DOR fusions with SAUDADES as Brazilian Actress Jacqueline Novak is in love with Romania.

13282697_1059722444073647_1070623863_oActress Jacqueline Novak from Brazil visited  Romania last year and fell in love with Romanian culture, Romanian villages and the traditional Romanian IE – the Romanian blouse.

This year she came back and we decided to make a promotional film of a Romanian village for Brazil, says Corneliu Tepelus, Romanian film director, writer and tour guide. He continues : The village where we filmed is called Voslobeni in Harghita county: This village will be the first Romanian village officially promoted in Brazil.  Romanian press was interested in Jacqueline and her story and she gave an interview for a news site and she became an instant personality:

O braziliancă promovează Transilvania la Rio! ”Într-o lume care şi-a pierdut sufletul, satele româneşti sunt o oază de lumină” | Ştiri, Ştiri interne, Ultima oră |


Corneliu explains further : Jacqueline talks about life in the village, traditions and customs. She will be back in Romania next year. Our film is in Brazil now where Jacqueline is presenting Romanian culture at film festivals and different other events. 

Here is a funny material of the: Making of – The wild side of Romania / Discover Transylvania

This is a collaboration between : Curitiba city, Parana province, Brazil and                        

Voslobeni – Harghita, Romania

Blouse :

Filmproducer :

Told by Corneliu Tepelus for The Bucharest Lounge.

Bucharest is a survivor. She should be protected, loved and respected. Let’s give her a chance to unveil her beauties.

Interview with Ana Adamoae from Ana’s Guided Tours to Bucharest.


We are talking about branding Bucharest as a European capital. Here are some questions that I am curious to hear your answers to. 

  1. What is the identity of Bucharest ?  

It’s very hard to pick one identity forBucharest, as its history is so complex and complicated, and so many different influences can be spotted throughout its quarters. Bucharest is a mix of Oriental and Western flavours and features, specific to a city that stands for centuries at the crossroads of these two worlds. I’d called it a beautiful mozaique.

Photos : Ana Adamoae

2. If Bucharest was a human being, how would you describe he/she ?

I always think of Bucharest as being a lady, despite the fact that Bucuresti has a male resonance in Romanian. For me, Bucharest is lady born in a noble family, very elegant and smart witted, whose destiny was not so fortunate and brought upon her a series of tragic events. During her worst years, this lady lost her fortune, and moreover was forced to live as a Cinderella.  But once more, she managed to overcome all her downsides and now she’s recovering from of her former glory.

3. What is it that you miss when you are not in Bucharest ?

So far I was not away from Bucharest more than a couple of days, so I didn’t experience the home sick.

I suppose I’d miss my long strolls along the historical hidden streets of the city.

4. Which are the 5 five best cafes and restaurants in Bucharest where YOU like to go to ?

It’s not an easy job to choose the best 5 cafes and restaurants, as I have so many favourite spots around the city.

The places I go quite often are, randomly put as making a top is very hard, Primus Pub, Manuc’s Restaurant, Gradina OAR, City Grill Primaverii and Infinitea.   

5. Which restaurants have the best traditional food and best ambiance ? 

If I have to recommend a Romanian traditional restaurant, this would be Manuc’s Restaurant.

6. Which are the museums that you would take traveler to Bucharest ?

My favourite museums in Bucharest, always included in my tours, are the former Royal Palace today the National Art Museum, Cotroceni Palace, Casa Melik (the oldest private house still standing in Bucharest), The Village Museum and, close to the city, Mogosoaia Palace.

7. Which stories would you share about Bucharest ?

There are thousands of stories that should be told about Bucharest, and I know only a small part 😊. I usually tell everybody one I consider to be essential for understanding the city.

Bucharest is anything but a regular European Capital, whose history and past are relatively easy to be unfold by foreigners. Sometimes even Romanians misjudge it and label Bucharest wrongly as being ugly and noisy and not worth to visit.

But once you learn that it was torn apart over and over again during the centuries either by human beings, or natural disasters you’ll understand it is a survivor. And survivors should be respected, loved and, most of all, protected. Therefore, we all should give this city a chance to unveil its beauties.

8. Which festivals  / events do YOU like best in Bucharest ? 

My favourite festival is Bucharest International Theatre Festival B-FIT, as they succeed in bringing here some amazing theatre companies specialized in street performances from different corners of Europe. Bucharest still lacks urban events and street perfomances are not something common. And I also like every cultural event about Bucharest’s history.

9. What is your favourite summer Saturday in Bucharest ? 

Hmm, tough question. Whenever I have an afternoon off, no necessarily on a Saturday, I like to explore old Bucharest. I pick a quarter and stroll until my feet hurt 😊 I admire the old beautiful houses trying to guess their architectural style and also their history. I take photis and most of them are posted on my Facebook page.

