SIGHISOARA, Romania -- Groundbreaking on a $31.5 million theme park
based on the Dracula legend can proceed in this Transylvanian city
this spring now that investors have raised enough start-up cash,
Some 65% of required funds were secured in a $5 million public
offering that attracted investment by both foreign companies and
Romanian individuals, said Simion Alb, director of the Romanian
National Tourist Office in New York.
Slated to open in spring 2004, the 285-acre Dracula Land park
will feature a medieval castle, handicrafts shops and restaurants,
an amusement rides area, a horseback riding center and an
International Institute of Vampirology presenting vampire-related
curia from around the world.
Alb said the development also will feature a 150-acre golf
course, Romania's first.
Sighisoara is the hometown of 15th century Romanian ruler Vlad
"the Impaler" Tepes, whose legendary bloody exploits inspired Bram
Stoker's ficitonal Count Dracula.
Romania last year welcomed about 78,000 Americans. Alb said he
expects Dracula Land to attract an additional 3,000 to 5,000 U.S.
tourists in its first year, and between 20,000 and 25,000 more
after three years.
By its fourth year of operation, Dracula Land is expected to
host a steady 1.1 million visitors per year, divided evenly between
Romanians and foreigners.