Romanian Black Sea tourism hit by Covid panic, takings down by more than one-third

Plaja Tataia, la nord de Constanta. universul.net
Plaja Tataia, la nord de Constanta. universul.net

Like tourism around the world this year, Romania’s Black Sea tourism has been hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

The number of tourists to the coast in southeastern Romania was down by nearly a third this summer and takings fell even more, an industry chief said Monday.

Ionut Nedea who is manager of seaside tourism group litoralromanesc.ro said the numbers of Romanian tourists fell this season by 30% while income was down by 35-40%.

Speaking at a press conference Monday at Mamaia, a popular and well-heeled resort, Nedea said tourists spent less money as operators reduced their prices due to the effects of the pandemic.

“Hotels had to drop prices even in the difficult position where the costs grew, but we had to do something so that tourists actually came to the seaside,” Nedea said.

He said the main problem for people working in the tourism industry was panic among tourists about the virus and the conditions of their stay.

Nonetheless, he said that some 160,000 tourists came to the Romanian coast this year and spent 25 million euros on holidays, which lasted an average of 5.3 days, longer than 5.1 days last year.

“People were wondering how they could go to the seadside durong a pandemic when the risks were high, “he said.

He said communication with authorities was difficult at time, and July, which is traditionally the most profitable month saw a downturn with hotel occupancy down from almost 100% to 30-35%.

There was a spike in coronavirus cases in July after a court ruling which banned quarantine and hospital stays for Covid-19 patients who were not seriously ill. The surge in cases alarmed some people as it came after a drop in infections in June.

He blamed the government for not having a plan to allow investment in tourism to allow businesses to meet customers’ demands.

Most tourists, 38,1% came from Bucharest, with 5.24% coming from the southwestern county of Timis, some 5.1% from the northeastern Iasi region, while about 4.52% traveled from Prahova county north of Bucharest.

The most popular resorts were the upscale Mamaia, resort followed by Eforie Nord, south of Constanta and then Jupiter, Neptun, Saturn, Venus and Costinesti in the middle of Romania’s Black Sea coast.

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