We have spotted a worrying trend whilst researching the latest issue of Bucharest In Your Pocket (which, by the way, will be issue 100. Expect more on that particular subject. Much more): Tourists in Bucharest are being fleeced.
In a nutshell, the old communist-era practice of charging foreign tourists more than locals is making a comeback. Those of us who thought we’d seen the last of such nonsense when Romania joined the European Union (which strictly forbids dual-pricing for EU citizens) in 2007 need to think again.
Here are a few examples.
At Cotroceni Palace, home of Romania’s president Klaus Iohannis, foreigners are expected to pay 40 lei for the guided tour, while Romanians pay just 25 lei:
At the dusty old Geology Museum, a guided tour of the various rocks will set you back 100 lei if you are a foreigner, 50 lei if you are a local:
At the National Art Museum they really do go to town: 100 lei for locals, 200 lei for dumb foreigners:
Nicolae Ceausescu’s old house, Palatul Primaverii, which only opened to the public earlier this month, is also pulling the same trick: 30 lei for Romanians, 45 lei for foreigners.
Now, we are fairly certain that none of these museums are actually breaking any laws. They will argue that the prices are the same for everybody: that if a foreigner can understand Romanian he or she is perfectly welcome to take the Romanian tour and pay the Romanian price. Likewise, a Romanian who wanted the English tour (for whatever reason) would have to pay the ‘foreigner’ price.
While that may legally be the case, we are calling bollocks on the policy from a moral point of view, at least until we see the pay slips of the various guides. Are the guides who give the English tours at Cotroceni Palace paid more than the guides who do the Romanian tours?
We will believe it when we see it.
Meantime, hats off to Casa Poporului (home of Romania’s parliament), which charges everyone the same:
The Peasant Museum also charges the same price: 72 lei.
Finally, before everyone responds with cries of ‘but foreigners can afford it’ (we can’t, by the way), just stop for a moment and think about the reaction in these parts if a group of Romanian visitors to London were told that they had to pay more for a tour of the Tower of London than locals.