10. Who are some charismatic Bucharest people you know ?

I don’t know famous or charismatic people, but I am lucky to have friends which love Bucharest. And I also follow on Facebook and Instagram several young people who do their best to show the world that our Bucharest is a charming city.

Destination Branding and Quality Tourism in Romania.

Quality Tourism is alfa omega for Romania when promoting itself.

“ Romania always welcomes us with warmth “ , says Mr. Taleb Rifai, Secretary General of World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) as I talk to him about the rebranding of Romania at the International Conference on Integrated Quality Management in Tourism Destinations,  organised by Autoritatea Națională pentru Turism and UNTWO.

When measuring success there are tangible and non tangible goals that we can look at. The human connection comes under those non- tangible goals that are full-filled, when traveling through Romania.

Quality comes with the individual’s experience of the five senses , what brings us together as human beings. Spending time in nature, eating wonderful food, music and dance, culture, history and so forth.

I agree with Mr. Taleb Rifai.  The warm people I met in Romania are the ones who made the difference for my experience about Romania, and how this country’s soul just embraced my heart.  The people I met took me to places and had me experience quality in all levels. I thank them for that. They also made me share beautiful and meaningful stories about Romania and the Romanians on all my social media channels,  and in this way I promote Romania abroad, together with the ‘ambassadors’, the friends,  of my page. We are nearly 19 000 at the moment.

Here are some keys about quality tourism and destination branding when it comes to preparing a campaign for an event, a place – or even a country, such as Romania.

Ask yourself, if you are an tourism organiser, this key question:

  • Which are the stories that you wish for the tourist/visitor/traveler to share when visiting your place or participating in your event ?

The answer to that is the answer to how to prepare and carry out your activities and campaigns.

Let  me exemplify it. 

In Visina, Dobrogea has my, now dear friend Bianca  her renovated Dobrogean house. Everything is thought through, both the interior that is traditional , and the exterior with a garden full of food and flowers. It’s like coming to the garden of Eden. I feel like becoming a poet when visiting her place ! 

When I arrive there, I am met by a smiling Bianca,  who really put her soul into looking after the guests. I am meet by Radita who cooks the food and of course the food is locally grown, in the garden , and fish caught in the Delta, presented in a fabulous way in the patio. Bianca tells us the stories with enthusiasm and often through the handmade embroidered  items she made.  All is beautiful wherever we look.   

We feel good there.  We wish to come back !

Here comes the story-telling and the marketing made  2016.

The  quality place branding and marketing of Bianca’s place comes when you and I share our stories from there : or pictures from her place and when we tell our friends, on all our social media channels,  how well we were received , how tasty and healthy the natural food was , how serene and unique the landscape around the Delta is , how happy we were that Bianca had arranged for the guided tour, how happy our kids were when getting to milk the cow – just as Radita does it every day , and how fantastic it was to drink a glass of local Dobrogean wine in the evening, listening to the sounds  of the animals living in the Delta. 


That is quality tourism and quality destination branding. That is how Romania needs to promote itself on all levels in order to change the image abroad about Romania, in order to WOW people and make people curious  and making the step to actually book a ticket to Romania and come and visit.

Whatever sector within  tourism it is, be it food, churches, adventure sports, history, mountains, traditions and so forth,  we need to think quality on all levels, so that the experience  in Romania will be 100% positive !

Yes indeed, we want WOW the traveler coming to visit Romania. We want to WOW them, so they want to come back. We want WOW them so that their friends also wish to come and visit.

Compare that to when things don’t work.

Compare it to a sour, grumpy , non-service minded person receiving us, food that is not local ( it’s Romania and there is an abundance of fantastic food ! ) and not presented with all the hostess heart, being offered a non-local wine and an international ( non Romanian ) breakfast.  Compare it to meeting a person, working in tourism, but being non-solution minded.  Compare it to meeting ‘plastic fantastic’ at the souvenir stand instead of quality ceramics from Horezu for example. 

We need to maximise every micro-moment that the tourist has in Romania ! Many micro moments build up to one full experience ! Micro moments are also those moments when the traveler share on social media “ Wow, Bianca is so friendly and I wish to stay forever in Visina” or “ Gee, what a bummer , only plastic souvenirs outside the medieval church “ .

It needs to be a 360 degree, full on  quality  experience !  Oh, when we talk about sharing stories on the net. Don’t underestimate the importance of having well functioning wifi at your place ! A hotel / pension with poor wifi needs to think again.

Both stories can happen on social media , where people are and share experiences.

