Tourism is one of the most important fields that can help recovering all the national economies in the countries with significant natural and anthropogenic resources. According to the global statistics, it can be noticed that every year the touristic product is permanently requested, by a growing number of people from all over the world, even if the conjuncture is not a positive one at a local, regional or even global scale. Even if the economic crisis affected all the sectors, including the tourism, the conclusion is that the tourist market has a growing share in the global market, the competitiveness and development strategies being the key of success. The World Tourism Organization is expecting a growth in the number of the incoming tourists, the prediction for 2010 and 2020 being extremely positive. According to the "Tourism 2020 Vision" report, the incoming tourist number at international level are expected to reach 1,6 billions by 2020, and the majority will visit Europe, Asia-Pacific area and America (see Table 1). In the "new economy", the tourism is the most dynamic activity sector, the most important generator of jobs and, therewith, the main source of the national economies recovery, this contributing to: external balance of payments, increase of demand in the production domain, diversification of local industry, reduce imbalances in some regions, reduce unemployment rate, increase of population revenues and Gross Domestic Product.
Up to 2015 it is foreseen the implementation of 400 projects in tourism infrastructure, the direct or indirect support of 350 tourism firms, the displaying at least 10 promotional campaigns of the tourist brand at a national and international level and the foundation of 10 national centers for tourism promotion and information, ending with creation of 1,000 new jobs.
This paper approaches the following problems: the competitive level of the tourism industry in Romania at the time being: the main challenges that the tourism sector in Romania has to face, and the long term development strategy of the hospitality industry in Romania.
Key conditions of competitivity in tourism
A competitive destination is able to provide a higher profitability than the average, with the lowest social costs and without damaging the environment and available resources.
In Porter's vision, tourism development strategies can ensure the success of certain touristic destinations, but the starting point for the development of strategies is to identify the determinants of competitiveness (Porter 1990). These determinants are explained and shown in Table 2.
From another standpoint, the services competitiveness lays in the ability of a nation, in our case--Romania, to generate a relative increase in service revenues and in occupancy rates, in service activities and in terms of their exposure to regional or international competition. The evaluation of competitiveness in services can be achieved on two main levels of analysis:
1) throughout the economy by measuring the overall economic performance, using indicators as GDP per capita, the distribution of added value and labor productivity estimates, which show the extent to which providers are effective in organizing the staff, a number of indicators in this category provide information about aspects of industrial performance and competitiveness. For example, these indicators can be labor productivity and costs per unit of labor;
2) throughout the international transactions, to identify how the service activities compete on the international market or face foreign competition in the local market through indicators such as, export market share, export structure, revealed comparative advantage index (Eschenbach, Hoekman 2006).
Although participation in the GATS and the acceptance of provisions concerning the European Agreement have created a favorable environment for opening the Romanian service sector and for stimulating its internationalization, Romania still faces problems in the economy adjustment process from the predominantly industrial model to the modern economic structures. …