“Promoting tourism in Romania is a choice that starts from the heart, it is like a good virus, generator of emotion and enthusiasm, a virus that “makes you sick” of love for our country. A delicious informal discussion with Iulia Falcutescu about promoting Romania and The Traveling Tulip. The corporate-entrepreneur who transformed her passion for travel into a business with personality revealed a beautiful, sensitive, generous and passionate woman, but also a very oriented, tenacious and ambitious person. An eclectic combination that brought to her life a full-time job in a corporation, a travel agency and many professional challenges that, although they often put her in difficulty, also inspired her to grow and develop.
Iulia Falcutescu, the woman behind The Traveling Tulip – thetravelingtulip.ro -, shows us how you can run a business out of passion at the age of 35, while working in a corporation, full time and with enough time , energy and dedication and for large-scale visionary projects, such as RePatriot Turism.
*The tourism sector was one of the most affected by the restrictions imposed by the pandemic. How did you adapt the business during this period?
First of all, we have responsibly established and respected the hygiene and social distancing measures imposed by the Romanian authorities. It is important for us that those who choose to travel with us feel safe. In addition, we have created special packages, which include outdoor activities, hiking, special packages for our explorers, as we call them. Also, if until now, our main target group were foreigners eager to visit our country, now we are also addressing Romanians and expats, lovers of Romania and its wonders.
*Given the current situation, how much are Romanians willing to travel in organized groups?
From what we have noticed so far, Romanians are still reluctant to travel in groups. It has happened to us several times in recent weeks to be called by people who have asked us about the size of the group and whether we can offer personalized services, such as a private guide only for a family or virtual itineraries that they can follow, without having to interact with strangers.
*What routes are the most requested and how far do you get with the trips around the country?
The most requested routes are those that involve time spent outdoors, such as mountain trails or gastronomic experiences in rural communities. Regarding the distance, we have no limit. We are proud to say that we are able to go anywhere in our country. We have many beautiful and tempting places to explore. Creativity and inspiration are the ingredients we use at a maximum when organizing custom itineraries for our explorer friends.
*What do you do differently from other travel agencies?
The Traveling Tulip started as a travel blog. A virtual meeting place and real stories for loved ones took me at some point on the difficult but beautiful path of a serious business. It’s about exploration and explorers. A boutique agency that aims to make those who choose to travel with us live unforgettable experiences. We do not offer tours, where the “explorers” sit in a bus and are shown some buildings, etc. We offer experiences, so that those who choose us are fully involved in the activities carried out. We like to constantly interact with our clients and offer them authentic, unique, memorable experiences that will delight their souls. Through The Traveling Tulip we make the Romanian experience be lived at a maximum intensity, with emotions for a lifetime.
*Do you have groups of foreigners who request your services? What do you propose them to visit here, what does Bucharest offer them?
Before the pandemic, the number of foreign travelers had increased considerably in Bucharest and even in the country. Unfortunately, due to travel restrictions imposed by all countries, this number has decreased, so that now most groups of foreigners who choose to visit Bucharest are foreigners who already live in Romania (so-called expats) or who are braver and assume the chance that the situation sometimes changes even from one day to the next. Bucharest has something to offer for each category, children or adults, interested in culture, history or even gastronomy. We like to show our travelers less known areas, which you do not find in travel guides, those “hidden gems” that are more attracting much more than those crowded places, constantly sought by tourists.
*What are the problems you face in running your business and how do you solve them?
At the moment, the main problem is the unknown we face in terms of tourism and travel, in general. Here I do not mean only in Romania, but all over the world. From my point of view, the situation is dynamic and we can only think of short-term solutions. From one day to the other, new restrictions, new requirements, etc. can be established. One of the solutions is to adapt “on the go” the experiences we offer, to always innovate, to accentuate the wishes, needs and expectations of our clients, to be in line with the requirements of the authorities.
In a more favorable period, we would like The Traveling Tulip to offer more experiences involving the rural community in Romania and, in particular, experiences that will make travelers gladly return to Romania. Now it is harder, but we do not give up and we continue to promote Romania, to look for solutions, to adapt, to innovate.
*How many employees do you have? What was the turnover last year?
Our agency has no employees. We are a “family” business. I take care of the administrative part together with my sister, but most of all I enjoy participating actively in every event we organize. In addition, we have gathered around us a wonderful team of collaborators, authorized tour guides and event planners, who, like us, have the same dream – to show the world how beautiful our country is!
From entrepreneurship to vision. RePatriot Tourism.
In addition to her assignments as a dedicated corporate worker and passionate entrepreneur, Iulia Falcutescu is very active and present in RePatriot Turism – repatriot.ro/turism, a RePatriot initiative, which aims to promote Romania as a tourist destination and increase tourism with the help of Romanians everywhere. “A somewhat natural association, because The Traveling Tulip already does that. It’s just that together with the right people, in the right context, a plan to promote customer packages can become an effective development plan for a nation”, says Iulia.
Repatriot Turism aims to contribute to the growth and activation of Romanians abroad, by developing a national and international project, through which to create a network of travel agencies with Romanian ownership abroad and tourism specialists, to promote Romania. A plan that can make a difference in the coming years on the tourism segment in Romania, because we also have what and especially with whom to promote Romania.”