Reference Regions

Reference Regions » Southern Romanian Carpathian mountains (Romania)
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Southern Romanian Carpathian mountains (Romania)

Description of the Reference Region

The Piatra Craiului National Park is a high-quality tourist destination attracting more than 110 000 visitors per year, which puts an increasing pressure upon the local environment, including inappropriate “spill-over development” from the neighbouring villages of Bran and Moeciu.

These pressures are likely to increase and there is an urgent need to develop more sustainable, lower impact forms of tourism whilst also maintaining the valuable income provided for the local community. The specific challenges associated with climate change, notably the increasing vulnerability of the domestic water supply due to over-exploitation by tourism combined with the increasing frequency of drought.

Selected Value Chain

The selected value chain (VC) is certified ecotourism, a well-suited approach for the sustainable development of the local economy of the Piata Craiului National Park. The region is one of the 10 ‘eco-destinations’ promoted by Association of Ecotourism in Romania (AER).

A range of certified ecotourism services are offered in the Zărneşti – Piatra Craiului region in partnership with the National Park Authority and a variety of local businesses.

Land use in the Piatra Craiului National Park is a combination of traditional semi-subsistence pastoralism and deciduous forest, but the landscape is dominated by a 25 km long limestone ridge with deep gorges and caves. This creates a unique mountain landscape highly appreciated nationally and internationally, but it is also a fragile landscape and vulnerable ecosystem that is under growing pressure.

Certified ecotourism is a key component of the strategic planning and management of rural / mountain tourism at all levels – and needs to be actively promoted as such.

Multi-Actor Platform (MAP) members

The Multi-Actor Platform will comprise a diversity of stakeholders, such as public authorities and policy makers (Piatra Craiului National Park Administration, National Mountain Area Agency, National Agency for Protection of the Environment and local Mayor’s offices), researchers (Transilvania University of Braşov), NGOs (Association of Ecotourism in Romania, WWF – Danube Carpathian Programme, Mountain Guides and Mountain Leaders Society and Local development NGOs), producers (small-farmers, grassland managers and foresters), business (local accommodation providers, traditional/artisan food producers), local guides, providers of specialist activities and other eco-tour operators), innovation brokers/advisors, and local action groups.

Publications & events

MOVING Leaflet

Article: Feeling the pressure of inappropriate development in Southern Romanian Carpathians

Article: Innovative and sustainable tourism in mountains regions

Policy Brief: Certified Ecotourism

Video: MOVING: Valorizarea Lanțului Montan prin Interconectare și Dezvoltare Verde


Alina Alexa
Highclere Consulting

Cătălina Rogozan
Highclere Consulting

Mark Redman
Highclere Consulting