Polska pomoc

 

Development of rural tourism in the territory of Ungheni region through sustainable use of natural environment resources

The Moldovan Ungheni region borders on Romania and has a population of 111,000, of which 75,600 live in rural areas. There are 13,000 farms in the region and about 100 agriculture related businesses. The average individual farm has an area of only 1.5 ha. The owners of the smallest agricultural holdings are not able to support themselves purely from agriculture, which is why they also work in urban industrial plants. The basic crops include: cereals, legumes, vegetables and fruit, including vines.

With its rich natural and cultural resources, the Ungheni region has enormous potential for the development of rural tourism. Beautiful beech forests occupy ​​30,000 ha of the region and, in part, form the “Beech Country” National Park. The region has 32 folklore groups as well as many craftsmen engaged in sculpture, embroidery and ceramics.

The projects implemented by the Romincka Forest Foundation in the years 2015-2016 created tourist infrastructure, launched new tourist products and set up a folk bazaar. The region’s attractions were promoted internationally (at trade fairs), while those of its inhabitants engaged in the tourism industry gained new skills through training courses and study tours in Poland. A website promoting local products was developed (www.productungheni.md), new agri-tourism accommodation was created and the existing accommodation options expanded.

Moreover, the National Tourism Development Strategy 2020 (approved by the government of Moldova on 15 May 2014) recognises the importance of developing ecotourism and the need for building information centres. In turn, the Strategy of Social and Economic Development of the Ungheni Region for the years 2012-2020, approved in February 2012, pays much attention to the development of the region’s tourism potential, primarily in rural areas. The strategy paper underscores the need to support those enterprises wishing to operate in the area of rural tourism. The strategy paper also takes note of the need to improve accessibility to the region’s natural resources for the purposes of tourism through the development of the relevant infrastructure.

The implementation of the aforementioned projects led to, among other things, an increase in the number of tourists visiting the “Beech Country” National Park in recent years (1,200 in 2014 and 2,200 in 2016). The national park and the entire Ungheni region still do not offer a location where tourists can obtain complete information about the local tourist attractions.

Development of rural tourism in the territory of Ungheni region through sustainable use of natural environment resources

The project is a continuation and expansion of the measures carried out by the Romincka Forest Foundation in the Ungheni region in the years 2015-2016. The project objective is to build an Information and Educational Centre (through the refurbishment of a neglected building, which is the property of the “Beech Country” National Park) for the purposes of tourism development and the creation of a rural tourism cluster in the years 2017-2018 (a two-module project). In 2015 and 2016, the Foundation prepared a technical project detailing the renovation and adaptation of the building in order to convert it into the aforementioned centre and obtained a construction permit. The works were scheduled to take place over two years. In the first year (2017) of the project, the core and shell of the building were completed. In 2018 construction works have been completed and the centre was officialy opened on 12th November.

The centre will become the heart of rural tourism of the Ungheni District. All information on the district’s attractions and current events will be available here. The place will be used for training, workshops, conferences, presentations and exhibitions. The role of the centre will be particularly important in the aspect of the soft activities carried out by the US Forest Service, focused on building a rural tourism cluster around the “Beech Country” National Park. The actions implemented by the Americans will be based on the premises created in the centre.

Within Module II, apprenticeships for three employees of the “Beech Country” National Park were organised at the turn of July 2018, in two information and education centres: in the Romincka Forest Landscape Park and in the Wigry National Park, to acquaint the participants with the work and operation of these parks.

In the newly-opened information and education centre in the “Beech Country” National Park, a roundtable meeting is scheduled to take place in November 2018, with the participation of representatives of local governments, personnel of the “Beech Country” National Park and Moldsilva, NGO activists, people associated with the tourist industry and journalists (30 persons). The meeting will be an excellent opportunity to present the new information and education centre and to promote it. During the meeting, a discussion will be held on the future of the centre and its operation.

The project was sponsored by Polish aid with two grants in 2017 and 2018 (each about 600 000 PLN), and the total value of the project ammounted to 670 000 PLN in 2017 and 663 000 PLN in 2018.

Development of rural tourism in the territory of Ungheni region through sustainable use of natural environment resources

Within the first module of the project, which was implemented in 2017:

- construction works on the core and shell of the building designated to serve as the Information and Educational Centre were completed;

- the concept design and action plans for tourism-related services were developed: training sessions, concept and business plans for specific initiatives;

- 15 producers from around the Ungheni region received training on the principles of development of rural tourism: business activity concepts and 15 business plans were developed;

- six employees of the “Beech Country” National Park and of the local administration of Ungheni took part in a study tour of Poland for the purpose of acquainting themselves with the work of several Polish information centres.

 

The following actions took place in 2018, within Module II:

- completion of renovation in the building to be used by the information and education centre, followed by its opening for users (October 12);

Official opening of the Education and Information Center in Radeni village.

- partial furnishing of the conference room (purchase of 25 double tables and 50 chairs).

Most of the needed furnishings and installations will be successively made by the “Beech Country” National Park personnel after the completion of the project, in order to keep the entire facility in a single, local style. The park staff will also prepare various expositions and exhibitions, very much needed to promote the district and to conduct environmental education.

Moreover three employees of the “Beech Country” National Park took part in a study trip to Poland in order to become acquainted with the work of two information and education centres: in the Romincka Forest Landscape Park and in the Wigry National Park.