 4,79 billion in Romania (equivalent to 1,08 billion, respectively)  635,29 euros on average per person). Foreign tourists represent only 18% of Romania's tourism market, compared to 67% in Bulgaria, 49% in Hungary, 53% in the Czech Republic and 71% in Austria. The countries from which most tourists come, according to border points, are Hungary, Bulgaria, Germany, Italy, Poland and Austria.

In Romania, foreign tourists, who come especially for leisure, prefer city breaks, general and niche circuits (cultural, wine, historical), and rest packages, respectively. The rest of the non-resident tourists arrive in Romania in the interest of service / business.

"If the authorities would recognize incoming as a service export activity, the number of foreign tourists coming to Romania would increase and we could reach from 2% of GDP to 6% - the level of potential estimated by the World Tourism & Travel Council in our country. This is also the reason why ANAT requests the Government to recognize incoming as an export activity and, implicitly, the application of the VAT rate (exempt with deduction right for all activities carried out in favor of non-resident tourists in Romania by the licensed travel agencies and tourist reception structures. classified by the National Tourism Authority)”, Says Lucia Nora Morariu, president of the National Association of Travel Agencies (ANAT).

In Romania, of the over 2.000 registered travel agencies, only 20 were activated by the incoming predominant in the business structure, unfortunately, too few to attract a significant number of foreign tourists.

"Recognition of incoming as a service export activity can bring an additional 2 million euros to the country annually, of which 20.000 pensions of 450 lei can be paid monthly", says Gheorghe Fodoreanu, former president of ANAT and owner of an agency specialized in activity of incoming.

ANAT has proposed to the Ministry of Public Finance to provide incentives to increase the number of agencies carrying out this type of activity.

"I proposed that for every foreign tourist brought to Romania, an agency can receive two euros for each night of accommodation at a two-star hotel, three for a three-star unit, etc. The amounts could be deducted from the profit tax due to the state by the respective travel agency, the measure becoming a profit incentive for them as well ", declares Alin Burcea, first vice-president of ANAT.

For 2014, the World Tourism Organization (WTO) forecasts a 4-5% increase in the number of tourists worldwide, from 1,087 billion people registered in 2013. Following the trend of recent years, an increase of several percent of tourists Romania is also expected by Romania, but the potential for our country is much greater.

“Without having a competitive transport infrastructure, with not very high investment support, and an external promotion program still modest compared to the competing countries, the Romanian tourism has recovered the number of foreign tourists from the 2007, 2008 years and contributes to the GDP Romania with a percentage of 2%. All of these, against the VAT increase at 24% for food and tourism services, other than accommodation and breakfast included, growth that has hit hard in the activity of tourism operators, an area in which there is no you can raise prices with tax and tax increases because you lose your customers. If the Romanian state really wants to support the incoming tourism of foreign tourists (incoming), it has to do what others do, to reduce the VAT in the food for tourism, to apply the VAT exemption with the right of deduction as for any other export, to invest in the supporting infrastructure and in the aggressive and concerted external promotion in the target markets”, Declares Lucia Nora Morariu, president of ANAT.

As a result of this cancellation, Romania can attract a greater number of foreign tourists from the Republic of Moldova, as a result of lifting visas for Moldovans from April 28. China is also a market with potential.

In order to attract more foreign tourists to Romania, the authorities have opened our country's promotion offices in Tokyo and Brussels, awaiting those in Beijing, the Netherlands and the Nordic countries.

Moreover, our country participates in 2014 at 37 international profile fairs in order to promote Romania and, implicitly, to attract more foreign tourists. In the following period, the country brand of Romania will be announced at the fairs and exhibitions in Vancouver (May-June), Moscow (September), Japan (September), Las Vegas (October), Poznan (October), Austria ( October), Rimini (October-November), Shanghai (November), Leipzig (November), Barcelona (November), London (November) and Warsaw (November).

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