Radan-Gorska [Abstract]

Destinations without regulations: Informal practices in Romanian rural tourism [Full text]

Maria Miruna Rădan-Gorska  [1]

AbstractThis article is an ethnographic account of the informal practices I encountered during my fieldwork in three touristic destinations in the Romanian countryside. In these places, as in other parts of rural Romania, over half of the accommodation units are unregistered, making tourism ‘on the black’ [market] widespread. This research is focused on unregistered businesses, as well as on those that aim to be law-abiding, but sometimes engage in informal practices. A typology of informal practices is outlined, dividing them into intended, unintended, and contextual. These categories are illustrated with evidence from interview data and from mass media accounts. Informality is discussed in relation to the legislative framework and to the actions of those authorities responsible with enforcing regulations. Local sense-making strategies are taken into account in explaining informal practices, as well as the wider national and historical contexts. The positive and negative implications of informality are examined and the article concludes by making a number of suggestions that could help to develop more appropriate norms and policies regarding rural guesthouses.

Keywords: Informal economy, rural tourism, post-socialism, household economy, Bran, Moieciu, Albac

[1] School of Anthropology and Conservation, University of Kent, United Kindom, maria.radan@gmail.com