Colorful Rio-style carnivals, offshore artificial islands and luxury hotel-cum-apartment complexes – these are just some elements of a development plan underway to make Romania’s largest Black Sea port a mecca for tourists, according to Mayor of Constanta, Radu Mazare.
Under what many consider a ‘flamboyant style of leadership’ over the last 13 years – after enjoying the Rio Carnival he introduced a mini-version in Constanta’s Mamaia resort last year - Romania’s second largest city has seen considerable tourism growth with younger visitors attracted by the dynamic nightclubs, so much so that it surpassed Ibiza, Saint-Tropez and other venues across 200 countries as the ‘World’s Most Fashionable Resort’ at last year’s Monaco International Clubbing Show.
In an exclusive interview Mazare promised even more.
“Plans are underway to extend the beach area by building four artificial islands a kilometer offshore,” he said, dressed in swimming shorts and smoking a Cuban cigar while relaxing with staff at one of Mamaia’s many cafes (see photo). “Each island will have an area of around ten thousand square meters and will provide all the services tourists want – bars, restaurants, shops, cafes and night-clubs.”
Mazare said the project would take place in two stages – stage one, two islands, costing around 150 million Euro, would be finished in two to three years (2015/16) and the second stage the same amount of time and costing around the same, in 2018/19. People would reach the islands via pontoons.
While Mamaia is considered an Ibiza-style resort, Mayor Mazare said he was introducing a stronger luxury element. “We already have several five-star hotels – Mamaia, Vega, Marina Regia as well as a number of four-star hotels such as the Iaki and Phoenicia but at least two more five-star hotel complexes will be opened next year,” he said. “One will consist of a hotel and 300 square meter plush apartments.”
Constanta already has a yacht club, in the port of Tomis, a Romanian-Turkish joint venture that opened last year at a cost of around seven million Euro, he said. Thirty boats are now docked there with capacity of about 120. Next year, a second marina is to be built at cost of eleven million Euro, Mazare continued. He added that plans are also under discussion to build a three million Euro canal linking the Black Sea with Mamaia Lake nearby so tourists can enjoy both fresh and seawater leisure activities.
To further improve the ambiance of Constanta, the 45-year-old newspaper publisher and TV station owner and former member of parliament, added that the city‘s pedestrian area will be extended by six to seven kilometers with a new street lighting system installed.
“We have two to three times more tourists coming here every year since I became Mayor, now it’s time to expand those numbers even more,” he said, walking to the seashore and accepting the challenge to stand up paddle surf (SUP). Slim and athletic, he managed to master the hefty waves, not falling off the board once.