NEW YORK -- Romania joined the 30-member Brussels-based European
Travel Commission (ETC) and will participate in the commission's
North American activities, which are run from New York.
Simion Alb, director of the Romanian National Tourist Office in
New York, said Romania was aiming for several years to join the
marketing organization and take part in its promotional efforts in
the U.S., but until now the office was not allocated the funds
needed to become an ETC member.
"ETC membership not only will enhance Romania's visibility
generally ... but also will cement its acceptance by tour operators
and travel planners ...," according to Alb.
Romania's U.S. traffic has risen from 18,000 in 1990, following
the demise of the country's communist regime, to 71,500 in
Nonstop air service on Tarom to the Romanian capital of
Bucharest is available from New York, Chicago, Atlanta and
Visas are not required for U.S. visitors who stay in Romania for
fewer than 30 days.
As a tourist destination, Romania is famous for being the home
of the fictional character Dracula, who is based on a real
Romanian, Vlad the Impaler. The 15th century prince resided in
Transylvania, where Dracula tours that include the prince's castle
are one of the country's best-known tourist draws.
The painted Orthodox churches of Romania's Bucovina province are
not as well known in the U.S. but are considered by many to be
among the most beautiful monasteries in the world.
Romania is following in the footsteps of several other former
eastern bloc countries that joined the ETC during the past
Hungary joined in 1990, followed by Slovenia and Bulgaria in
1993; Poland in 1994; the Czech Republic in 1995; Croatia in 1997,
and Estonia in 1998.