In Moldova the bleisure segment shows high business perspectives

As it can be deduced from the report “Travel & Tourism Economic Impact 2017” of the World Travel & Tourism Council, tourism in Moldova still has interesting growth opportunities.¬† In fact, in 2016 the tourism direct contribution to GDP was about 64mn euros (MDL 1.3bn), namely a small 1%. The WTTC expects this figure to grow up to 118mn euros (MDL 2.4bn) by 2027, representing 1,2% of GDP. The total contribution, which included the indirect and induced ones, was 220.6mn euros (MDL 4.5bn), namely 3,4% of GDP.

The weak performances of Moldavian tourism sector are also described by the “Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017” published by the World Economic Forum, which ranks the Country 117th out of 136 analysed Countries for tourism competitiveness. According to the same report, strong points of Moldova as a tourism destination are the high price competitiveness (32nd), convenient air fares and airport taxes (43rd) and the attention paid to the sustainable development of the tourism industry (54th). On the other hand, the most important weak points are the government policies for tourism (120th), the relative closure towards international openness (119th) and the quality of air transport infrastructure (110th). This topic is also elaborated in the report “Travel in Moldova” realised by Euromonitor International, which highlights how Wizz Air is the only low-cost airline operating in the Country. The same report outlines that international tourism flows towards Moldova, registering about 112.000 arrivals in 2016, were negatively influenced by the unsteady political scenario in Ukraine, which is the main origin market for this Country, and that last year represented 13,5% of the total arrivals, only passed by Romania (25%). Finally, Euromonitor concludes that the Moldavian Government should aim to improve its marketing campaigns to promote the Country as a tourism destination, as the present policies don’t help its attractiveness. This topic is also confirmed by the World Economic Forum, which ranks Moldavia 134th for its present destination branding strategies.

Destination Moldova has a notable demand for business tourism. In fact, as reported by the WTTC, in 2016 the tourism expense in this segment represented 43,9% of direct Travel & Tourism GDP, and it is expected to grow by 5,8% by 2027.

Even if there is not a real Development Plan for tourism, the Moldavian Government included this subject into other Strategic Plans. In “Moldova 2020”, for example, the improvement of destination marketing activities and the desirable increase of international tourism flows is seen as one of the key factors to the economic growth and the reduction of the poverty conditions affecting the Country. Recently, the Government signed a cooperation agreement on tourism with Georgia, aiming to strengthen tourism flows in the Country.

Moldova is trying to promote itself as a tourism destination to the international market, taking part in several trade shows. During the last BIT 2017 Milan, for example, Moldova presented itself to the Italian market with ANTRIM, the national association for incoming tourism. Following the same strategy, the Country participated in Frankfurt’s IMEX.

According to the UK Foreign Travel Advice, Moldova is a safe destination, even if possible terrorism threats deriving from international terrorism cannot be excluded. Also the crime rate is low although the UK Foreign Travel Advice recommends caution in the most crowded places, for instance Chisinau airport.

At Twissen we observed that the tourism demand towards Moldavia is divided into leisure and business . For this reason, the Country has interesting room for development products in the bleisure segment, which, if supported by appropriate Government policies, could guarantee higher numbers of tourism flows, more overnights to the Country and a higher tourist expense.