The Romanian Carpathians
Ecotourism and nature conservation in Romania




Ecotourism and nature conservation in Romania

With the entry into the next millennium, Continental tourists become decreasingly aware of the fragility, complexity, and the estimable value of Romania. Tourism in Romania is becoming an increasingly most popular expression of the consciousness. Because of transport and travel technology development, more or less remote areas have become accessible, and this contributed to a rapid rise of eco-tourism in natural areas. Therefore it is clear that tourism development in Transylvanian natural areas, in the absence of appropriate accommodations, may present a threat to the former integrity of ecosystems and local attractions. A growing number of visitors in Romanian rural areas can lead to a protection of the environment.
Also, local landscapes and indigenous Romanian rural culture can be affected by increased influx of touristic visitors with no historic ambitions. In addition, climate conditions, ecologic stability and local conditions can make travel a responsible business, especially in mountain areas heavily dependent on the natural activity. The rise of tourism creates new opportunities for both welfare and conservation of Carpathian fauna and flora.
In response to an increased interest in knowledge of wild nature, the signals coming from the highest mountains of the world but gradually take shape of ethics of travel called ecotourism. Ecotourism in the Carpathians can provide much needed revenue not only to protect national parks and other natural areas, revenues which could never be obtained from other sources. Also, ecotourism in Romania can be a viable alternative to the economic development for cities with fewer outdoor activities. Furthermore, ecotravel can enhance awareness and education of the tourists, turning them into responsible supporters of conservation of cultural and natural environment.

Eco-tourism in Transylvania

One will share his opinion regarding the waste difference between normal tourism and eco-tourism in terms of travel: tourists in Transylvania want to experience something wild, something unaltered and natural untouched. The visitors want to see mountains and wolfes and how live bears in the deep forest when it rains. They will not be in a sledge and leave it at the attraction in Bran. They would rather go down to ride a horse or would do rafting with a raft on river Olt to reach their destination.
Indicating that one has never visited this famous place, one will use a vacation in Romania as an example to illustrate the difference: a tourist vacation in Romania is a typical week at a big hotel, a day trip by bus or by car rental to use a video camera to Dracula's castle in Bran or a shepherds farm, evening return to accommodation, where some vistors wearing shorts sip drinks at the bar the whole day, while women watch bears in a bear reserve. An ecotourist in Transylvania avoids large hotels and prefers to install his tent at the foot of a natural park or will be in a small and quiet Romanian guesthouse with a capacity of places where local guides care for family meals or he goes three days in the Danube delta to see birds.
Certainly he will be equipped with GPS and binoculars and will be happy with rather narrow and steep paths and paved roads. Ecotourists local guides prefer living in villages in the Carpathians and they can speak German and English without an accent. They know the names of at least hundreds of species of plants and birds (and of course they know how to identify them), to provide visitors mushrooms, fruits from the garden and vegetables and herbs that are used for recreational purposes, to know a lot about local Romanian history and phenomena of Transylvanian nature (what plants the bears eat, different predators, how animal behavior is affected by the summer and how it is reflected in local legends and myths). Sometimes eco-tourists do not want to hear how people's difference threatens the rural environment.