Rural tourism is very popular nowadays. It is practised even in such small countries as Moldova, where one can travel and stay in a traditional style guesthouse or inn. They usually offer accommodation services, restaurants, spa, swimming pools, rent a bike, excursions’ services, etc.
Six of countryside guesthouses from the Republic of Moldova have been certified and became a part of the common CerTour network formed of 12 countries in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean areas. Here are the guesthouses:
1. Eco Resort Butuceni
The inn is located in a picturesque place in Butuceni village, being classified as a 3-star guesthouse. The interior and exterior decoration of the buildings is adapted to the rustic style. In 2004, first houses were purchased, which were restored, refurbished and opened for accommodation in 2007. Nowadays, there is also a spa centre, a craft centre, conference rooms, swimming pools, a pond for fishing and a concert space.
The houses have specific architectural elements of the Old Orhei ethnographic area. Thus, some houses contain local elements of decoration, local crafts, furniture, fabrics and everyday items with a great cultural value. The natural drinks and local dishes are served in clay dishes, being prepared using natural ingredients from old traditional recipes.
2. Casa din Luncă
The guesthouse was built by the Benzing family in May 2002, in the village of Trebujeni near Old Orhei. It was the first guesthouse of its kind in the Republic of Moldova.
It is classified, according to national standards, as a 3-star guesthouse and consists of two courtyard houses. The area in the yards includes three pavilions, a playground, swings, a swimming pool and a Russian sauna.
The guesthouse is an ecological residence, choosing to reduce all types of pollution (chemical, biological, visual, olfactory or sound ones). The efficient use of energy resources is a priority for the staff and clients. Hot water is obtained by using batteries to accumulate solar energy. The heating of the rooms is ensured by the heating system with wood and biomass. The illumination of the territory is mainly done with solar lamps. The guesthouse has an ecological container for the collection of household waste, located in a specially designed space. There is also an autonomous system for capturing and evacuating rainwater.
3. Casa Verde
One of the pioneers in the field of rural tourism was the guest house “Casa Verde” built in 2001. It is a complex of 3 traditional houses where such traditions as painting Easter eggs is preserved and promoted. This craft is practised by several women from Trebujeni.
The guest house also includes a restaurant where a wide range of fresh, traditional, authentic food can be served or even prepared by visitors, along with non-alcoholic beverages (fresh compote, juices, herbal tea), as well as alcoholic beverages (homemade wines, brandy, sour cherries liquor).
4. Vila Roz
The countryside guest house was opened in 2011, in Trebujeni, after the reconstruction of the owner’s parent house. The guesthouses’s doors are open all year long, offering accommodation services in two buildings. The terrace is decorated with Moldovan carpets, table covers and other decor elements made by local craftsmen.
The guest house’s kitchen is specialised in traditional dishes, prepared from vegetables grown in the own garden and bought from local farmers. The most famous local dishes are the biscuits in the form of roses and the home-made roses jam.
5. Fata Morgana
The inn is located in Molovata village, Dubasari district. It was opened for visitors in 2012 and accommodates them during the warm season of the year, as well as during the winter holidays. It was designed and built in accordance with local architectural traditions, using traditional materials: stone, wood, clay and reed.
The complex is formed of a big house and small bungalows for relaxation and fishing, as well as a summer terrace and the wine cellar that are decorated with traditional elements such as clay pots, traditional towels, wagon wheels, etc.
The menu of the local restaurant includes traditional dishes like crabs boiled in butter, accompanied by homemade wine and cvas.
6. Hanul lui Hanganu
The guesthouse is located in Lalova, Rezina district. It started its activity in 2006, offering, at that time, accommodation services in two rooms, meal and leisure. Now it represents a set of rooms built in rustic style: walls of clay, roof covered with ceramic tiles, furniture made of natural wood and woollen carpets.
The general objective of the CerTour project is to promote rural tourism in the partner regions and to improve the quality of the offered services by introducing a common quality standard and a certification process. The guesthouses receive certification for a number of criteria: proximity to cities, security, traditional products for sale, sustainable use of natural resources, minimal impact on the environment and others.
Information source: the catalogue of certified guesthouses in the Republic of Moldova
This text is a translation. The original article can be found here.
Generation C – a documentary by Moldova.org about shepherding in Moldova and Georgia // VIDEO
At the end of January, Moldova.org presented the premiere of the documentary Generation C, a film about an occupation that was passed on from father to son – shepherding.
