Republic of Georgia Small and Medium Enterprise Support Project
IESC’s work in the Georgia SME Support Project helped stimulate the growth and development of small- and medium-sized enterprises in Georgia, with a focus on the tourism sector. This assistance included working at the national government level, supporting tourism associations, working at the enterprise level, and providing grants to support all segments of the tourism value chain. A key initiative included supporting a nationwide Tourism Inventory Assessment Project, which was conducted jointly with the Department of Tourism and Resorts and AmCham Georgia. The project also established a tourism association in Abastumani to better promote and market the area as one of Georgia’s four-season tourist destinations. The SME support project provided technical assistance and hands-on support in developing promotional materials and publications as well as assisted in the set-up of a Tourism-Oriented Small Business Incubator. IESC held educational seminars about hotel administration, restaurant services, and tour guiding. This $10.3 million dollar program was funded by USAID.
Zambia Market Access Trade and Enabling Policies Project (MATEP)
The USAID-funded Zambia Market Access, Trade and Enabling Policies (MATEP) program worked to improve Zambia’s exporting capacity and revenues in several sectors. IESC was responsible for the tourism component of this program. Through long-term staff and short-term experts, IESC helped Zambia attract tourists and develop cultural and community tourism to get tourists beyond the famous Victoria Falls and into the rural areas for traditional festivals and natural beauty. IESC worked closely with the stakeholders in Zambian tourism, including private tourism agents, government ministries and organizations, NGOs, and foreign missions to coordinate assets available to the industry and address needs at each level. IESC’s emphasis on destination marketing for the country as a whole fostered collaboration among the segments of the tourism industry. This shift in strategy broadened the tourism sector’s focus and allowed Zambian tourism to access new and larger markets and to build a stronger national image as a destination. In addition, IESC built the capacity of tourism providers through a series of training events on topics such as customer care, websites, and trade shows.