Academic journal article Journal of Tourism Challenges and Trends

Mountain Tourism in Romania between Theory and Practice

Academic journal article Journal of Tourism Challenges and Trends

Mountain Tourism in Romania between Theory and Practice

Article excerpt

Introduction

This paper is not an academic article in the strict sense of the word, meaning an article based on scientific research and literature review. It is an article based on the analyze of practice compared to a legislative system whose main problem is the way in which it is applied. It is also an article which tries to highlight the significant distance between words (the tourist potential of Carpathian Mountains) and deeds (classified ski slopes, classified mountain routes, Salvamont rescue units in counties with mountain areas). It is an article based strictly on the legislation existing in Romania at this moment (May 2009) and on the relationship between this legislation and the practical aspects encountered daily.

The article is structured into four parts, of which three are based on mountain tourism legislation (of winter, of summer, and the tourist destinations in mountain areas). The investigation is also based on the latest statistical data from the National Statistics Institute of Romania.

Winter Mountain Tourism--Winter Sports

Government Decision (GD) no. 263 / 2001 and the Order of the Ministry of Tourism no. 491 / 2001 state very clearly for Romania the way in which the ski slopes and leisure ski routes are authorised, developed, maintained and used, and also the responsibilities of the ski slopes administrators for tourists' protection. We mention that the administrator of a ski slope is the person who requests the authorisation of the slope, which is done by a commission which comprises members ranging from the representatives of the administrator, to the representatives of the central tourism public authority, and also the specialised NGOs (Salvamont).

Even if the legislation is seven years old, in Romania there are only 88 authorised ski slopes in the Carpathians. It is to be noted that this happens in a country with about 33% mountain areas of the total territory. Based on the facts previously mentioned, some notable aspects have to be stated.

Thus, out of the 41 counties of Romania, 27 include in their territory mountain areas which belong to minimum one mountain massif of the Carpathian Mountains chain (Tulcea County is also included here with Macinului Mountains). Out of these only 16 have at least one authorised ski slope. It has to be noted that in Iasi County, which does not include mountain areas in the geographic and geomorphologic sense of the word and neither Salvamont units, there is an authorised ski slope, while in counties with significant mountain areas, there is not even one (e.g. Arges, Bistrita Nasaud, Dambovita, Valcea etc.). Most of the authorised ski slopes are situated in the following counties: Brasov (19 ski slopes), Prahova and Harghita (15 ski slopes in each county) and Maramures (12 ski slopes). These figures deserve to be commented as follows:

--In Brasov County there are 4 very important mountain massifs: Fagaras, Piatra Craiului (its relief and the legislation for national park do not allow for a facile winter sports slope), Bucegi and Ciucas;

--In Prahova County there are 3 mountain massifs: Bucegi, Baiului and Ciucas;

--Maramures County includes 2 mountain massifs: Maramures and Rodna (a national park and biosphera reservation);

--In Harghita County, however, there is a single more important mountain massif--Harghitei Mountains.

With all these quantitative differences in mountain massifs number and implicitly in mountain areas, it can be noted that Harghita County has the same number of authorised ski slopes as Prahova County and a greater number than Maramures County. Between these four counties and the other counties, there is a big discrepancy in the number of authorised ski slopes. In Hunedoara County, even if there are 4 very important mountain massifs (Retezat--includes a national park, Parang, Valcan, Sebes) there are only 6 ski slopes. Besides this county, there are Alba, Caras Severin and Gorj Counties, with 2 ski slopes each, and Cluj County with 3 ski slopes. …

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