The documentary tells the story of Vaso and Anatolie – two men, one from the Georgian mountains and another from the south of Moldova – and displays the activity of their lives, that of their fathers, grandparents and great-grandparents. But will it be inherited by their sons as well?
Anatolie Ciobanu (his name is translated as shepherd) lives in Alexandru Ioan Cuza village, Cahul district. He has several hundred sheep and says he may run out of them one day.
Vaso Gulelauri lives in Lalisquri Village, Telavi, Georgia with his family. When he is not taking care of sheep and is not at home, he spends his time in the mountains. He has never been to the sea, because he loves the mountains too much.
In the last 20 years, the number of sheep in the Republic of Moldova has almost halved. The same thing happened in Georgia. Before the collapse of the Soviet Union, Georgia had about two million sheep. Now, the figure reaches one million only.
The documentary can be watched below:
Prieteni, astăzi publicăm documentarul „Generația C” subtitrat în limba engleză! Deci vă invităm să-l distribuiți și să-l arătați prietenilor voștri care nu vorbesc româna sau georgiana și rusa. ^_^Într-o eră a Internetului, vitezei și industrializării, doi ciobani, unul moldovean, altul georgian, ne-au împărtășit istoriile lor și ne-au vorbit despre tradiția transmisă lor de bunicii și tații lor.Pe lângă imaginile pitorești, bucuria celor doi este că încă mai pot împărtăși această cutumă cu fii lor. Dar oare vor fi cei doi oieri și ultima generație de ciobani din familiile lor? Găsiți răspunsul în documentarul nostru, „Generația C”.
Geplaatst door Moldova.org op Maandag 18 mei 2020
This text is a translation. The original article here.
Photos: Moldova.org| Tatiana Beghiu
Coronavirus drains the wine industry
Until the coronavirus pandemic, the Moldovan wine industry was flourishing. In 2019, Moldova exported 15,67 million decalitres of wine, while the total exports’ value reached 3,086 billion lei. Most of the Moldovan wine arrived in China, Romania, and the Russian Federation.
In a country where winegrowing accounts for 7% of total exports and 3% of the country’s GDP, the coronavirus pandemic has hit small producers hard, disrupting the plans of the big players of the industry as well.
About five wineries were forced to temporarily cease their activity, as their employees were massively infected with COVID-19.
On April 25, villages of Etulia and Cismichioi, from Vulcanesti district, were put into quarantine. That happened after four locals who were employed at Etulia Winery, which is part of Bostavan Wineries Group, tested positive for COVID-19. Next, it was decided to test all employees and their relatives for coronavirus – a total of 174 persons, out of which 77 were infected.
“Wine products are not essential”
83% of the wine produced in the Republic of Moldova last year was exported. Data for March showed that export volume decreased by 9% and export value by 11%, as compared to the same period in 2019.
According to the evaluations made by the National Office for Vine and Wine (NOVV), this year exports of wine products may decrease by 30% or even 50%, as compared to 2019.
Head of the Policy and Regulation Service in the Field of Wine Products Sector within the Ministry of Agriculture, Liliana Dascaliuc, said that exports were reduced by 20% in the first three months of 2020, although the data are preliminary. “Winegrowing will be affected in the same way as the entire agriculture, even the whole economy. Wine and wine products are not essential,” commented the expert.
Vlada Vutcarau is the co-founder of the ATU urban winery, a family business that produces up to 40 000 bottles a year. The coronavirus pandemic and the state of emergency have reduced sales by 90%, while the tourism activity has zero income. “We are talking about huge losses. We continue to produce, but the revenues come from sales, not from production,” explained Vlada.
However, there is a positive aspect – according to the young woman – the business has moved online and “we focused on the local producer. When buying local, we invest in our people and the money stays in the country.”
88% of Moldovan companies are negatively affected by the declining demand for products and services, said a study of the US Chamber of Commerce.
So, the authorities have implemented some measures to support economic agents, including wineries. These measures include reducing the VAT rate from 20% to 15% for the hotels, restaurants and catering sector.
The co-founder of ATU winery, Vlada Vutcarau, claimed that the supporting state measures do not help them that much.
“We do not receive visitors. Therefore, we do not generate VAT. This reduction does not provide any benefit at the moment, because we do not record any income anyway. We do not have the revenue, from which to save those 5% and distribute them to salaries.”
