Romania: travelers preferred outdoor tours in the summer

According to data from the Romanian travel website Romanian Friend, there were some noteworthy differences in how foreign tourists visiting Romania this summer spent their vacations amid the Covid-19 pandemic.


Despite the lesser numbers, there are noticeable trends, such as an unexpected preference for nature trips and a – predicted – aversion to traveling in bigger groups.


“Prior to Covid, foreign tourists were mainly interested in seeing our country’s top sights like Bran (Dracula Castle, Peles and Corvin Castle, Sighisoara Citadel, and Transfagarasan Highway.


For nightlife, the Old Towns of Brasov, Sibiu, and Bucharest were top – packed – destinations.” says Marius Iliescu, tour guide and founder of Romanian Friend. 


Travelers from all over the world, mainly from Europe and the United States, have a distinct preference for holidays in nature, outside of major cities or congested hotspots, according to data from a tour booking website in Romania. Enjoyed this post? Never miss out on future posts by following us.

Hiking tours in the Carpathian Mountains, multi-day journeys to see village life in Transylvania and Maramures, and wildlife viewing expeditions all saw substantial growth.


Tourists visiting Romania appear to have grown tired of visiting ‘tight’ sights and congested places, as they had in the past. 

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“In June-September, 61 percent of the 9,673 trips booked by international tourists totaling 18,472 individuals (38 percent less than in 2019) were for tours in nature such as hiking, compared to 39 percent in 2019 and 36 percent in 2018,” according to the report. After the Coronavirus lockdowns, we expected this trend to continue, but not at such a high level. Tourists from the United Kingdom, the United States, and Belgium, for example, were more aware of the transition than those from Germany, the Netherlands, or the Nordic countries.”


According to industry analysis, foreign flights to European destinations were barely 40% of pre-pandemic levels in July and August. Low demand was most likely caused by changing travel or entry conditions. Until June 1, Romania was solely open to European Union residents for tourism, discouraging Americans, Canadians, and Asians from booking vacations months in advance as they have in the past. Vaccinated travelers and those who had not been vaccinated but had a negative PCR test but came from a yellow-list nation were not needed to quarantine upon entering Romania.

The uncertainty about travel conditions had a considerable impact on the average number of days tourists booked their tours in advance. In 2019, the average was 18 days in advance, with US travellers booking up to 20 days ahead of time. In 2021, this amount had dropped to only 6 days, with many visits being scheduled only 1-2 days ahead of time.

This season, the mix of Covid safety requirements, travel uncertainties, private trips, and last-minute bookings posed a significant difficulty.


Despite our best efforts to encourage prior bookings and a generous one-day cancellation policy, most tourists were hesitant to commit until the very last minute.



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