Mamaia has been Romania’s most popular Black Sea summer resort since it was built in the 1930s. The place is as famous for its high prices as its wide sandy beach.
If tourists complained about the price of a pint of beer, a deckchair or a sandwich in the past, this year it’s the parking.
A day’s parking can now cost as much as a low-end hotel room, tourism officials say. Even worse, the payment system is complicated and unfriendly for tourists who just want a relaxing break at the seaside.
Hoteliers are expecting a good season after the pandemic cut their earnings by one-third last year.
But even if tourists have money to spare, the cost of a day’s parking in the pricey resort will set them back 94 lei, about 20 euros.
„In the center of Mamaia, parking fees are higher than in downtown Bucharest. It’s like Monte Carlo or other top destinations in Europe” , tourism agency official Cristian Bărhălescu told Digi24 on Friday.
He said he hoped a solution could be found in the coming days before the season gets into swing.
„A tourist ends up paying almost what’s he’d pay for a hotel room”
But there’s another problem. “People can’t pay parking for a day or a week. They have to send a text message every hour. “If they don’t, they risk paying a fine of getting their car towed”, Digi24 reported.
The station compared the prices to Bulgaria’s upmarket „Golden Sands” resort, also on the Black Sea, where the maximum parking fee is 18 leva a day, or 45 lei which is ten euros.
The problem is that many hotels there don’t have their own parking spaces, Cristian Bărhălescu, the tourism official said.
„Most of the parking is public and if hotels want to rent (those spaces) hey don’t get preferential rates…. Even if hotels offered free parking for tourists, they’d still have to get the parking money from somewhere”.
Mamaia lies on a strip of land about 8 kilometers long and only 300 meters wide, between the Black Sea and Lake Siutghiol.
It offers mid-range to 4 and 5-star hotels as well as camping sites.