Responsible tourism in Romania
“Whenever you travel, wherever you travel, remember to respect nature, respect culture, and respect your host. You can be the change you want to see in the world. You can be an ambassador for a better future”.
- Taleb Rifai, United Nations World Tourism Organisation Secretary-General Travel.Enjoy.Respect campaign of 2017
What does it mean to be a responsible traveller?
Responsible tourism aims to create a positive interaction between visitors and local host communities so that the economic, social and cultural benefits of international travel are fairly shared among participants while the environment is protected and cared for.
It's a way of giving back while doing something we all enjoy - travel and being hosts. It is a way for tourists to engage in an authentic and meaningful experience while being considerate of the communities and places visited.
- Responsible tourism is the opposite of commercial tourism, which causes problems such as mass tourism in cities like Venice, Barcelona or Amsterdam, overcrowds attractions (Great Wall, Louvre Museum) or leads to unethical tourism practices (elephant rides in Thailand, intrusive visits to tribal communities in Africa).
Romanian Friend's mission is to support responsible tourism in Romania through our tours which we carefully select, review or create with our trusted handpicked guide-partners. Through our local selection process, we make sure that local communities will benefit from the financial and inclusive impact of your visit, while tourists have a memorable and truly local travel experience in Romania.
Here's how our tours support responsible tourism:
- we work with independent guides that have extensive local knowledge and connections in a particular area, sometimes natives, proud of their roots and who want to help their community
- our tours include services and products from small local businesses: meals or food tastings with regional ingredients or recipes, traditional guesthouses or workshops, etc. so that tourism helps the local economy
- we include visits to lesser-known attractions and sights where paying a small entrance fee helps support the maintenance cost of Romania's historic or cultural heritage, natural park and wonders
- you will meet real locals - townfolk, villagers, craftsmen, artisans or producers, talk to them, hear their stories, see them at work and be able to buy a hand-made and authentic souvenir from them
... and many others.
Our tours will take you outside of major cities and into traditional regions such as Transylvania countryside,
Maramures or Bucovina, where you will discover the fascinating cultural heritage, natural beauty and unique way of life of Romanian people.
Why do we do it?
Because many beautiful and traditional regions of Romania are underdeveloped, neglected by the government and local authorities and provide few economic opportunities for younger generations in search for a better life. Since the early 2000s there has been a continuous migration from villages to major cities in Romania or countries in Europe.
Meanwhile, elders are left behind in villages and small communities to preserve customs, crafts and the traditional Romanian way of life. If younger generations don't see a future in these areas, Romania risks loosing a valuable part of its culture, history and legacy. Responsible tourism is our way of fighting back against this downfall by giving people new economic opportunities through tourism.
At the same time, visitors will have a genuine experience of Romanain local life, beauty and culture. The biggest reason why you should visit Romania is to see the countryside anyway.
So this is our mission and we hope you will help us by choosing to book a tour with Romanian Friend! Here are our favourite choices for responsible tours in Romania and a couple of pictures so you can see what responsible tourism looks like: