Romania: The totalitarian tourist trail
18 August 2011
Following the example of China and North Korea, Romania will soon have its own tourist trail devoted to the glories of Communism. More than 20 years after the fall of Nicolae Ceauşescu, the country’s ministry of tourism has announced the creation of a "propaganda itinerary," which will take in specific places that figured large in the life of the "Conducător." According to the minister concerned, the initiative is justified, among other reasons, by the fact that "50 per cent of Romanians, who believe that life was better under his rule, regret the passing of the dictator," while "40 per cent believe that Communism was a good thing."
For columnist Sabina Fati, "Dictators continue to exert an appeal even after their death. However, democratic governments avoid entering into a spiral of posthumous fascination.” She also points out that tourist initiatives that focus on dictatorships in other countries, like Germany and Serbia, tend to be "organised by the far left – the glorification of the Berlin Wall – or private entrepreneurs – Tito’s 'Blue Train'". However, "No government minister in Madrid would ever dream of creating a tourist trail that followed in the footsteps of Franco."