The mobile phone is a  game changer in most sectors and this , what I just described, is the internet of the tourism sector. The customers are empowered. Mr. Taleb Rifai is  saying that “people are more important than governments”. 

Small is the new big.  The younger segment of travelers don’t want to sit in a bus with 40 people being taken from place to place. No. Tourism is becoming more and more niched and personalized. 

I strongly believe in the possibility that the net gives us, when it comes to democratisation processes and giving people more insight and quickly organise ourselves for better causes.  This goes with tourism too.  A place, a destination, a country can, very fast,  ‘ go viral’ and become interesting due to social media.

It’s time for Romania now to show, unified, the world what this amazing country is all about !

The last words from Mr. Taleb Rifai captures the power of traveling. He  said  that “the more people travel, the better the world becomes. “

Swedish Artist Malin Skinnar : “As usual, in Romania, miraculous things happen”.

Malin Skinnar – A Swedish singing, digital Nomad


Malin, we are curious to find out more about you. Could you please tell us what brought you to Romania ? 

I am a digital nomad who depicts folklore through my iPhone and via YouTube. I have my studio and atelier in a camper van and I tell the stories of different countries by their folk songs.

My vision is to travel around Romania and make a book about the women’s songs and about the self sustainable people. Romania has a richness when it comes to village life and traditional lifestyles still kept in use. Those are things that I find unique for Romania and  desirable for us in Sweden. I dearly wish to depict that and tell the stories from Romania.

I always travel with the help of my friendly network on Facebook and I am always met by kind and hospitable village people. I often get the question if I am not scared to travel alone.

No, I am not.  Friendliness and hospitality are extensive all over the world and in Romania it was omnipresent.

I was embraced, guided and welcomed as if I was a niece, the child of a cousin or a dear, old friend.  Multumesc, Romania !

Romania always pulled me. The folklore is strong and multi-facetted there. Romania is the core of Europe and has been crossed by historical epochs, cultures, people, throughout history, but in Sweden we hardly know anything about Romania.

I had heard about special, ancient  songs from Romania as I was making a book in neighbouring Bulgaria. I did an art book about Bulgarian women’s songs called : “Att klä sig i ett folks andedräkt”. 

I came to Bucharest without knowing anyone, but became friends with some people through a course I assisted, called “ The Liberated Voice”. By accident I found a STAR-video of a young girl from Cluj singing  a folksong.

The song was magical and captivating and I took the train north and played the video to everyone I met. At the end, the tunes could be tracked to Maramures and by a miracle I found the singer, who was now an adult. She is  fantastic Livia Neag. 


As usual, in Romania, miraculous things happen and the day after I happened to sing with an old woman from the village Ungureni, Ana Buda and she recognised the song from You Tube ! Doamna Ana Burda had taught Livia Neag about Lapus old treasures : the songs. 


Watch Livia Neag  as she sings for Malin.

It is to this area that I returned to sing and to paint the next book. Through my presence on Facebook I have now invitations from many villages  where people wish for me to come and depict their story .

I noticed that every village in Romania had their special traits and the authentic songs  have their special place in the every day lives of the villagers.

As a folklore story-teller it is the variation of culture that makes a bridge  where there is usually national borders.

The human being and her songs, clothes, traditional costumes, language and every day life have similarities everywhere you go in the world.

All of us were born, need to survive and will one day die. In between there is joy, challenges , celebrations, hope, belief.  All our cultural expressions are like a human cape that embrace us. We carry a heritage with us, despite politics and national borders. The songs are  like an archaeological finding and consists of non tangible  values that can only be felt in our hearts.

The digital life we have today, with Facebook and YouTube ,makes the description of the lives of people pretty unique. I found a beautiful, old woman,  in Maramures and I sat down with her and we sang together. I  shared the film on Facebook and all of a sudden  I was in contact with 15 of her grandchildren on FB, and they helped me with translations , explanations, connected  me with neighbours, other villages and sent me links with things they though I should do in the area  !

We would like to be inspired by your other adventures. Where did you go and what did you do ? 

I have travelled almost all my life. I am a story-teller and an artist and started early at a radio station in Sweden where music production was my field.  Through music I found throat chanting and drum dance  from the Arctic and I went to Greenland and hitch-hiked with fishermen. I   also depicted  hip-hopers and hard rockers in the small villages, between the mountains. Then I joined their grandparents for hunting and learnt all about their old traditions.

At home, in Sweden, I started an  exhibition and  I went out on a tour with it, for 8 years. A tour with  poetry and photographs. Between the year 1992-1998   I told  43 000 children and adults  about the Arctic.  I made 11 trips to Greenland and I have paddle in between ice bergs, met polar bears and crashed into a whale !

