Fact Sheet: Moldova Competitiveness Project. Tourism Industry.

Speeches Shim

USAID, Moldova, Economic Growth, Tourism Industry Sector, Pension
Owner of "Vila Rose" Pension in Orheiul Vechi
USAID, Moldova Competitiveness Project

The project helps develop Moldova’s tourism infrastructure, diversify products, leverage international awareness, and facilitate a business enabling environment to spur regional growth.

To stimulate economic prosperity, USAID and Sweden support sustainable tourism development in Moldova. Moldova is the least visited country in Europe, unknown to potential tourists and lacking adequate tourism infrastructure. Properly organized and supported, the tourism sector in Moldova could grow 10-fold in the next 10 years, contributing up to 3% in GDP growth by stimulating business development, job creation and attracting foreign tourist dollars.

Moldova has a distinctive culture, rich heritage and a reputation for warm hospitality, sound footing for developing a thriving tourism economy. The Moldova Competitiveness Project (MCP) focuses on leveraging Moldova’s prime tourism assets – wine, gastronomy and rural life – into an engine of economic growth in even the most remote rural regions, contributing to a reduction in poverty and migration.

Major areas of support

MCP has a complex and transformational approach to building capacity at every level of the industry, from tourism providers to industry associations and policy makers. MCP’s tourism strategy provides year-round opportunities, creating a sustainable industry attractive to a range of international markets.


Wine Tourism is the key driver of foreign leisure visitors to the country, and 71% of tourists’ most valued experience of Moldova is ‘local hospitality’. MCP’s strategy focuses on the synergistic development of wine tourism, gastronomy, rural and ‘soft adventure’, leveraging the project’s existing investments in the wine sector.


Moldova lacks European-quality accommodation, activities and other tourism products with the potential to attract high-spending tourists for long periods of time. MCP delivers a suite of programs to prototype rural and wine tourism products, fostering quality growth, innovation, diversification and expansion of services, including Bed & Breakfasts, craft centers, wineries and festivals. Soft adventure activities, such as biking and hiking tours, sporting events, and interactive experiences are being developed around the main wine hubs, enriching Moldova’s tourism offer.


Moldova’s most visited tourist destination, Orheiul Vechi, has the potential to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. MCP assists the Ministry of Culture in the preservation and management of Orheiul Vechi, and supports initiatives to attract thousands of local and international visitors to the site, including a three-day opera festival, DescOpera.


MCP works closely with the Moldovan Government, tour operators and other value chain players to enhance Moldova’s image as a tourism destination, and increase demand in the international marketplace. Targeted marketing campaigns in regional and European source markets, familiarization trips to achieve positive foreign media coverage for Moldova, and participation in international trade fairs to strengthen business ties between Moldovan tour operators and their international counterparts all aim to increase the numbers of foreign tourists each year.  


Moldova’s tourism legal framework requires profound restructuring to align with international best practices, engaging public-private partnership models, and reducing barriers to entry for businesses such as rural B&Bs. To insure the sustainability of the industry itself, MCP strengthens the capacity of inbound tourism business associations such as ANTRIM, and facilitates transparent dialog with the Moldovan Government, allowing private sector associations to advocate for better business practices and respond to changes in legislation affecting the industry.

Key achievements

  • Moldova placed as one of Europe’s ‘top-10 must-visit destinations’ only four years after being declared Europe’s ‘least visited’, following multi-faceted international marketing under the ‘Tree of Life’ national tourism brand. The project continues to focus on extensive promotional activities in target markets Romania, Poland and Italy;
  • Moldova has begun to see increased numbers of foreign visitors and tourists, with 17 percent average growth during 2016-2017, reaching up to 3.2 million visitors and 121,000 tourists;
  • Innovative social media campaign #BeOurGuest received 2 million hits in target markets in just one week, driving 25,000 unique visitors to the national tourism portal;
  • Number of rural B&Bs and wineries with tourism services has doubled, following essential upgrades to meet international accommodation standards and improve visitor experiences. Tourists to assisted B&Bs have tripled, and wineries record 50 percent more visitors;
  • Flagship festivals and cultural events, such as ‘National Wine Day’ and ‘DescOpera’ attract over 150,000 international and local visitors each year, serving as an engine for tourism;
  • The Moldovan Government, in partnership with tourism business associations, has embarked on a strategic and game-changing reform to improve tourism business environment.