DMO Launch in Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti
Georgian National Tourism Administration and USAID/Zrda will Launch the Destination Management Organization in Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region! USAID Zrda Chief of Party Brian King and Head of Georgian National Tourism Administration (GNTA) Giorgi Chogovadze joined the Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti Deputy Governor Nino Vibliani and the Mayors of the regional municipalities to announce intention to launch the Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti Destination Management Organization (DMO) designed to position and market the region as one of Georgia’s premier tourism destinations.
First Destination Management Organization in Georgia
Georgian National Tourism Administration and USAID/Zrda will Launch the First Destination Management Organization in Georgia! Deputy Chief of Mission Elizabeth Rood and Head of Georgian National Tourism Administration (GNTA) Giorgi Chogovadze joined the Samtskhe-Javakheti Governor Besik Amiranashvili to announce about their intention to launch the first in Georgia Destination Management Organization (DMO) designed to position and market Samtskhe-Javakheti as one of Georgia’s premier tourism destinations.
BP Georgia and Zrda to Support Communities
BP Georgia and USAID Zrda Activity to Support Communities across Georgia! On November 16, 2018, Deputy Chief of Mission Elizabeth Rood and BP Country Manager for Georgia Chris Schlueter joined Samtskhe-Javakheti Governor Besik Amiranashvili to familiarize with the opportunities of economic and social growth in Zemo Skhvilisi village of the Akhlatsikhe Municipality.
Recently, USAID Zrda in partnership with BP Georgia has launched joint program in 41 villages where BP and Zrda activities overlap, including village Zemo Skhvilisi. Joint program will be implemented as part of the wider Community Development Initiative program, initiated and funded by BP and its oil and gas partners. Focus areas of the partnership are agriculture, business and community development.
www.kalo.ge - Agriculture Platform in Georgia
With support from USAID Zrda, Credo Bank and Traktor Technologies Launch www.kalo.ge.
Kalo is a modern way approach to agricultural services provision to farmers, as they will be able to benefit from the enhanced functionality of the portal - in addition to facilitating educational press releases and video instructions, farmers will be able to benefit from agro consultations and agro calendar for cultivating various types of cultures in a timely and productive manner. The portal will also provide comfortable online shop and service delivery channel for agriculture products, pesticides and equipment, with an opportunity to distantly fulfill acquisition with Credo Bank’s Online Credit Purchase functionality.
Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti Tourism Symposium
On October 2, 2018, USAID Zrda Chief of Party Brian King and Governor of Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti Alexandre Motserelia joined USAID/Georgia representative David Tsiklauri and Acting Deputy Head of Georgian National Tourism Administration (GNTA) Tornike Zirakishvili to launch the Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti Regional Tourism Development Symposium. The symposium aims to identify challenges facing the regional tourism industry and set priorities to better position and market this region as one of Georgia’s premier tourism destinations.
The Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti Tourism Development Symposium is the first initiative of the regional tourism stakeholders working group to be registered as a Destination Management Organization (DMO) this year. Earlier last year, USAID Zrda partnered with GNTA, and regional public and private sector stakeholders to establish the regional tourism working group aimed at promoting a well-tested regional tourism development model in Samegrelo and Samtskhe-Javakheti regions. The model focuses on agro-, eco-, adventure-, and cultural tourism, and seeks to improve stakeholder coordination and cooperation in the region.
Zrda’s holistic approach to tourism seeks to support regional tourism development through new tourism product development, promoting new tourism destinations and attractions, and raising international quality standards within players in the tourism sector. As a result of Zrda interventions to-date, 415 guesthouses and restaurants across its target ABL and minority regions, including 207 from Samegrelo, have benefited from both digital marketing training and American Hotel and Lodging Association Education Institute (AHLAEI) certificate training courses on hotel administration, and are now registered on well-known booking engines like Booking.com, TripAdvisor and Airbnb. Thanks to the Zrda-supported Information and Media Tours to Samegrelo, Samtskhe-Javakheti, Kvemo Kartli and Tusheti, the leading Georgian tour operators have recently included the newly discovered sites into their touristic packages and generated up to $700,000 in sales in just several months following the activity. The initiative also assisted local actors to generate more income, and upgrade their services to meet international standards, all aiming to support increased employment in the hospitality sector of the regions.
In line with its adventure tourism development initiatives, Zrda facilitated preparation of 60 wilderness guides and instructors in canyoning, rafting, hiking, trekking and diving, all catering to the variety of experience levels. As a complementary activity, Zrda in partnership with GNTA supported the positioning of 38 e-maps of hiking trails in Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region on www.wikiloc.com- search engine popular worldwide among adventure lovers.