Could you describe a day or two in the camper van ? 

In Sweden I use a motto: ” Liten yta stor rymd ”  which could be translated to ” Small surface – big space” .

I left behind a beautiful house with an atelier, in the countryside, to move into the camper van. I gave away and sold almost all  that I owned, except for  an iPad,  an iPhone and  hiking shoes. I own a camper van with a solar panel. In my home I have made an atelier and studio where I paint art books. At the moment I am painting a book for a vocal quartet that collected nursery rhymes from all over  the world.  The book shall be finished soon so my whole car is full of sketches. Last week I finished a Finnish songbook for a folk singer who wanted my illustrations for a book that comes with a CD.  I am always on the look out to be able to find ways to tell the stories of people.

What do you say if I say passion ?

 – To make borders into bridges.

 – The human being on earth and singing.

I love sitting with old women who wear head scarves and be in their kitchen and sing. Last year I sat in Senegal with muslim women and they taught me old Mandinka songs from the 14th century. In between prayers they burst into laughter, danced and talked.

What do you say if I say dreams? 

– To use my gift to connect people on earth.

–  My curiosity to tell stories and my trust to travel to places on earth I didn’t even knew existed.

– To continue with story telling through songs, films, drawings, paintings and words.

– That Europe continues to open borders and collaborate.  That excluding nationalism will never gain power again because no one goes out as a winner. Only regimes. Not the individual families. People need each other. We are all of the same kind.

What do you say if I say courage ?  

To trust one’s intuition demands a certain degree of courage. To be courageous doesn’t mean one has no fear. It is about how one values the time one  has, here on earth – and how to treat one’s neighbour.

I trust individuals. It doesn’t mean that I am not attentive. It means that I am open and flexible towards  the situation that I am in.

Which are the meetings/ events that made the biggest impact on you while traveling in Romania?

Oh, all the meetings with people. There is a fundamental sense of friendliness and hospitality everywhere. I always get surprised on how much help I get and how curious everyone is  and how much they want to show me their world !

I am moved almost every hour. 

One dazing day of luck and joy  was when  I sat with the women and sang in Ungureni. Their incredible traditional  clothing, their scarves, their beautiful and strong hands resting in their laps , was like  being in a fairytale.

When they sang I cried.

I had asked to hear laments , it is a tradition we forgot about in Sweden.

They sang so all of us cried. Afterwards we all ate sasuages, apples and drank horinca.  

– And we laughed.

I had been sad for a long period of time, for personal reasons, but all sadness disappeared in Ungureni. The laughter stays in my soul. Ungureni is the world’s most beautiful village.

Watch : Malin in Maramures


What are the things that we, in western Europe , could learn from the Romanians? 

First of all the hospitality, that is pretty amazing. Secondly, the expressions of the cultural richness that can be found in Romania, via the multi cultural tracks of people who walked the Romania plains and mountains throughout history. The ambiance of the dances, the songs, the stories, the craftsmanship and the traditional clothing.

What do you consider are the unlocked potentials in Romania? 

To arrive to those villages where eco-farming and selfsustainability goes hand in hand.  There, people knows all that is to know, what it means to be a human being. This is desirable and unique for everyone in Europe.

All Swedes should go to summer camps to the Romanian villages to learn how to live.

The beauty of the whole country is unique. The cities are exciting to visit, the villages wonderful. The wilderness incomparable !

What is your impressions about the creative, artistic environment in Romania ? 

In Romania nobody gives up. Everyone struggles and fight. Everyone is connected to everyone. Nobody takes anything for granted, so culture has ambassadors everywhere. 

Anything else you wish to add …?

Thank you to everyone who welcomes me in Romania. Thank you to the mountains , the rivers, the forests, the fields. Thank you  for your songs, treasures and fairytales.

Thank you !

Viscri – Where village life and entrepreneurship make a perfect match.

The gentleness of the Romanian village.

This is in Viscri, Transylvania. I would like to stay here.  The Romanian villages, as such, have huge potential when it comes to conscious & sustainable, niched, small scale tourism, eco-tourism and rural tourism.

In Viscri We are met with hospitality, a homemade drink, a smile, stories, calm, a green lush landscape, traditions kept alive. We connect in our humanity and it’s good to be in the Romanian countryside.

Viscri is only one of the Saxon villages of Transylvania. Of course, is a special one, due to his great fortified church which is part of UNESCO World Heritage ( Info  : Viscri info/     


The freedom I feel in the Romanian countryside is completely embracing me. The village is prosperous because people collaborate and became entrepreneurs. Now they promote village life and can live by it. Well done ! My compliments  to the Mihai Eminescu Trust. Read their full story here : The Viscri Success Story

Viscri has 500 inhabitants, of  which only about 27 are Saxons.

