30 young people will bring digital innovation to rural tourism at the Explore Pohrebea Hackathon

July 20, 2023

30 young people from Moldova’s community of IT professionals and rural tourism enthusiasts are participating in the Explore Pohrebea Hackathon on 20 and 21 July. The event is organized by UNDP Moldova and Switzerland, within the framework of the project "Resilient and inclusive markets in Moldova". The event aims to engage young professionals in developing digital solutions for promoting rural tourism, developing local businesses and providing authentic experiences for tourists.

"Rural tourism has a dual role; it provides authentic experiences and a connection with nature, but also contributes to economic development and improves the life of the local community. Switzerland supports the development of infrastructure and tourism experiences that result in improved living conditions and job creation in these communities. We are glad that the hackathon participants share with us their admiration for these places and their desire to explore their tourism potential to the fullest. We will continue to support the implementation of innovative ideas with a sustainable impact in Pohrebea and all the beneficiary localities," said Guido Beltrani, Director of the Swiss Cooperation Office in Chișinău.

Participants will work in teams to propose digital platforms that contribute to:

  • Promoting the region as a weekend destination, highlighting the local attractions and facilitating accommodation for a minimum of two nights
  • Personalising travel experiences in the region, allowing users to select activities, receive recommendations and book online
  • Informing the local community about funding opportunities, grants and jobs available in Pohrebea and surrounding villages, with detailed information about requirements and the application process
  • Promoting local products from the region, local artisans and farmers, and integration of a payment system as well as delivery options, thus stimulating the local economy and facilitating the purchase of authentic products from the area.

“We are very proud to see how vibrant is this community, knowing that we have also contributing to Pohrebea, a village of less than 1000 inhabitants, being one of the fastest growing rural tourism destination in Moldova, succeeding to attract over 50,000 visitors in 2022,” mentioned Daniela Gasparikova, UNDP Resident Representative to the Republic of Moldova.

“UNDP has a rich history of working with young professionals and organizing hackathons, creativity labs, summer camps and other collaborative events to address various developmental challenges. We recognize the immense potential that young professionals possess in driving innovation and finding creative solutions to complex problems,” added Gasparikova.

The teams will be guided by experienced IT mentors and will present their solutions to the jury on the second day of the hackathon on 21 July. The three teams with the highest score will receive prizes and the solutions developed will then be eligible for funding under the UNDP-Switzerland project "Resilient and inclusive markets in Moldova".

"One of the priorities of the Ministry of Economic Development and Digitalisation is to develop the economy at an accelerated pace, eliminate bureaucracy, digitalise processes and support entrepreneurs by creating an enabling environment for development. Recently, the Government adopted the Support Programme for the Development of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises in Tourism. Thus, we can talk about more businesses in the tourism sector, local economic development and the creation of more jobs. This will encourage innovation, entrepreneurship and sustainable development of these businesses, which will have a positive impact on the national economy. Events like today's contribute to consolidating knowledge and experience in the field of digitisation and entrepreneurship towards inclusive and sustainable economic development," said Vlad Șuleanschi, Advisor, Ministry of Economic Development and Digitalisation.

The village of Pohrebea was selected as a beneficiary locality of the project "Resilient and inclusive markets in Moldova", as part of the microcluster "Heart of Nistru", aimed at developing rural tourism. The community will benefit from assistance in specialising in rural tourism and creating a competitive tourism cluster by strengthening and expanding this local value chain.

In 2019-2022, the village of Pohrebea, as part of the commune of Coșnița, has benefited from the support of the UNDP project "Migration and local development", funded by Switzerland, in the implementation of the local economic development agenda. The project focuses on the promotion of rural tourism, as well as on the strengthening of the local native association and the involvement of the diaspora in community development projects.

The commune of Coșnița, with support from UNDP and Sweden, has also received support to modernise the local waste management service.

Several guesthouse owners have also benefited from grants from UNDP, Switzerland and Sweden for the development of accommodation and related services.