Azuga is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Romania, especially for families who love skiing and hiking. But a few days before Christmas, it seems almost deserted. Larisa, a hotel owner, knew that this season would not be so lucrative, so she thought of a creative way to overcome this difficult situation, by setting up igloos.
Larisa Puscasu, is the owner of the hotel where the igloos have been installed:“It started as a way to do something unique in Romania and I think it was a great idea, especially with this pandemic because people are very interested in getting out of their homes and traveling, but at the same time they need safe conditions.”
About 20 km away, in Predeal, Mugur and Roxana are also enjoying the mountainous scenery and a glass of wine in another type of igloo, built for a restaurant garden. They miss the large groups of people who used to gather here before, but believe that next year life will return to normal.
Bud is one of the few tourists we have encountered: “I come from Belgium, but I am from Romania. We have decided to spend a couple of days in the mountains, skiing and doing all these things. Next year I hope we will travel more than this year and I hope there are not as many restrictions as this one. “
The hospitality business has fallen by as much as 65% during 2020, according to an estimate by the Alliance for Tourism in Romania. Constant restrictions have reduced activity and up to 100,000 jobs have been lost. Dragoș Anastasiu, is the spokesman for the Alliance and asks for more public aid next year:
“This pandemic has been like a tsunami for the Romanian tourism industry. From the beginning we have been on the beachfront and the tsunami has swept us away. Next year, we depend on what the government can do. There are some measures underway in terms of EU subsidies, but they won’t arrive until March, April, or maybe May. “
Anastasiu believes that one of the strengths of Romania is its specialization in ecotourism or the existence of private and isolated places that can be found throughout the country. Especially in Moldova, Transylvania or the Danube Delta.
Last year, before Christmas, Romania’s ski resorts were full of people. Now, traveling seems to be something for the brave. The most productive days for restaurant and hotel owners are weekends. In spite of everything they do not give up and hope that next year he will behave better.