Whether on holiday at home or abroad, Romanians don’t want to spend Christmas and New Year’s at home. Egypt is still their preference for winter holidays, while in Romania they choose to go to the mountains, with Poiana Brasov among the most popular mountain resorts, said Traian Bădulescu, spokesman for the National Association of Travel Agencies in Romania (ANAT), in an interview with Economedia.
“When it comes to domestic tourism, especially at Christmas, Romanians choose rural tourism. On New Year’s Eve, mountain resorts are the stars, as well as spa resorts. Romanians choose to spend their Christmas and New Year holidays in Bran, Maramures, Bucovina, Mărginimea Sibiului or Apuseni, being destinations accessible to everyone”, said Traian Bădulescu, ANAT spokesman.
In terms of mountain resorts, the highest occupancy rate is in Poiana Brasov, at 4-5 star hotels. Besides this resort, Romanians also choose Predeal, Sinaia and Bușteni as mountain destinations.
There are also Romanians who choose other resorts based on proximity. Păltiniș has started to grow in recent years because the hotels are looking better and better. Usually, during this period, resorts with ski slopes are sought after Borșa, Maramureș, Bucovina, Vatra Dornei, and in terms of spa tourism, Romanians choose Baile Felix, Baile Herculane or Sovata.
Which countries Romanians choose to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Eve
Egypt remains the main destination for Romanians during the winter holidays. Although Egypt accepts both vaccinated and unvaccinated people, on the basis of a PCR test, they should be aware that unvaccinated tourists should be quarantined on their return to Romania.
“Egypt used to be a favourite destination for Romanians, but it has risen in recent years to the top of preferences. It was a staple destination until 2011, when around 40,000-50,000 Romanian tourists went every year. After 2011 Egypt fell off and started to enter the tourism map 5 years ago, and it is still a top destination”, says Traian Bădulescu.
Most Romanians prefer 5-star, all-inclusive hotels. A New Year’s Eve in Egypt for two people starts at €1,500-2,000 for a week.
Besides Egypt, Romanians also choose ski resorts, such as those in Bulgaria, which accept tourists on the basis of a PCR test or green certificate, Italy and Austria. In the case of the latter country, tourists who have not had a booster dose will also have to present a PCR test in addition to the green certificate.
“There are warm-climate destinations that are catching on well such as Dubai, which accepts vaccinated and unvaccinated tourists. They take a PCR test at the airport. Romanians are also choosing exotic destinations operated by charter flights by travel agencies during this period, which are very popular, such as Zanzibar, the Maladives and the Dominican Republic.
Budget for Christmas and New Year’s holiday
In terms of the budget allocated by Romanians for a Christmas or New Year’s holiday, tourists allocate, on average, around 800-1,000 lei per person for hostels. On New Year’s Eve, rates start at 1,200-1,300 lei per person for three nights.
Another popular destination for New Year’s Eve is Bulgaria, where prices are slightly lower. They start from €150 per person.
“There are tourists who prefer to go in Romania for Christmas and go to a warm destination on New Year’s Eve. On average, the budget for Christmas is around 200-250 euros, and for New Year’s Eve it goes up to 400 euros per person. There are also rates of €2,000 for two people at a 5-star hotel in Poiana Brasov.
For holidays abroad, prices start at €150 in Bulgaria, €1,800-2,000 per person in Egypt and Dubai, and €1,500-2,000 per person for more distant exotic destinations. For those who want to go to the land of Santa Claus, a 4-night holiday in Lapland starts at €1,700 for adults and €1,400 for a child.
Alin Burcea, owner of Paralela45, says the budget for Christmas and New Year’s holidays always depends on the duration, type of transport, hotel chosen, and tourist services.
“For Dubai, from 600 euro/person, for exotic destinations, from 1,200-1,500 euro/person. If they bought them in advance they also benefited from the discounts that package holidays have had in recent weeks. For tours, prices ranged from 499 euro/person (Athens, 4 nights, air transport) to 1,835 euro/person (Sri Lanka tour/8 nights, air transport),” Alin Burcea told Economedia.
Recommendations for a peaceful holiday: travel insurance and correct information
Traian Bădulescu advises tourists before going on holiday to take out a cancellation insurance policy, in case health problems arise and the person concerned is unable to leave. The insurance can also refund the tourist’s money if they fall ill with COVID or lose their luggage.
“If the destination is closed, the agency can reschedule the tourist to the same destination when possible. We recommend tourists to inform themselves. Unvaccinated Romanians should know that they cannot go to destinations such as Austria, Israel, Thailand or the USA. Tourists need to inform themselves about a destination,” he says.
They can check the official information on the website of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MAE) and find out the latest details on the websites of foreign ministries in foreign countries.
“We don’t suggest tourists go on holiday to areas where they would have all sorts of difficulties. By the nature of our job we pay attention to travel conditions, local rules, check destinations, hotels, local activities they may have and propose charter packages or tour-type programs in areas where travel is possible and where tourists can have a relaxing holiday”, says Alin Burcea.
If they want to go on their own, tourists have to take care of everything from checking local conditions to finding flights, accommodation, making a program, and dealing with any problems that may arise individually in a foreign country.
The National Association of Travel Agencies in Romania (ANAT) is organized to represent and defend the employers’ and professional interests of its members, at home and abroad, to guarantee the exercise of the tourism profession and to raise the quality level of tourism activity in Romania.