Bloodthirsty advertising

Romania hopes to take a big bite out of British tourists' wallets thanks to royal connections with the real Dracula.

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As tourism campaigns go, this one has real bite. In a bid to lure more British tourists, the central European nation of Romania is highlighting the relationship between the UK royal family and the prince who inspired the creation of Count Dracula.

Dracula author Bram Stoker is believed to have based his vampire character on Vlad III, Prince of Walachia - better known as "Vlad the Impaler" for his rather nasty method of getting rid of his enemies. Britain's current Prince of Wales, Charles, has acknowledged a blood connection to Prince Vlad via his great-grandmother, Queen Mary. She was a princess of Teck, part of the former German kingdom of Württemberg, before she married Britain's George V.

Now, according to UK newspaper reports, the Romanian tourist authority is promoting that family connection at the World Travel Market, which opened in London yesterday.

The idea is to encourage Brits to soak up some of their shared heritage by visiting sites associated with Vlad, the scion of the House of Draculesti, who is said to have had tens of thousands of people killed.

We just hope that the Romanian tourist operators have no intention of sucking their victims - sorry, visitors - dry.