The foundation is patroned by The Prince of Wales.

The work of the foundation  not only covers the village of Viscri, but many other Saxon villages in Transylvania such as Crit, Mesendorf, Malancrav, Saschiz.

The village is located 40 km from  Sighisoara (40km). You have to quit the main road (DN13/E60) in Bunesti, and then a paved road will bring you here (8km).

You will not regret it !


Interview with National Guide Camelia  Adriana  Roşu

Camelia Adriana Rosu was our guide for 4 days as we travelled in Transylvania,  a group of journalists from Belgium, Israel, Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden and USA.

We had all participated in the International Conference on Integrated Quality Management in Tourism Destinations,  organised by Autoritatea Națională pentru Turism and UNWTO.

I was curious to hear what Camelia’s  own favourites are and where she would go if travelling herself in her native Romania.

Here is what she said.

She would start in Constanta, at the National History and Archeology Museum, to see the mosaics and to learn more about the history of this area where east meets west.



She would also have a walk and appreciate the Casino, by the seaside.

Photo:  Constanta City Walking Guide

Afterwards she would embark upon a journey to visit the monasteries in Bucovina, especially the Voronet’s Monastery. 



Following the culturally rich Bucovina she would head towards Maramures and experience the soulful villages and traditions.

Here is a fantastic selection of photos from Maramures taken by photographer Gabriel Motica

Cameila is fond of the spas and natural treatments in Romania and she would definitely spend some time in  Herculane. 



After Herculane she would go to the Olt Valley, to Orsova , by the Danube river.  



Later she would see the fantastic houses in Cula.



She would end the trip in Bucharest where she would enjoy spending time at the Village Museum and the Herastrau Park.

She would go to the Old Town and sit down by the Villacross Passage.

She would see the church in Franceza Street and then wrap up the itinerary at the museum Hanul cu Tei.

Thank you Camelia for being a fantastic guide for 4 days !


You were very informative, flexible and friendly !

Mogosoaia – A Brâncoveanu Legacy

I am always inspired by people who leaves eternal legacies.  They ignite a thought in me : What will be my legacy ?

Brâncoveanu did indeed leave a legacy. He is now a Romanian Saint after being a martyr in Constantinople. He also commenced an architectural style which is now referred to as the Romanian Renaissance style or simply the Brâncovenesc style.

Mogoșoaia Palace, or Palatul Mogoșoaia, as it is called in Romanian, is to be found about 10 kilometres from Bucharest in  Romania.

The palace was named  after the widow of the Romanian boyar Mogoș, who owned the land.

In 1714 Constantin Brancoveanu was executed with his entire family in Constantinopole, after refusing to convert to Islam.

The Palace is now a beautiful tourist destination, with symmetrical gardens and open spaces.  I especially loved the magical rose garden  !

The palace houses a museum and  an art gallery, Muzeul de Artă Brâncovenească.

The neo-Romanian style was born from the style of the monasteries, of the houses and of the palaces of Brâncoveanu and it became, through Ion Mincu and his school, the national style at the time of the affirmation of the cultural identities of the nations of Europe in the beginning of the 20th century.

The architectural Brâncovenesc style is found in the churches of the Monasteries of Hurezi, Râmnicu Sarat, Doicesti and Saint George’s New Church in Bucharest. Among secular buildings, the style can be found in Mogosoaia palace and the reworked Old Court. ( Wikipedia) .

Peace and harmony is what I feel when I visit the Mogosoaia Palace, outside Bucharest.

I was a bit stressed out before arriving in Romania. Coming to Mogosoaia made my heart calm again
Romania has many places like these. Places that soothe our souls.

Traveler’s who come to Mogosoaia  are enthusiastic about Mogosoaia :

Brasov – a Transylvanian treasure

A trip to Brasov starts for me already in Bucharest. Imagine leaving the big and buzzing Bucharest for the majestic  mountains. Already when  driving on the enormous Magheru Boulevard, heading north, I start to feel excited !  After having left Bucharest behind, you get onto smaller roads and you can see people selling their produce from their own gardens,  along the road. The season decides what you will find at their stands. I have bought eggs, potatoes, onions, honey, bors , melons and much more.


It is a fantastic feeling driving on the road and bit by bit seeing the Carpathian Mountains approaching you with its greenery, mountain peaks and – stories. The Carpathian Mountains hold uncountable stories of the people living there and passing by.

Brasov itself is an absolutely beautiful Transylvanian treasure !  The town is not big and the city centre is inviting you with a big square with ornamented, pastel coloured houses,  the clock tower , and a bit further away, the  Black Church.

