Q & A with Diana Condrea, Founder, Uncover Romania Tours – Bucharest, Romania.
“Introducing authentic Romania to individuals and small groups through tailor-made tours highlighting culture, history, and nature.”
WHAT BRINGS TRAVELERS TO ROMANIA?
It's important to differentiate between Bucharest, the capital, and the rest of the country. Bucharest is the most visited city in Romania and the main reason is usually business. Most tourists who come for leisure to Romania have an image about the destination that changes completely for the best after their visit. This is due to the fact that Romania has a falsified negative image in most Western countries. This is gradually changing due to positive travels reviews and more people are inspired to visit regions like Transylvania that enjoys a very good promotion in the foreign media.
WHERE DO YOUR CUSTOMERS COME FROM?
Mainly from Western Europe. In the near future we hope to add travelers from the BRIC countries [Brazil, Russia, India, China]. These countries are growing economically, so more people from there will be able to travel. Maybe they won’t include Romania in their first trip to Europe. But for the second trip, we can be on their list.
I enjoy hiking in the Carpathians [mountains] and exploring lesser known traditional villages. I would say Retezat, Cozia, Călimani and Piatra Craiului are some of my favorite National Parks to hike.
DO YOU OFFER BIRD-WATCHING OR NATURE TOURS IN THE NATIONAL PARKS?
We don't focus on bird watching, but we do have the know-how for wildlife tours. We estimate this will be a growing and important part of future tours.
WHERE DO YOUR GROUPS STAY OVERNIGHT?
Except for Bucharest, we mainly use local guest houses. This is part of our responsible tourism principle; we give our customers a quality and authentic experience, and at the same time we’re giving back to the visited communities.
Romanian food is very diverse and tasty, and many travelers are definitely surprised when they see the abundance of fresh and natural ingredients used. The large portions are also surprising. Western tourists tend to eat less than Romanian people. The traditional 'sarmale' and 'mici' appetizers are popular. Our cuisine is rather meat heavy, but most restaurants today offer vegetarian choices for those people who do not eat meat.
AWAY FROM THE CITIES THE FARM LANDS AND WILDERNESS REGIONS LOOKS SO BEAUTIFUL. DO YOU THINK THESE AREAS WILL BE PROTECTED IN THE FUTURE?
I do think young adults in our Millennial generation have more awareness and concern for the environment than did previous generations. So, yes, there is some advocacy now for land and waterways protections. However, I also think the government could do more to support these types of public educational campaigns.
IN SUMMARY WHAT CAN TRAVELERS EXPECT FROM YOUR TOURS?
Our purpose is to introduce visitors to authentic, interesting, and beautiful sites. We do not promote the tourist traps or pretend that modern day Romanians live as they did hundreds of years ago. We do not say visit 'the castle of Dracula.’ That kind of advertising is irresponsible and false. Come to Romania with an open mind, and let us surprise you with all that is new.
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