Romania’s foreign tourist offices, the only entities promoting local tourism abroad, will be shut down and, in 90 days, their employees will be recalled from the post, the Tourism Ministry announced in a press release on Wednesday.
The measure is taken in the context in which the Ministry of Tourism assumes the responsibility of activity’s efficiency at the level of the whole institution, and aims to promote Romania as a tourist destination in the world which should be done after clear, consistent rules, according to the legal norms regarding the country’s representation abroad.
The need for dissolution of Ministry of Tourism’s foreign offices and the rethinking of Romania’s international tourist representation is given both by the internal analyzes made by minister Mircea-Titus Dobre, as well as the data revealed by the Court of Auditors’ report on the activity of the former National Authority for Tourism (ANT) in 2015.
According to the press release, the control body found a number of serious irregularities about the operation of the external promotion offices and public spending, which confirms the result of the internal analysis conducted by the Ministry of Tourism.
“Thus, it was found that the Ministry of Tourism’s external promotion offices functioned on artificially created budgets, (…) without any minimal control over the justification of the amounts advanced as expenses,” the release also reads.
Major discrepancies in office rents and employee dwellings between offices in comparable countries as living standards were also found, ranging from EUR 1,347 to EUR 5,357 per month. Thus, more than 70 percent of the total budget allocated to the foreign offices was spent on rents.
Over the years, the unjustified amount has reached over EUR 500,000.
The Ministry of Tourism, together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Labor, will elaborate a status of the employees of the foreign tourist promotion offices and a competition regulation, on the basis of which these posts will be occupied.
Future external employees will have a four-year mandate, thus avoiding the employment on indefinite period of these offices (USA – 23 years, Austria – 17 years, Russia – 16 years, Germany – 12 years, France and Italy – 10 Years, Poland – 8 years, England – 5 years) without a real control of their work and without a clear picture of their job efficiency.
The most important employers in the field – FPTR, FIHR and ANAT – say in unison that the decision is a bad one and that the Ministry of Tourism should have consulted the industry before taking a crucial decision to promote tourism, profit.ro informs.
The specialists believe the ministry does not have a clear strategy on tourism.