Ştefan Ţîmţ, entrepreneur: "Poiana Braşov is a tourist resort, not a neighborhood of Braşov and that is why it must be promoted"

GEORGE MARINESCU
English Section / 29 ianuarie

Mr. Ştefan Şînt also expressed his dissatisfaction with the expansion of the ski area in Poiana Braşov, an expansion that should have been carried out by now, based on a pre-feasibility study drawn up several years ago by a large foreign company, who prepared such studies for several ski areas in the Alps and even for the ski area that was used in the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, being the first edition held in Asia this competition. (Source of photos from the gallery: facebook/ Braşov City Hall)

Mr. Ştefan Şînt also expressed his dissatisfaction with the expansion of the ski area in Poiana Braşov, an expansion that should have been carried out by now, based on a pre-feasibility study drawn up several years ago by a large foreign company, who prepared such studies for several ski areas in the Alps and even for the ski area that was used in the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, being the first edition held in Asia this competition. (Source of photos from the gallery: facebook/ Braşov City Hall)


Versiunea în limba română

The national and local authorities do not seem willing to invest in tourism promotion, even if at the declarative level they claim that tourism is an important part of the national economy and even if they have approved several normative acts for the development of the respective sector, including the law that amended the establishment and operation of destination management organizations - the so-called OMDs -, says Ştefan Ţînţ, one of the entrepreneurs active in this field, owner of the Teleferic Grand Hotel in Poiana Braşov.

The fact that the penultimate Minister of Tourism - the liberal Daniel Cadariu - invested only in the promotion of his native Bucovina, that he allocated only one million euros per year for the promotion of all tourist areas in our country, while other states allocate tens or hundreds of millions of euros, and that the current Minister of Tourism - Radu Oprea - who simultaneously holds the position of Minister of Economy and Entrepreneurship seems more concerned with the development of other economic branches, deeply displeases the economic operators in this sector of activity.

On top of this state of affairs was also the indifference of the local authorities, who became deaf to the requests of tourism and HoReCa entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs who want a small part of the taxes and fees paid to the administrative-territorial units to be allocated by the local councils or counties for the promotion of tourist areas or destinations.

Poiana Braşov is unfortunately among the tourist destinations that do not benefit from any leu from the national, county or local budget for promotion.

Ştefan Ţînţ told the BURSA newspaper: "In order for any amount to be allocated for promotion, it is necessary for the local authorities to understand that we operate in a resort. Poiana Braşov is a tourist resort, not a neighborhood of Braşov and that is why it must be promoted. We are not asking for much, but we want 20% or at least 10% of the taxes and fees we pay annually to the local budget to go back to the tourist promotion of the resort. If the City Hall or the County Council are not able or do not know how to do such a tourist promotion, give us the money because we know how to do it. Look at the numbers: tourism is being promoted for the municipality of Braşov, and last year the authorities boasted that more than 670,000 tourists were in the city, but no one asks how many of them came or slept at least one night in Poiana Braşov. I want to promote this resort and I believe that Poiana Braşov can only be promoted by organizing several alpine skiing competitions. But I can't do this alone, because organizing a competition, even if only for juniors and children, means high costs, which also include those of promoting the competition and the whole resort".

Mr. Ţînţ also expressed his dissatisfaction with the expansion of the ski area in Poiana Braşov, an expansion that should have been carried out by now, based on a pre-feasibility study drawn up several years ago by a large company from abroad, which has prepared such studies for several ski areas in the Alps and even for the ski area that was used at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, the first Asian edition of this competitions.

Ştefan Ţînţ specified: "The entrepreneurs from Poiana Braşov invested 75,000 euros for the respective study for the expansion of the ski area, and after it was drawn up, the authorities had to find a company that would deal with the implementation of what was written in the feasibility study, which was submitted to the local authorities in Braşov in 2019. Unfortunately, things remained at the stage of 2019. All kinds of reasons were found for postponing its realization, including that the sun would be present for too many hours per day on a portion of one of the slopes that were to be built. I remind you that the respective study was not carried out by us, but by one of the largest companies in the world, which did not prepare the study from offices abroad, but sent its engineers to the field, to Poiana Braşov to see what it's about what we want to do, what area we're talking about, and only then did they draw up the study that was based on all the necessary data, including those regarding the climate in that area. I think it is either a total lack of interest on the part of the local authorities, or incompetence. I wouldn't call it stupidity, because I don't think that stupidity doesn't lead to the right thing. Rather disinterest or incompetence".

Asked what further steps have been taken in this regard by the owners' association from Poiana Braşov, whose purpose is tourist promotion of the resort, Mr. Ţînţ did not give us any answer, but he told us that he is no longer a member of that organization, because his vision about the tourist promotion of the resort differs from that of most members of the association.

Regarding the establishment of a destination management organization, the entrepreneur from Poiana Braşov told us that such an organization cannot only look at the resort, but one would be necessary for the entire area - as is the one established on the coast - and stated that, for now, the OMD expected to be achieved in Braşov seems to focus on the tourism promotion of the city of Braşov and the Râşnov citadel.

"Under these conditions, tourists' interest in Poiana Braşov decreases and children's interest in alpine skiing in this area also decreases, even if I and others like me try to keep that interest alive", said Ştefan Ţînţ, who added an example regarding the decline of this interest: "At one of the previous editions of the Teleferic Cup in alpine skiing, I wanted to take 12 of the juniors awarded in the competition to do a training internship in the Alps, at the alpine skiing school of the brother of the famous Austrian skier Benjamin Raich, who was world and olympic champion. All the travel, which cost 18,000 euros, was borne by me. Do you know how many children showed up in the Teleferic Grand Hotel parking lot on the day of departure? 6 out of 12, even though they had all their expenses paid for by me. And that says a lot."

However, Mr. Ţînţ and some of the other patrons of Poiana Braşov are not going to give up, and an example of this was the organization of the sixth edition of the Teleferic Alpine Ski Cup in the middle of last week, where skiers aged up to 12 and the Under 14 and Under 16 from ski clubs in our country competed in the slalom and giant slalom competitions, the winners receiving points in the ranking of the Romanian Ski and Biathlon Federation, apart from prizes in money provided by the organizers.

According to the data of the National Tourism Office of Austria, over 200,000 Romanians choose to ski in that country every year, due to the poorly developed ski infrastructure in Romania. At an average price of 1,000 euros, the holiday budget for Austria is close to 200 million euros, money that leaves our country every winter. According to the data of the Ministry of Economy, Entrepreneurship and Tourism, the skiing area in Romania consists of 189 homologated slopes, which have a total length of 164 kilometers. Of these, only 55 slopes are over one kilometer long, two slopes are over three kilometers long and only one is over 4 kilometers long. Practically, the entire ski area in Romania is the same as that of a single ski resort in Austria or France. For example, in a resort in France it has 180 kilometers of slopes, where more than 100 snow cannons work (compared to only the 16 existing in Poiana Braşov) and 50 cable transport facilities (compared to the 2 in Poiana Braşov).

Unfortunately, in many areas of the country, tourism only survives through the involvement of entrepreneurs, whom the state, although it does not even help in terms of promoting tourist destinations, permanently overtaxes them as it did last year when the Government assumed the law in Parliament 296/2023 which introduced new taxes in the Fiscal Code and increased some of the previously existing taxes.

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