CUPA Workshop Braşov
The workshop in Braşov focused on positioning the Poiana Braşov mountain area as an attractive and complete village over the course of a year, taking into account physical activities and relaxation. As the skiing season becomes shorter due to climate change, the hospitality industry of Poiana Braşov needs to rethink and reinvent itself in order to be able to compete with other leisure areas. However, one problem that needs to be overcome in this context is the intention of the local and regional government to enforce established monopolies instead of supporting small and medium local enterprises (SMEs). At the moment, the number of tourists varies depending on the seasons, with peaks during winter and mid-summer weekends.
It is worth mentioning that there are a lot of tourist attractions, including the historic centre of Braşov with the famous Black Church, the Bran Castle (also known as Dracula’s castle), the Râşnov castle, various fortified churches, the Braşov Fortress, the ski resorts of Predeal and Sinaia, etc. all within a radius of 20–30 km of Poiana Braşov.
Together with the Danubian Greenhouse Foundation, the main challenges for the sustainable development of the Poiana Braşov resort were defined as follows:
- Defining (or re-defining) the tourist related development potential of the Poiana Braşov resort for a long-term strategy;
- Tackling the specific problems and opportunities that arise from the vicinity of a major city and its surrounding urban functional area;
- Assessing the need to improve accessibility (the resort is accessible by two mountain roads, one of which starts from the centre of the city of Braşov, while the limited parking space generates traffic congestion and difficulty getting around in the resort);
- Providing a diverse portfolio of services and tourist attractions to visitors all year around;
- Providing the infrastructural prerequisites necessary for increasing the rate of occupancy for all the hotels and guesthouses in the resort throughout the year.
Due to the fact that the CUPA Implementation Lab in Braşov and Poiana Braşov concluded at the end of 2014, its impact is not yet apparent. The rather short period of time between the conclusion of the workshop and the publication of this documentation limits the amount of potential progression of the tourist resort at Poiana Braşov to just a few initial measures.
The bike park project that was among the many proposals presented at the CUPA workshop has been initiated by a private company that coordinates the construction of the sports facility and is engaged in the future operation of the park. The initiative can refer to an extremely active biking scene in and around Braşov, which is eager to develop the area in order to promote mountain, downhill, BMX and other off-road biking sports. The local scene has already constructed a hand-made pump track.
In addition to the bike facilities, the car park at the border of the resort continues to be the only other project under construction. The project was already under construction at the time of the CUPA-IL.
Current circumstances do not favour other more substantial developments that would enable quick progress. Due to the on-going investigations concerning the current project for the rehabilitation of the Poiana Braşov ski resort that was co-funded with European funds, all other developments in Poiana Braşov are now on stand-by.
Until the matter is clarified, further public efforts to support private initiatives for a progressive tourist resort as well as public projects for improving the spatial quality of the place are on hold until these issues are sorted out.