When it comes to authentic outdoor and adventure tours, Romania has a lot to offer. From secular forests to incredible wildlife, or remote empty beaches, it is a land of legends and extraordinary natural landscapes. Oxigen Tour is one of the tour operators specialized in outdoor and adventure travel tours here in Romania. I had an interview with one of the owners of the company, Andrei Voicu. This is what he told me about their story and how the epidemic situation is affecting their activity and the tourism industry in Romania.
When I created this blog, one of the primary purposes was to promote responsible tourism and trusted tour operators and service providers who can offer you unforgettable experiences. All of it while making sure you are safe and benefiting from optimal transport and accommodation services. If until now my articles were mostly oriented towards the destinations and experiences, now I think it’s the right moment to focus on the people. Those people who make sure we have our best times during our holidays.
What’s the story behind the business?
Oxigen’s story started nine years ago. A group of friends who loved traveling decided that they would like to make a living out of it. Whenever I hear a story that starts like that, I realize that behind the business lies passion. It is the driver for them to continue doing what they love the most.
Oxigen Association – the NGO
First, they created the Oxigen Association. The NGO had as a primary purpose to promote national tourism and ecology in Romania. Their projects consisted of preparation of specific mountain trails for tourists or finding sponsorships for local educational initiatives. “The Little Ranger” was one of their initial projects. The NGO implemented it in two Romanian villages, Pestera and Magura. It consisted of ecology and tourism classes in the local schools in the area. The purpose was to motivate the children and teenagers to stay in the villages, find tourism-related jobs, and to help the development and protection of the area.
The NGO was also offering official classes and certifications for travel guides. In this way, they started creating a small community.
Oxigen Tour – the travel agency
After a while, naturally, Oxigen Tour – the travel agency was created. It was the beginning of 2016. Their focus was, of course, on outdoor activities, backpacking, and adventure travel tours in Romania. Mountaineering was the principal area they were addressing. Before communism ended in Romania, in 1989, backpacking in the Carpathians mountains was the only way Romanians could travel and probably one of the very few ways they could relax, as they didn’t have access to so many resources as they have today. The backpacking culture was already existing, and people of all ages were used to have weekend escapades into the mountains.
After a while, there was an increasing interest from Romanian travelers in discovering remote and exotic destinations, in the same way. Not only did they want to see these exotic destinations, but they also wanted adventure. So, Oxigen Tour added new programs in its portfolio.
Now, people want to live more, experience more, and try new, risky activities without putting their lives in danger. They can do so by going on a holiday outside Romania, with a trusted tour operator. So, you can test your limits in a way that you probably wouldn’t if you were all by yourself or only with your friends.
I Go Romania – adventure travel tours in Romania for foreign travelers.
If you’re not Romanian and reading this article, then you must know that the agency has a unique project for travelers like you, wanting to discover the culture, traditions, and natural beauties of Romania. You will find on the IGoRomania website information about Romania, trip ideas, F.A.Q., and different adventure travel tours.
I recommend you check out the website if you are planning to visit Romania anytime after the epidemic. It contains useful information and can be an excellent start point for planning your trip.
Otherwise, feel free to contact them directly and ask for information. The team will be more than happy to answer all your questions. And you can also join local tours with Romanian groups if you wish. Most of us speak English, so it will be easy for you to feel included. 🙂
The Oxigen team is a joyful community of travel guides. Most of them took their certification through Oxigen NGO. Others were loyal customers, who decided they wanted to take their passion for travel and adventure to the next level. So they too got the travel guide or mountain guide certification and joined the travel agency’s team. Now, how cool is that? ?
Andrei and Diana are currently managing the business and are happily joining every adventure and holiday they can.
What I liked about them and Oxigen’s team is not only the love and passion they have for nature and the outdoor but also the fact that they respect the natural environment. Their purpose is also to give something back to local communities in Romania, through projects of the Oxigen Association.
How they face the present situation
There is no secret that all travel agencies face a difficult time and stop their activity during the current crisis. Some big travel businesses are buying accommodation or holiday packages from foreign partners for many months in advance to get the best price. Now they find themselves in difficulty. Most partners have already invested the money in their own business. It is why it is now difficult for them to respond positively to the refound requests coming from their customers.
Andrei explained that their strategy was not to buy services with so much time in advance, but as the tourists confirmed their registration. In the current context, it proved to be helpful. The majority of their customers understood the situation and agreed to receive a voucher, valid for two years, and to use it at a later time.
Unfortunately, we don’t have any precise measures taken by the Romanian Government for the moment to support the local travel businesses. In case customers ask for a refund, travel operators don’t have any solution for the moment, as the external partners also offer vouchers.
How do they see the travel industry evolving after the epidemic?
When I asked Andrei this question, his first response was that Oxigen Tour would not start any traveling programs before the public announcement that it is safe to travel again. I find this attitude to be responsible and correct towards their customers. There is nothing more important than all of us to stay healthy and to enjoy our holidays safely.
In Andrei’s opinion, after the restrictions are lifted, we can expect to see a gradual increase in local holidays, inside the country. All of us need nature, and after such a long time staying isolated in our homes, for sure, we will need to go backpacking or camping into the mountains. We can expect, though, that social distancing to remain present in our lives, even after the epidemic. It could significantly change the way we use transportation services or accommodation facilities. And for sure, it will change how we socialize with each other.
When asked if they would consider virtual tours as an alternative solution until things get back to normal, he answered that it is something they are thinking about. Oxigen guides could go into the mountains and offer to the people who are still in their homes the possibility to experience “virtual hikes.”
Until then, the Oxigen Tour’s team is very active on their social media channels. Feel free to follow them and join the virtual activities: