Web Presence Invigorates Tourism in Georgia, Agriculture in Tajikistan
Small business owners from across Eurasia are reaching new customers and increasing their business contacts through websites they’ve created as a result of training from the IREX-administered Internet Access and Training Program (IATP). Two prominent examples include a hotel-owners’ website in Georgia and an agricultural assistance site in Tajikistan.
This past September, IATP in Georgia hosted a training for over 100 hoteliers and other small business owners looking to expand the reach of their promotional campaigns. Although Georgia is well known for its tourism value, hotel owners in particular have a difficult time reaching out to potential clients, but with the help of informational websites, their business is quickly growing. In a cooperative effort to support tourism in the country, Georgians banded together to create the Places website, which has brought over 50 small hotels and guesthouses online through a modern online portal that helps them attract foreign tourists. The majority of hotels’ international guests are now are now making reservations as a result of information they found online. Additionally, the hotels and guesthouses have created their own websites, linked through Places. “For the first time since the foundation of my hotel, we had tourists from Israel, Poland, and China,” commented Tamaz Zoidze, owner of the hotel llikos, located in the Adjara region. “They found information about our hotel through the Places website. Currently we are creating new brochures where we intend to add our website address, which hopefully will increase the number of tourists for the next year as well.”
Rustam Nasriddinov, director of Lola Farming House in Tajikistan, created a website for his organization with the web-design skills he obtained at the IATP center in Dushanbe this past October. The online resource contains information about the farming house and useful materials and tips for farmers, as well as a photo gallery. Nasriddinov commented on his plans for the website, “It will enable us to make contact with partners abroad, hopefully. We can also use it to inform farmers during the selection of seeds and sowing of grain crops.”
For over ten years, IREX has implemented IATP across Eurasia. Formerly a program of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the US Department of State, IATP is now funded by USAID and administered by IREX in 10 countries.