Tourism potential in historic towns: Romanian case studies

As one of the most important activities in historic towns, cultural tourism started to be well-known in Romanian areas especially after joining the European Union in 2007. An explosion of regional projects has taken place under the umbrella of both European and local funds, tourism being a main direction of development, while restoration and enhancement of cultural heritage are subordinated to it. In many cases, rehabilitation projects in historic centers begin with the unmistakable desire to refocus the whole economy if possible, towards the great promises made by the tourism profits. Although it may seem a very profitable affair, contradictory aspects do not wait too long to appear in this relationship between the increasing tourism activity and the cultural values of historic towns. First steps in this direction are often made right from the beginning, their origin consisting mainly in the erroneous assessment of the tourism potential of a destination. A correct assessment is therefore necessary for planning a correct and balanced development. Tourism potential in historic towns means more than creating and promoting a large database of ‘must see’ objectives, but it should also mean assessing their capacity to cope with the negative impacts of the tourism. Two case studies for historic towns from Romania will be used to illustrate why tourism potential should be set from the very beginning in a well-balanced manner, taking into account the idea that an overdeveloped tourism activity cannot be supported by the destination, both built heritage and community lifestyle. Read more

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