Original publication: March 2016
Author: Beata Tuszyńska, Seconded National Expert
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Transport and Tourism in Romania

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This overview of the transport and tourism sectors in Romania was prepared to provide the information for the mission of the Transport and Tourism Committee to Romania (29-31 March 2016).


Romania is one of the most populated countries in eastern Europe with around 20 million inhabitants.  Geographically, it is dominated by the Carpathian Mountains in the north and centre of the country while the main feature in the south is the vast Danube valley which becomes a delta as it approaches the Black Sea. This distinctive geography has a profound influence on the developmental challenges and opportunities of the country and its individual regions.

Transport and Tourism in RomaniaThe Romanian economy closed out 2014 with 2.8% growth, down from the 3.4% recorded in 2013 which was higher than the EU-28 average of 1.3% and 0% in both years respectively. Between 2004-2014, the Romanian economy grew on average by 2.7%. The most important sectors of Romania’s economy in 2014 were industry (27.3%), wholesale and retail trade, transport, accommodation and food services (17.9%) and public administration, defence, education, human health and social work activities (10.3%).

Table 1: Macro economic forecasts for Romania

In 2009, the European Union (EU) Heads of State or Government, following a call submitted by Austria and Romania, asked the European Commission (EC) to prepare a strategy targeted at the Danube area. The European Union Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR), and its accompanying action plan, was adopted by the EC in December 2010 and endorsed by the European Council in 2011. The European Parliament (EP), which had been calling for the strategy since 2008, backed the process through the adoption of a resolution in January 2010. In February 2011, the EP adopted a second resolution in which it urged the quick endorsement of the EUSDR. It also asked to be kept informed and consulted on the status of implementation and updating of the strategy. The EUSDR brings together 14 countries:

  • nine EU Member States: Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Romania and
  • three current or potential candidates for EU membership: Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Montenegro;
  • two countries covered by the European Neighbourhood Policy: Moldova and Ukraine

The EUSDR addresses a wide range of issues which are divided among four pillars and 11 Priority Areas. Mobility and Multimodality, as well as Culture and Tourism, have been identified as key areas of macro-regional cooperation. Romania plays an active role in the implementation of the EUSDR by assuming the function of the coordinator of the following Priority Areas:

  • Mobility and Intermodality of Inland Waterways (jointly with Austria),
  • Culture and Tourism (jointly with Bulgaria),
  • Environmental Risks (together with Hungary)

In August 2015, the EC adopted a new “Danube Transnational Cooperation Programme” designed to directly contribute to the successful implementation of the EUSDR through its thematic priorities and its support to the Strategy’s governance. Boosting innovation and entrepreneurship, preserving the natural and cultural assets of the Danube region, improving the connectivity and supporting the shift towards a low-carbon economy will form the key focus of the new Programme. The EU will invest more than €202 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and €19.8 million from the Instrument for Pre-Accession (IPA) for  transnational projects in the Danube basin territory.


Romania, due to its geographical position, is an important European traffic node for passengers and goods, facilitating connectivity throughout central Europe, the Black Sea and the Caucasian–Caspian area. However, its transport infrastructure is underdeveloped and outdated, which is a critical barrier to the country’s development and economic growth. Although there have been some major transport investments, Romania still experiences accessibility and connectivity constraints in each mode of transport, that can be attributed in particular to poor quality of the road infrastructure, gaps in TEN‐T connectivity between east and west of the country and the slow progress in railway modernisation. Administrative deficiencies in the maintenance and operation of the infrastructure have also been identified among the causes hampering the smooth functioning of the Romanian transport system.

The ratings for the quality of infrastructure in Romania are quite low for all modes of transport. Roads and railways are of particular concern as in this area Romania is ranked last out of EU Member States.

Transport by road remains the predominant mode of both passengers and freight in Romania. However, in the transport of goods, sustainable modes of transport such as rail and inland waterways jointly achieved nearly 42% market share in 2013. As far as passenger transport is concerned collective modes of transport such as buses and coaches, rail as well as trams and metro jointly provided services to nearly 24% of all transport users in 2013 (see Figures 1 and 2).

Figure 1: Freight transport by land in Romania by mode in 2013 (in % of tonne-km) AND Figure 2: Passenger transport by land in Romania by mode in 2013 (in % of passenger-km)

Link to the full publication: http://bit.ly/573-422

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