When I was in Brasov  the weather was sunny and I could enjoy the  market at the square. I particularly   like to see the handmade table cloths and blouses, hand painted eggs , handmade jewellery, the  honey, zacusca, pollen crud, the jams and hrean.

I don’t appreciate plastic beach things at Transylvanian markets. I think that those who are responsible for markets need to think again.

Which stories do we want the travellers to share ?

Whatever sector within  tourism it is, be it food, adventure sports, history, mountains, traditions and so forth,  we need to think quality on all levels, so that the experience  in Romania will be 100% positive ! We want to WOW the traveler coming to visit Romania. We want to WOW them, so they want to come back. We want WOW them so that their friends also wish to come and visit. We need to maximise every micro-moment that the tourist has in Romania ! Many micro moments build up to one full experience !

Micro moments are also those moments when the traveler share their experiences on social media. Do we wish for them to share bad examples of plastic beach stuff or do we wish for them to share when they bought an authentic IA , handmade tablecloth or homemade jam ? The answer is simple, but the actions need to come from those in charge of those markets. 

We were very lucky this day, as the previous day was the Universal Day of the IA ( Romanian Blouse) we found a small, traditional fair taking place close to the city square.

I bought two rings of which one had the motif of the Guiding Star / The Northern Star, a symbol which we can find in many places especially on the European. It is a symbol that carries the stories of our ancestors who migrated on the European continent. It is a symbol for me, on how we are connected in our humanity, as people.

We were loosing ourselves in admiring the story of the IA and its symbols. We talked to crafts women who made jewellery and listened to their stories. We enjoyed seeing the traditional Transylvanian flower motifs on wooden items and we almost couldn’t leave from there. We connected through this authentic experience.

It was unique and could not be found anywhere else than there and then.

In Brasov, Transylvania, Romania.



Rebranding Romania and branding Bucharest with the courage of Stefan cel Mare and the elegancy of Mihai Eminescu

img_7590Today’s article in Republica is about the rebranding of Romania and the branding of Bucharest.

In Romanian :

In English :

Tourism is on the agenda in Bucharest , this week,  as The Romanian National Authority of Tourism is hosting the International Conference : “ INTEGRATED QUALITY MANAGEMENT IN TOURISM DESTINATIONS: A KEY TO COMPETITIVENESS”  at the Parliament Palace on June 23rd.

I am going there as a special invitee by Blue Air and Maxitours/Belgium. It is a milestone for me as I have been rebranding Romania as a country , and branding  Bucharest as a capital, from my living room, ever since 2011.  It is time to take it to the next level.


The speakers list is international in its kind and I am eager to hear  business professionals in the area  of tourism, giving their perspective on how to tackle tourism in 2016. Tourism is  changing, in our digitalised world.  When it comes to actually deciding to go somewhere and buying a trip,  it all can take place in a few clicks on our the mobile phones.


The trip I am taking to Romania, later this summer, was bought through my phone. I am travelling with WizzAir from Malmö to Bucharest. I have their app in my phone and I book my trip in 1-2-3. Travelling made easy.  The Internet of Travelling.

If I wish to check things up, I send a message via my phone, to friends,  on Facebook/Messenger, asking detailed questions about the places I will be going to. For example, this week I had a very interesting chat with the City Manager of Alba Iuila who sent me inviting links about his city for the upcoming trip there, this week.  I would also do a search for Alba Iulia on other channels, but I would pick the ones that seems must trustworthy, inspiring – and for me what is important : dynamic and positive.



Rebranding Romania as a country and branding Bucharest as a city do come with a set of challenges and strengths.


Assumption:   The image of Romania abroad is still a very dark one and the discrepancy of what Romania has to offer as opposed to what people think, is huge.  The possibility for people to buy a ticket to visit Romania is not so high.


In Scandinavia, if you would ask people about Romania, there is a high probability that they would  instantly think of the beggars we see in front of our  grocery stores in Sweden.  If you would dig in deeper and ask further,  they would probably also mention the badly kept orphanages under the 1980’s, and a general picture,  painted in grey, brown and black would occur.

People know very little about Romania as a country and the Romanians  as a people. Some people I meet in Romania say ‘It is ignorant’.  I would say it’s more complex than that.


We live in a world now, when we can search for information on the net and we can find whatever it is we believe and hold true. We can join groups on FB, LinkedIn and other social media in order to get our daily chat with people who we are inspired by. We can also be overwhelmed with information, hence we become niched in what we search for.


All of us are our own media channel and we send from that channel every day if we are on FB or LinkedIn, Instagram or any other social media channel.  Some channels grow big.


