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More than 4 million foreign tourists visited Romania in the first seven months of this year, over 12 per cent more than visited the country in the same period in 2011.
Recent promotional campaigns have helped Romania to improve its image as a tourist destination, and the number of foreign tourists increased significantly in 2012, according to official data.
The number of tourists registered from January to July for arrivals and overnight stays increased by 12.6 per cent compared with the same period last year.
There were 4.1 million arrivals and 10 million overnight stays, the National Statistics Institute, INS, announced.
Hungary was responsible for the highest proportion of foreign tourists, accounting for 33.5 per cent of international visitors. Bulgaria accounted for 20.2 per cent, while Germany, Italy and Poland accounted for around 10 per cent each.
Romanians working in the sector have welcomed the news but say that more could be done to boost the industry.
“The campaigns to promote the country have contributed to a rise in numbers of foreigners coming here. But Romania still lacks a clear strategy to become a tourist destination,” Petre Ionescu, the owner of a hotel chain, said.
Last June, the Tourism Ministry started to promote tourism by airing commercials on CNN, Euronews and Eurosport TV channels. The campaign cost 5 million euro, and the money all came from European funds.
The commercials aimed to improve Romania’s image as a tourist destination, "underlying Romania’s values, its resources and unspoiled nature, cultural heritage and the country’s authenticity”, according to the Tourism Ministry.
These efforts are sorely needed, as Romania still lags behind its Eastern European neighbours in this sector.
In 2010, Romania welcomed around 5 million foreign tourists, compared with more than 6 million who went to Bulgaria and around 9.5 million who visited Hungary.
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