The village of Hotarele lies on Romania’s southern plains, not far from the River Danube.
Located between the Danube and the Arges River and not far from Bulgaria, it has a population of 4,000, although 1,000 are working elsewhere in Romania or abroad.
The nondescript village doesn’t boast any monuments, local celebrities or other legends that would attract tourists.
That is until recently. In the past couple of weeks, more than 2,000 visitors from all over the country have descended on Hotarele after it opened a vaccine center offering Covid-19 inoculations, Digi24 reported.
The center was the brainchild of the mayor who’s proud that his initiative has put the sleepy village on the map.
“Some 1,300 have been vaccinated, and 30 to 40% of them didn’t come alone, so there’s been 2,000 visitors,” in two and a half weeks, mayor Silvian Manea said.
The vaccine center coordinator said 80% of people vaccinated in the past 2 ½ weeks were people from outside the community; some even traveled hundreds of kilometers to get their jabs.
Romania has vaccinated 675,000 people at least once so far.
Visitors bought something to drink and eat while they were in the community, a boost to the local economy.
“For the notoriety of our village, we can say this vaccine center is a business where everyone has something to gain,” the mayor said. “Hotarele has come up trumps.’’
“The fact we have a vaccine center in Hotarele has made us well-known, and brought a lot of people here who otherwise would have never come here.”
And of course they will be back for their booster shots.