This is a press release from the Romanian Federation of Tourism and Service Employers:
[L]ocal authorities in Transylvania understood that the Dracula myth represents an unrivaled vehicle for promoting tourism in this region. Building on this should be spectacular and uninhibited by such preconceptions that kept hidden in a drawer until now the most valuable country brand of Romania.
It’s true that they have not done a great job at marketing this idea for tourism. Paranormal/horror/entertainment tourism is big business – consider Loch Ness, Siberia, Salem and Roswell. I’m not at all surprised by this and there is nothing really wrong with it. The attitude is a bit concerning…
The Dracula brand existed for a long time, we only need to exploit it and wrap it properly and then sell it in a modern manner. The highest problem so far in doing this was the hesitation of a certain part of the public opinion in associating Romania with the legend surrounding Vlad Tepes.
Exploit? Ok… People are interested in the legend but it gets dicey when the legend becomes detached from historic reality. I’m curious if they will focus on the horror of Vlad Tepes (it’s a good point they don’t wish to associate themselves with that) and how it will be linked with the literary Dracula. It’s not a bad idea at all but it can go horribly wrong. Remember the Dracula theme park idea?
Check out this piece from Smithsonian from 2003 on this exact issue and why Carpathians are a bit torn on the idea.
See Bran Castle on Wikipedia.