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
What does it mean to be a responsible traveller?
Responsible tourism wants 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 all participants, while natural environments are protected.
It's a way of giving something back while doing something we all enjoy - travel and being hosts. It's a meaningful way for tourists to engage in authentic and local experience while being mindful of their social, economic and environmental impact on the communities and places they visit.
- think of responsible tourism as the opposite of commercial, mass-tourism, which causes significant problems in cities like Venice, Barcelona or Amsterdam, overcrowds attractions such as the Great Wall of China, Louvre Museum or Machu Pichu, and leads to unethical tourism practices (elephant rides in Thailand, intrusive visits to tribal communities in Africa, stampeding on religious sites).
Romanian Friend's mission is to support responsible tourism in Romania through tours we carefully select, review or create with our trusted & handpicked guide-partners. Using our native knowledge and local research, we make sure local communities will benefit from the financial and inclusive impact of tourism, while travellers like you enjoy a memorable and authentic experience in Romania, whether you go sightseeing, hiking or on a culinary adventure.
Here's some examples of how our tours support responsible tourism:
- the guide-partners we work with are passionate locals with lots of knowledge and connections in a particular region of Romania, natives proud of their roots who want to help their community
- all our tours include services and products from the local community: meals with regional ingredients sourced from local producers, traditional family-owned guesthouses, workshops with craftsmen from the area, etc. so tourism supports 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 parks and wonders
- you will meet real locals - townfolk, villagers, craftsmen or farmers, talk to them, hear their stories, see them at work, and you will be able to buy a hand-made and authentic souvenir without feeling pressured to do so
Our tours will take you outside of major cities and into traditional regions such as Transylvania, 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 further on to other 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: