Twenty years after the fall of Communism, tourism is finally on the rise in Eastern Europe, and for those in the know, it’s the number one tourist destination in the world—cheap, beautiful, and friendly. So why is it so hard to find a budget hotel in a region where incomes are still only half that of the West?
Mostly, people are looking in the wrong places.
The government-related agencies are now deeply into Social Media, to make the quest easier. For example, the Slovenian Tourist Board uses no fewer than eight sites to promote tourism there, a little gem of a country in the ex-Yugoslavia.
The Czech Republic , an easy weekend trip from the West, has at least four social media accounts, posts 5-6 times per day on its FaceBook page in multiple languages, and has 85,000 likes; even little brother Slovakia has 4000 likes and posts every day.
Leave it to Latin-linked rural-based Romania to uphold traditions. “Romania is natural, cultural and authentic and we are trying hard to also be authentic in the use of the social media,” according to Simion Alb, a spokesperson at the Romanian Tourism Office in the US. Feel free to direct tweets on that subject too. It’s like a parallel reality of social media. They didn’t have Twitter and FaceBook to help them win the wars. But they can certainly use it to win the peace.
But one axiom remains: If travelers want to meet local people then they should go to hostels, usually mom-and-pop operations frequently located in and around the city center. There you’ll meet people from all over the world, too. And rooms are cheap, $10-20 for a dorm bed, maybe twice that for a private room.
Sometime the problem is finding them. Not online; the places themselves, physically. Maybe there’s only a sticker by the doorbell indicating the business within.
They’re very easy to find online, though: on hostel-booking sites like Hostelbookers Then of course there is always
TripAdvisor, FaceBook, Air BnB – and various Social Media platforms.
Regardless of how travelers get their information on East Europe…Social Media or traditional media… be sure you go!
image courtesy travelingted.com