Sibiu is one of the most desired cities in Romania by foreign tourists. Having been designated the European Capital of Culture in 2007, Sibiu has become a tourist destination for tourists from all over the world. By 2019, dozens of tour groups can be seen in the center of Sibiu, which have changed radically with the onset of the epidemic.
I spoke to a Sibiu guide to find out what it means to practice this profession in a city like Sibiu and to see the development of tourism in Transylvania. Adela Dado has been a guide since 2006, when Sibiu was declared the European Capital of Culture. A job he has been passionate about since the beginning and he still does only in his spare time due to the lack of tourists.
Become a mentor after hearing a radio advertisement
Open talk with people has never been a problem for a Sibiu guide, especially when it comes to foreign tourists who you consider to be open and enthusiastic about socializing. An asset for her was knowledge of three foreign languages: English, French and Spanish, after studying at the Faculty of Foreign Languages.
“I remember hearing a radio advertisement saying that a guide course was held in the future because Sibiu would become the capital of culture and they probably knew that many groups of tourists would come without guides. I found it particularly interesting that I speak foreign languages. After completing the 6 course Months, I volunteered at the Sibiu European Capital of Culture Association and they started collaborating on different projects. Slowly, he slowly entered that crazy year with so many tourists. 2007 was a great year from this point of view,” says Adela Dado.
Guidance is more than just ‘information’
In the guide profession, continuous documentation is very important, and the responsibility of the guide is very high given that the vacation of the tourist depends on it. For this reason, Adela prefers tours in the Sibiu region and those attractions near the city for a maximum of one day because the infrastructure leaves much to be desired and unexpected problems can arise.
“The mentor job is not necessarily information because, like in any other job, you always have to read. I love interacting with people and I think that is one of the strengths of a mentor. I didn’t like being away from home for too long, which is why I didn’t choose the big racetracks. When you go with Tourists, you have a responsibility, the infrastructure in our country is very poor, always with delays, there are always unexpected things, things for which the guide is responsible.You have to create a pleasant experience for the tourist as he leaves his vacation in your hands, and then you have to be like an actor, To perform regardless of the situation.The Sibiu guide says I follow the principle that a local guide is best.
Resentment of tourists in Sibiu
The main dissatisfaction of foreign tourists is the slow services, especially those from restaurants, to which are added dissatisfaction with museums with different visiting programs or problems with finding accommodation or renting a car, especially in high season.
“Tourists are not satisfied with slow services, at least in restaurants. We lose because they often have a fixed schedule. In other destinations in Europe, services are much faster. You can stay with us for an hour and a half, two at the table, and that means the program is postponed. You can’t Sticking to a certain program that many don’t know and don’t take into account. They come straight to the restaurant hungry and starve for another hour until the menus come in and that’s not very fun. We work a lot on improvisation and get embarrassed. In tourist goals it’s hard to find someone who speaks to you in a foreign language ‘ says Adela.
Pandemic period, a challenge for guides in Sibiu
If some local guides get involved in another field during the pandemic, Adela Dadu has been able to deepen and document herself, so she can start new projects. For a long time during the pandemic, I held online meetings with tourists who canceled their reservations and held discussions with various partners.
“I spent a lot of time writing emails and zooming in, and at the request of many I did some virtual city tours both at home and around town for private groups on online platforms. Everyone came up with creative ideas, but you can’t support yourself financially from this thing, but just to remain visible. Such a situation challenged us creatively,” says the guide.
Tourism in Sibiu after the epidemic
The years 2017, 2018, and 2019 were very good for tourism in Sibiu. However, after the pandemic, things did not return to the level that Adela Dado had expected. If before the epidemic dozens of coaches came to Sibiu with groups of 40 people, now groups of up to ten people come. Tourists coming to Sibiu prefer themed tours of the city and touring the surrounding areas, or easy hiking in the Cinderella Mountains with visits to shepherds, where there is a mixture of nature and culture.
“Usually, on a May day like this, you will see two or three groups with their guides scattered. The length of stay is much shorter, they no longer take such long vacations, they book their tickets at the last minute, and then it is difficult to find available accommodation. Average decreased The age if we had many older people before the pandemic, including Americans over the age of 60. Older people no longer have the courage to leave and because of the Corona virus and unexpected war, they are still waiting. Since 2021, the average life has decreased , and reached between 25 and 40 years old,” says Sibiu Guide.
Sustainability and promotion of local consumption
In the wake of the epidemic, a tourism project called “Brukenthal 300” appeared, which was very successful in Sibiu. It was later adapted for foreign tourists with a passion for history and interesting information about Freemasonry.
“The Brukenthal 300 project was originally designed for the people of Sibiu and later adapted for foreign tourists. I want to touch more on the concept of local consumption, sustainability, and keeping tourists as much as possible here is a challenge. We need to make promotion and marketing as attractive as possible for them,” she says. Adela Daddo.
Currently, Adela Dadu is only a mentor in her spare time due to lack of requests. She is also in charge of communications for the Tourism District Association as she tries to promote Sibiu. At the same time, “Hiking Years” teams up with them, hiking once or twice a month at Sibiu Surroundings.