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TSD/March 28, 2001

The new Minister of Tourism, Sir Matei Agathon Dan, held the same position between 1992-1996, and was instrumental in the success of the first World Dracula Congress of 1995.

The Transylvanian Society of Dracula has made him a Knight of Count Dracula Order, accepting him in the Inner Circle (decisional body) of the society.

Sir Matei Agathon Dan has grasped the impact made by the name "Dracula" and decided to harness it in the promotional campaign of tourist Romania. Already, a new "Dracula" brochure was printed and distributed at various international exhibitions (financed by the Ministry of Tourism and by "Coroana Tours" - led by Mr. Valer Samihaian, president of the TSD chapter in Bistrita).

The Romanian booth at the ITB - Berlin, shared TSD’s "Indulgences" and "After-Life Insurances", delighting-scaring visitors with a personification of the Count (actor Petre Moraru has a striking resemblance to Christopher Lee).

But the determination of the Minister to spearhead the promotional campaign with the name "Dracula" is best shown by his intention to create a "Dracula-land" somewhere in Transylvania (Valahia is not excluded), along a brand-new Black Sea-side resort South of the Danube Delta.

TSD has been invited to advise on the location and contents of the "Dracula-land", along other institutions, personalities, non-governmental organizations.

The Ministry of Tourism advanced - as a possible location - the area of Castle Bran-Moeciu, for its solid infrastructure (the resort of Poiana Brasov, the mediaeval city of Brasov, several villages reputed for rural holidays; then the castle of Bran, of recent associations with the name Dracula, the great fortified churches of Prejmer, Harman; mediaeval Sighisoara, Fagaras, Sibiu - within a 2-

hour drive radius; finally - the convenient distance to the airport in Bucuresti: 3 hours away).

The Ministry announced the formation of a task-team, collecting offers (land), ideas, information on infrastructure - about Bran/Moeciu, Sighisoara, Bistrita, the Borgo Pass and other areas (Poienari — Curtea de Arges, in Valahia).

The TSD advised the Ministry that Castle Bran cannot prove its connection with either Bram Stoker’s vampire-count (no mention of it in the novel "Dracula"), or with the historical Vlad Dracula (no documents attesting Vlad’s presence there; the memory of the place does not recall Vlad, as it does at Poienari).

If the Ministry insists on Bran-Moeciu, TSD advised the creation of a "Legend-land of Transylvania" (the main legends), Dracula inclulded - but reduced to an orientation role, toward Bram Stoker’s area (Bistrita, Borgo pass) or the historical Vlad Dracula. TSD opted for a full-blown Dracula-land around Castle Dracula in the Borgo Pass, in spite of logistic inconveniences.

The task-group has a deadline: the TSD symposium of May 9-11, in Sighisoara, when the Ministry of Tourism will announce the location, the contents of the Dracula-land, the investors and other details about this major project of the Romanian tourism industry.

TSD will keep its members abreast of the latest developments.

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