She also believes that the measures announced by the authorities represent political games and the state avoids taking responsibility. “Maybe it can’t afford it.”
Trouble never comes alone, as the co-founder of the winery believes. This year’s drought worries her just as much. “Time will tell us what we will be able to harvest this autumn. There could be an even bigger crisis,” she said.
Corn instead of grapes
On April 10, the Commission for Emergency Situations adopted Provision No. 16. One of the included regulations concerned the subsidy mechanism for economic agents: the enterprises that have totally or partially stopped their activity would be granted a subsidy in the amount of the paid income tax, along with other social contributions.
The director of the Milestii Mici winery, Viorel Garaz, wondered if the state has financial resources to subsidise entrepreneurs. “As long as the economic agents do not work at all or carry their activity to a very small extent, their contributions to the state budget are very small. If the subsidies are not paid immediately, the companies will shut down their activity and will no longer need them,” explained the specialist.
The Milestii Mici winery produced almost 1,2 million bottles of wine in 2019, out of which almost 60% were exported. Following the pandemic hit, the company recorded a 60% decrease in sales on the local market. Exports fell by 40% and, since March 8, the winery has not been visited by any tourists.
“Our plans for one year or two have been turned upside down: to extend the restaurant, to acquire electric vehicles, to plant vines, to open a network of stores. The saved money went to rent, salaries and utilities’ payment.”
COVID-19 diminished the budget for planting vines. Milestii Mici winery decided to sow 36 ha of corn instead of the Feteasca variety of grape.
Also, the winery had to terminate the contracts with several retired employees. The overall number of workers was reduced from 206 to 142. “We cannot pay the indemnity for technical unemployment to pensioners. They at least have a pension, but young people who stay at home with their children … We decided to pay them at least something,” said Viorel Garaz.
The underground galleries of Milestii Mici are located at a depth of 85 m and have a total length of 200 km. They store almost 2 million bottles, which is why it has reached the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s largest wine collection by number of bottles.
Challenges over time
The state of emergency in the Republic of Moldova is not the first hit to winemakers. In 2006, Russia banned the import of wines because it would not have complied with sanitary regulations. At that time, almost 80% of the total wine production was exported to Russia. Estimates showed that the embargo losses exceeded $ 100 million.
Next, in 2013, three months before signing the Association Agreement with the European Union, Russia put again an embargo on Moldovan wines.
“It is a crisis that affects us all and we have to contribute by consuming more local wine. Behind a bottle of wine is an entire industry: there are vine growers, people who work in production, winemakers, people in the laboratory. Besides, there is the glass industry, the cardboard packaging industry, there are people who deal with label design and so on. Buying a bottle of wine, in fact, maintains an entire chain of several sectors,” commented the author of the finewine.md blog and wine expert, Andrei Cibotari.
This text is a translation. The original article here.
Photo: Wine of Moldova
Warnings of travel companies from Moldova – a moratorium required and protests to be organised
The tourism industry in Moldova is heavily affected by the pandemic crisis. Beside the fact that the sales decline has broken all records, more and more tourists demand trips cancelling and refund of advance payments.
Taking into consideration the current situation, business entities operating in the tourism sector claimed they can’t afford paying tourists the money for contracts signed before mid-March back. They called for a moratorium to be imposed and announced a demonstration to be organised on the first day after the state of emergency is lifted in the Republic of Moldova – May 15.
Through the #SOStourismMoldova event, tourism companies together with the National Association of Travel Agencies aim to ask the Government, the Parliament and the President of the country to get involved in finding ways of solving the tourism sector problems.
“We ask the authorities to introduce a moratorium for a period of 540 days for the service contracts signed until March 17 or an emergency bill to be voted by the Parliament, which would allow us to make the refunds within an extended period of up to 540 days,” is specified in the request.
Travel agents and tour operators organising international trips informed that the collected through the signed contracts money have been already transferred to various service providers abroad. Without a moratorium, there are high chances of tourism businesses’ insolvency and, as a consequence, a whole industry crash is possible.
“We do not ask for state money. We demand a moratorium. We want to return the tourists’ money and not to become insolvent. We want to recover and continue working at home.”
As an answer, Prime Minister Ion Chicu announced the tourism companies about the Government’s intention to support their lending capacity by offering state guarantees in the amount of up to 50% of the value of the necessary pledge and interest subsidies. “In the coming days, the Executive will examine a set of measures in this regard,” it is said in a press release of the Government.
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