Bucharest, January 30, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency
By Daniel Stroe
Romania wants to build a Dracula theme park in Transylvania, the head of the national tourism agency said, reviving an idea which dates back to more than a decade ago but which never came to fruition.
“We want to develop a Dracula theme park, based on the Dracula Park idea launched 15 years ago. That had a false start, but people have evolved and things have changed in the mean time”, Simona Man, head of the National Tourism Agency told Mediafax while attending an international tourism fair hosted by Madrid.
She went on to express belief such a Dracula theme park, which can also go by the name of Vlad the Impaler Park (the Romanian medieval ruler who inspired the character Dracula), would be very successful given the myth is extremely promoted across the world. The park shall have to be located in the central area of the country, in Transylvania, such as between the city of Brasov and the medieval town of Sighisoara, so that mountain resorts in the vicinity can also benefit from its presence, especially in summer.
Tourism operators say the myth of Dracula can sell very well in Romania since it offers a unique perspective while it is well known all over the world. If explored properly, the myth alone can bring hundreds of thousands of foreign tourists a year. They give the example of the Bran Castle, standing at the mountainous gates of Transylvania, where Vlad the Impaler is said to have been imprisoned, visited last year by about 600,000 tourists, most of them from abroad, up by 10 % compared to 2013. Bran was ranked the third last year in a top three destinations of tourists, after the natural science museum Grigore Antipa and the village museum, both in Bucharest.
Simona Man said her agency is exploring options such as accessing EU funds and an official proposal for the creation of the park will be submitted to the Government. Construction works could begin this year, she added.
A Dracula theme park was a recurrent idea of tourism officials in Romania. The most vehement about this project was Dan Matei Agathon, Tourism minister in 2000-2003. The park was slated to be located near Sighisoara, but due to problems related to the land was later moved near Bucharest. In 2006 a state inspection body buried the project after it annulled a decision of the government to turn the site into an industrial park.