When branding Romania as a country on social media – because that is where people are  to start with – I do believe that organisations and all of us who are in the tourism sector, needs to treasure one thing high and that is :  the human connection.


The most fundamental needs that a human being have,  are  to be seen and to be loved. The first thing a newborn child wish, is to get close to mum. A newborn child love being kept close and study faces. When we grow up we like to hear a ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ from the store we enter and leave. We like it when somebody come towards us and are happy and cheerful, in  the morning,  at work.


Same thing with social media. We need to make Romania be seen.  Under Communism there were paradoxally more Scandinavians travelling and appreciating Romania than now. I was one of them, visiting Mamaia in 1985.

Today Romania is not really seen for what it is , but for what massmedia chooses to notoriously portray Romania. In addition very few people travel there , and the picture just stay cemented, as very few people can spread the good words about how Romania really is.

One need to understand the dramaturgy of massmedia in the scope of the challenges of rebranding Romania. The extremes of good and bad, black and white, we and them. Conflicts. Those are the things that gives focus in traditional mass media.

I have been lobbying Swedish massmedia since 1990 in order for them to widen the horizon on the types of articles produced about Romania, but with almost no result. My mum and I are reading and exchanging pretty much most of what is written in Swedish press about Romania since long ago.


I have personally given up on massmedia now and put my dedication and hope in the possibility of new media, social media and the democratisation of societies , that can be possible,  if we use internet  intelligently, learning from each other, spreading good ideas that change the world.  I am indeed an idealist , has been and probably will be always. It keeps me going.


What is needed and connects us all, in the scope of Romania are : real stories about real people. They are  way better than posting a picture of a yet interesting castle, but without an attaching story. Understand me right. That castle may be very interesting and fascinating. But with the wrong way of communicating, that castle organization, wanting to attract people there, to the castle,  will end up being unsuccessful.  Compare marketing with story-telling. We don’t want traditional marketing any longer ! We want to build communities with people who likes the same things as ourselves , where  we can connect and grow what it is we are interested in. So forget about adding price tags and using marketing kind of language when wanting to invite people to Romania.

When it comes to technical data and information they may serve well as text  for further reading in a  post, but what is really succesfull is the close -to- home, heartfelt, stories that people all around the globe can relate to. The birth of a child, growing up, marriage, starting and ending school, making huge leaps and being courageous, fulfilling dreams and being adventurous, the change of season, the sunrise and the sunset, the warmth , the extreme cold, the things that grow, the fun we have with friends  partying, the intellectuals, the philosphers , the heroes, the history, the music, the paintings, the culural heriatge,  the food we eat, and so forth. With the example of the castle you need personal stories, a hero who is connected to the castle, some fantastic pictures of the landscape in the neighbourhood, some people dressed in colourful traditional clothing – and the adjoint human story.

Get the picture ?


When it comes to being courageous Seth Godin talks about the sneezers, the ones who wants to try things first and they are often ahead of their times. Those people who pave the way and often challenge the status quo. They would be the ones who would be explorers in the olden days, and dared to jump on a boat and discover new frontiers.


In short, these people  are the ones who would gladly try out a new tourist destination.  We need to focus a bit on them , in order to get them to travel to Romania and get the  buzz going about Romania.


Every day, since an autumn day in 2011, have I been writing stories about Romania, short and long. If you would ask me what Romania has to offer , this would be my answers, starting with the concepts first as in humanity, hospitality, friendliness, sustainability, eco- all and village life values. Those are some of the concepts sticking out.


Then add:

Food, tasty Romanian food. It is undiscovered yet – in a world where food is hot and where there  are huge productions of food TV, recipe books and so forth. Romania has a huge potential in the Food and Wine  sector of traveling.   I didn’t see any good Romanian recipe books on the shelves yet and I am still searching for a great Romanian Foodie YouTuber.  Bring zacusca, salata de vinete,  and sarmale to the world ! Tsaziki and guacamole are both famous and both delicious, but one can widen ones horizons, right ?

Landscapes: discovering the Carpathian Mountains which almost only Romanias knows about. When in Romania and talking to Romanians I sometimes have the feeling that people think that the Carpathian Mountains are widely know abroad. So is not the case. They could be. They offer a green, lush amazing place to be discovered. Hiking and skiing in Romania is vaguely known outside its country’s borders. Adventure lies in Transfagarasan and Transalpina. Exploring the Danube Delta and staying in Dobrogea with their white and blue houses. Lots of people would find peace in the Romanian countryside.

Cities. Bucharest as a capital of course, needs a real branding campaign to position itself as a European capital and a new weekend destination to attract people to come and visit. The identity of Bucharest is vague or almost non-existant.


