Increasing the Competitiveness of Tourism in Romania
What: Through CHF International, SW Associates provided a broad range of technical assistance for the USAID-funded Enterprise Development and Strengthening (EDS) Program for tourism development in Romania. The tourism project covered the regions of Maramures, Sibiu, Mures, Brasov and Bucovina.
Partners and clients in this project included Medium and Small Enterpriese working in tourism, including accommodations, travel agencies, shops, restaurants, tour guides/operators, craftsmen and ancillary services as well as tourism associations, Chambers of Commerce, business support organizations, visitor centers, regional development agencies and local government.
Technical assistance provided to the tourism sector may include, but will not be limited to:
- Direct Technical Assistance to MSMEs in areas such as quality, customer service, marketing, linkages with foreign travel agencies
- Asset Mapping of the tourism sector in Maramures
- Development of a tourism portal to provide accurate, updated access to information about tourism opportunities and MSMEs in Maramures
- Sponsoring of visits by international travel agents and travel writers to promote specific packages and to establish direct linkages with local tour operators
- Tourism fairs – Support participation in national and European tourism fairs through training and direct financial assistance
- Identification of Legal/Tax Issues & problems facing the tourism industry
- Cooperation with Business Service Organizations (BSO) and NGOs to advocate for necessary changes at the national level
- Development of micro-regional public relations skills and marketing materials, including production of brochures and preparation for participation in tourism fairs
- Strategic planning with key players in tourism
- Facilitate access to credit for MSMEs working in the tourism industry.
- Strengthening coordination among stakeholders in establishing and pursuing a rural tourism strategy
- Development and tracking of baseline tourism statistics for CHF assisted tourism regions
Assistance involved close collaboration with local and national tourism associations, chambers of commerce, public agencies, local and national government and MSMEs, including:
- Bed & Breakfast Association
- ANTREC – Association of Rural Tourism
- Chambers of Commerce
- Peace Corps
- Public authorities (i.e. mayors, city halls, etc)
- National Tourism Authority
- ANAT – Association of Tour Operators
- GTZ – German technical assistance organization
Highlighted Results included:
- Arranged for Romania to be designated as one of the first National Geographic Geotourism Destinations
- Launched “Greetings from Romania” campaign with support from Hewlett Packard and Junior Achievement. The campaign launch was coordinated with World Tourism Day and the signing of a Geotourism Agreement with National Geographic.
- Conducted workshops on quality, customer service, and marketing.
- Helped establish linkages with foreign travel agencies and tour operators.
- Conducted a rapid assessment of the tourism sector in Maramures.
- Assisted with the development of a tourism portal for travelers interested in Romania.
- Provided guidance and training on tourism fairs, including the World Travel Market and the Romania International Tourism Fair.
- Developed Tourism Communications Toolkit for use with the development of public relations programs and marketing materials, including production of brochures.
- Helped establish a rural tourism strategy
- Developed baseline tourism statistics for CHF assisted tourism regions.