As I said a few weeks ago, I am involved in the Destiny of the Year project, a project built together with my friend Mihai, tourism bloggers and vloggers and Prima TV television. A project that aims to highlight the places worth visiting in Romania. And who will be the destination of the year will be after our votes, of all.

What has happened so far? It was the nomination period. Simply anyone enters the Destination of the Year website and could nominate a village, a city, a region as the Destination of the Year in Romania. They have thousands and tens of thousands of nominations and from them were chosen 6 most nominated destinations that will enter the finals. At this moment, two teams of vloggers visit these destinations and film them to be presented in some TV shows on Prima TV. I will let you know when both the shows and the voting will start because I will call you again to choose now from the 6 destinations that received the most nominations: Banatul Montan, Braila, Danube Delta, Iasi, Oradea and The country of Maramures. These are the most nominated destinations by you!

Looking at the list of finalists, obviously, the most eyebrow raises was determined by the appearance of Braila in the top 6. What the hell is Braila looking for there? What’s in Braila? Why Braila and not… .. (you can write whole pages).

The reason is simple – in Braila there is a geography teacher, but also a guide who loves her city madly. And he turned his head to make his community of Brailians (who still live in Braila, have moved around the country or abroad) to vote for their city. When I discovered at the end of the nomination stage that Braila entered the top 6, I started to wonder who mobilized the local community – I looked for sites or Facebook pages of the City Hall, the County Council or a hypothetical association Visit Braila. I didn’t find anything. I think Mihai located the lady and I called her on the phone. I couldn’t stop talking for 2 hours – she kept telling me why Braila is beautiful, what things she does there, obviously without any help from the local authorities and what enormous potential Braila would have if someone got involved. as much as in the restoration and promotion of the city. And she convinced me to write this post.
The destination of the Year is not about the most beautiful, the sunniest, the most unknown or the strangest place in Romania. It’s about the place worth visiting the most – it combines interesting things to visit (and believe me, Romania is full of “treasures” buried in ignorance) and a community that wants to fight for it. People who try to promote their birthplaces or where they live. That’s how Braila (where an anonymous teacher got involved without any involvement of local authorities) got to the final with an Oradea where there is the most professional destination management in Romania with people dedicated to marketing and promoting destinations and all the competition of local authorities. And if Braila had the authorities and competencies from Oradea, it would certainly be one of the most visited cities in Romania. Unfortunately, he doesn’t.

In the case of all finalists, either local authorities or associations and tourism promotion agencies were involved. There were some who got involved hard (like alerting the local press) such as Tara Vrancei or Banatul de Munte. I am sorry that the Country of Vrancea did not qualify because the CJ authorities there gave the ropes to the country the day after the “Destination of the Year”, but unfortunately they did not keep the “pressure”… the nominations took place throughout about 10 days. If I remember correctly, after an initial “explosion” (Vrancea Country was in 1st place), slowly, slowly, it started to decrease and was practically overtaken on the last day. There was also involvement from several mayors, county councils, tourism promotion associations. I think the best placed small town was Toplita – I don’t know who got involved there, but in the last few days, there have been many, many votes nominating Toplita, but it didn’t reach the top 6, still being a small and unknown town. But it gave me an idea that there is a community out there that loves its city. Because it is important to love your city, village, region and try to promote it, especially since the “effort” consists of a few clicks and possibly a share on Facebook with the request to vote for destination X.
The problem of some cities or regions in Romania is that they are unloved. Bucharest (which had very few votes even though it is the largest city in the country) is probably the most unloved capital in Europe. Maybe also because the city management in the last 10-15 years has been lamentable, with the most corrupt and incompetent mayors, but also high officials from Euro-Asia, maybe also because there are fewer and fewer Bucharest residents get-beget in city, maybe because the expectations are too high and the achievements are not very spectacular. Also, the Romanian Seaside, the most important tourist destination in Romania received only a few dozen votes. Because people go there because it’s close, or out of automatism. Not because the seaside would be loved or attractive. If there were a direct highway from Bucharest to Varna and there was no border between us and Bulgaria (which is possible in a reasonable period of time after both countries will join Schengen), the Romanian seaside would probably become much more empty. But it’s not about Bucharest or the Seaside. It’s about the community’s ability to react and rally around an idea. That is why Braila and the little-known Mountain Banat qualified. That’s why Toplita came close to the top 6. That’s why, however, Covasna or a few other destinations in which we saw efforts from the local authorities did not qualify. The local community was not very convinced or completely uninterested in their region / city.

Now, I’m looking forward to the movies. I have been to all 6 destinations, but in some several times, in others, only once, in others earlier, in others more recently. I was in Banat Montan once in 2013, in Braila once in 1990 (my father is from Braila, but he didn’t want to take me there, and I haven’t stepped there for 31 years and I think it was the only time in my life !), in Delta I was 2 times, the last time in 2018, in Iasi I was only once in 2005, in Oradea I was 3 times, the last time, last year, in 2020, in Tara Maramuresului I was 3 or, last time last month. So, obviously, I got to know the destinations more or less in depth, and as you well know, in time, the memories fade. From Braila I only remember that I went by boat on the Danube to Galati and that I knew my relatives (especially my grandparents who died a year later). So I will form an opinion after the movies to put all the destinations on the same level.

But, again, it will overcome that destination that will best mobilize both the local community and the tourist communities. Because any of you can vote, and the vast majority of Romanians do not come from the destinations that entered the final. And it’s no longer about local patriotism, but about how you felt in that destination. And I invite you that it’s still summer to go visit them… even if you have time 🙂

And the best to win!

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