-What is Bucharest ?

The answers must be the campaign focus.

A combination of  social media campaigns and IRL campaigns would be needed. Airline companies flying to Bucharest could work more with fun events during for example summer, where people are , to get the buzz going about funky, interesting Bucharest.

There are so many beautiful and breath taking cities in Romania that deserves a good note. Sibiu, Sigishoara, Brasov,Cluj, Targoviste, Alba Iulia  and many, many more.

Art. Romanians are highly artistic and aesthetic people and there are so many fascinating museums to visit. The Village Museum, the Peasant’s Museum for example. I remember first time in Bucharest , in 2011, going to the National Museum of Art of Romania and there was like a treasure box opening up for me. I started to learn of artists and painters whose names I never had heard of. I do believe that art in eastern Europe is too little known and I think the traveler who is looking for a more classical holiday can well combine museums and concerts, in not only Bucharest, but  other Romanians cities too.

Art is also the finely handprinted eggs and the more robust woodwork of the entrences of a house in Maramures. Art is also the contemporary art and design that is to be found in Romania which is also not so well known. I love modern artists who blend in ancient symbolism into their modern design. It invites us to discover history.

Markets Romania has an abundance of them. I know the ones in Bucharest very well. I love coming to the Peasant’s Museum and spend the day there looking at IA – The Romanian blouse, wooden spoons, beautifully decorated rugs, finely embroidered table cloths, interesting antiques, contemporary art , books with ancient symbols, old maps, jewellery and so much more.

Folklore and the Village life. I do believe that there is a huge potential in the presentation of the folklore and the Romanian village life. The Romanian blouse is luckily getting a lot of attention now and people are finding their way to appreciate it and even making it. That is how culture continues , from generation to generation.  The dancing of hora and the strong community life that is also represented out in the different regions in Romania, are  strong contributors for the beautiful experience of Romania.

All that is eco-friendly and sustainable lifestyle you can find in Romania. A stressed out person can find his or her haven in the Romanian countryside.  I believe in eco-tourism as in staying in a Bed and Breakfast where all is produced ‘acasa’, where the guest is a conscious guest, who even may want to participate in the chores, or learn how to cook some certain dishes. Again , I believe in another type of tourism where the travellers will find friends and will go back.

Spiritual. Romania is a very spiritual place to be. There is always a legend to talk about, a philosopher to quote or a proverb to share. There are the fantastic wooden spoons with stories and so much more. There is the Orthodox churches and the yearly life of an Orthodox family where Easter and Christmas are two fantastic occasions to meet and learn about Orthodoxy in Romania. The Monasteries are a chapter to itself. I will never forget spending the night before Christmas at the Petru Voda Monastery. It was a very serene  and beautiful experience. The traditions are rich and with the collide at Christmas and the Midnight Mass for Easter there are  some special moments that can be shared with the traveler who is curious to learn more about Romania, and perhaps humanity itself.

Heroes. In Romania you find many heroes and they can inspire the travellers  to be a bit more courageous and to change the world around us. The traveler today is a more conscious one than ever before.  What could be interesting is, for example, learning more about the people in the resistance group up in the Fagaras Mountains. I do believe that us people now, like to hear those stories to ignite some guts in ourselves in times that can be experienced like turbulent in Europe.

History. The same as with art. Romania has a history that we don’t really hear of at our history lessons that much. It has a very interesting location between east and west and I do believe that making a historical tour through Romania visiting places such as Targoviste and Alba Iulia, would be a very good idea for a niched group of travelers.


Personally I like to be inspired by Stefan cel Mare. When I feel uncourageous and weak, I sometimes think : What would Stefan cel Mare do in this situation and all of a sudden my worries seem small.

I wish to brand Bucharest and rebrand Romania with the courage of Stefan cel Mare and with the elegance of the words of Mihai Eminescu.

Welcome to Romania !


 Yvette Larsson

Romania Autentica – The Authentic Romania Festival

13348790_1185855008126161_1832921353_n (1)România Autentică (Authentic Romania) is a unique festival that will take place on the 24th and 25th of June 2016, in the Hobita village, in the Gorj area where the great Constantin Brancusi was born.


The main objective of this event is to promote the true Romanian values, traditions and beauty, by also celebrating the International Day of the Romanian IA.
During the festival, there are expected about 10.000 people, artists, craftsmen and small Romanian merchants, but also people of culture, art, business and more.
The event will be a celebration with traditional food, wine and music. Such artisans are expected also from abroad, from Ukraine, Bulgaria and Moldova.

We invite you, to take part with us at this festival and spend two colorful days in the Romanian spirit, within the biggest authentic Romanian festival!