Some may say that promoting travel to rural areas in Romania will actually have a negative effect, as mass tourism had on so many other places on Earth. If we would fear that, we wouldn’t do it.
On the contrary, we see hope in tourism to safeguard livelihoods and heritage.
Threat for rural heritage
Looking at current reality and trends, rural life in Transylvania is slowly fading and rural heritage is at risk of being quickly lost. Urbanization spreads as it did in developed countries and replaces the traditional with the modern, in architecture, agriculture, crafts, traditions and ideology.
Most heritage conservation projects are costly and are required to be economically viable; tourism is considered a solution as it keeps alive the interest in conservation and generates the needed resources to continuously revive the heritage.
Threat for rural livelihoods
Every year more farmers give up traditional agriculture due to new legislation and fierce competition from modern, mass-agriculture. Having no other jobs, especially the young ones move to cities.
A solution for them is to complement traditional agriculture with tourism to earn a decent livelihood. When we look at cases like Rosia Montana we observe that the only proposed alternative to environmentally hazardous gold-mining is tourism.
Our mission is to contribute to the sustainable development of Romania by supporting heritage and nature conservation efforts alongside creating economic opportunities for the local population through responsible travel.
Because we want to bring the economic benefits of travel to locals, the main criteria for choosing accommodation providers are:
Transportation services are also acquired only from local providers. For example we rent cars from a 100% Romanian owned car rental company and most of the times we use the locally produced Dacia or Daewoo cars. When we need to use minibuses we also rent from a 100% Romanian owned company.
All the guides we work with are Romanians and licenced by the Tourism Ministry and the pay is done legally.
The operations of the tour operator have a very low environmental footprint:
Of particular interest to us are initiatives that conserve heritage. We contribute to such initiatives by bringing travellers to stay in historic buildings they renovate as guesthouses or hotels. One such example is Viscri village, where even HRH Prince Charles of Wales owns a house and has been a sponsor of the heritage conversation initiative.
Besides the bigger tourist sites we bring travellers to smaller, less visited places that are also very interesting; thus, directing income to those entities as well.
And we don’t only bring people to tourist sites; we also bring them in contact with craftsmen and simple families. When visiting craftsmen, travellers learn about the trade and can get involved.
By traveling in small groups rather than large ones, we easily blend in local communities when visiting them without getting too much attention or making locals feel uncomfortable by waves of tourists.
On our website there are links to the travel advisories for Romania from the US Department of State, Canadian Government, UK and Australian Departments of Foreign Affairs. When special situations occur, we communicate this to our travellers. For example, in 2014 we communicated with many of our travellers about the situation in Ukraine and if there is any risk of spilling into Romania. We even had a group who we brought from Northern Romania for a day trip to Western Ukraine; we had almost monthly communication with the travellers before the tour about the situation there.
If you appreciate our approach and would like to to travel with us please contact us and after an initial conversation we will design a tailor made tour for you. For inspiration please look through our suggested tours on our website.
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