USAID Zrda to develop adventure tourism
Zrda in cooperation with the Georgian National Tourism Administration (GNTA) organized a seminar: “Extreme Tourism, Standards, Rescue and Marketing”.
30 Georgian professional guides and instructors attended the seminar conducted by the International Rafting Federation and Rescue 3 Europe Instructor, Mark Hirst.
USAID/Zrda aims to discover and promote new tourist products in Georgia, that will support creating new jobs for MAMEs in the region, increase their income and help sustainable economic development as well.
ADC and Zrda to promote Anaklia Communities
On September 10, 2018, Anaklia Development Consortium’s (ADC) CEO Levan Akhvlediani and USAID Zrda’s Chief of Party, Brian King signed a Partnership Agreement within the Anaklia Community and Economic Development Program. According to the agreement, ADC and USAID Zrda invest $2 million to promote the regional economic development of Anaklia/ Zugdidi and its surrounding areas. USAID Mission Director Peter Wiebler, ADC Founding Partner Mamuka Khazaradze, Governor of Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti Aleksandre Motserelia, and other public and private sector representatives attended the signing ceremony.
The new project will focus on 3 major directions: Increasing the competitiveness and growth of MSMEs in the region; Building a workforce qualified to meet the market demand for both port operations and the wider economy in the region; Facilitating the development of community infrastructure necessary to meet Anaklia and the region’s needs. USAID Zrda and Anaklia Development Consortium are investing $1 million each in the joint project.
According to USAID Mission Director Peter Wiebler, “This partnership symbolizes the U.S. government’s commitment to building self-reliant communities across Georgia. It also represents our intent to engage with the private sector to achieve our shared goals. We are excited to work with Georgian and U.S. private partners as visionary and ambitious as the members of the Anaklia Development Consortium. While international donors and government help set the foundation for economic growth, the collaboration and commitment of private sector actors make such growth durable and sustainable.”
According to ADC Founding Partner Mamuka Khazaradze, “Wellbeing and prosperity of the people of Anaklia and surrounding areas has been among our most important goals since the very beginning of the Anaklia Port project. We are happy that this purpose will now be realised with this new, very significant project that we commence in partnership with USAID Zrda. I want to express my gratitude towards USAID and the U.S. Government for being the part of this important initiative, and overall, for their expressed support in development of Anaklia and the Anaklia Deep Sea Port.”
Anaklia Community and Economic Development Program will provide support to communities in West Georgia to maximize their ability to capitalize on the coming economic development opportunities presented by the $2.5 billion Anaklia Deep Sea Port mega project, which is a joint venture of a Georgian-U.S. consortium. The new deep-water port is envisioned to transform Georgia into a regional economic hub and a key link and transport corridor between Aisa and Europe. Construction of Georgia’s first deep sea port started in December 2017, and the first phase of the project - construction of the primary container terminal - will be completed by the end of 2020, which also coincides with the timeline of the joint development program between USAID Zrda and ADC.
“Meskhuri Tabla” Culinary Cookbook Launch
USAID Zrda Activity in Georgia presents “Meskhuri Tabla” Samtskhe-Javakheti culinary cookbook and invites you to journey through the world of Meskhetian cuisine. USAID Mission Director Peter Wiebler and Head of Georgian National Tourism Administration Giorgi Chogovadze attended launch of a cookbook.
“Meskhuri Tabla” culinary cookbook is the first activity initiated by the Samtskhe-Javakheti tourism stakeholder’s working group to become Destination Management Organization (DMO). The cookbook contains 20 ancient, traditional Meskhetian recipes. Development of the book is supported by the USAID Zrda Activity in Georgia and is available in Georgian and English languages. Of note, Georgian Culinary Academy of the Agricultural University voluntarily provided support to Zrda in the process of the book preparation.
The book is designed to promote local food, raise awareness of the region among domestic and international travelers, and be used as a gift for tourists. The book will be sold locally through various retailers, as well as internationally through Amazon.com. The income generated by book sales will go to the newly established DMO and serve as an initial revenue stream to support operations of the organization.
Media tour “Discover More in Samegrelo region”
USAID/Zrda, Georgian National Tourism Administration and Samegrelo-Zemo-Svaneti regional administration held a meeting with Georgian journalists within a media tour “Discover More in Samegrelo region” designed to develop new tourism destinations, attract more visitors and promote Samegrelo’s wealthy heritage.
E-business and e-commerce trainings
Do you want to improve profitability of your business using internet? Starting September 2018, you are offered the opportunity to join USAID Zrda and Georgia's Innovation and Technology Agency free e-business and e-commerce trainings. The trainings will be conducted within the “Digital Literacy” program.
GAP standards development for Georgia
USAID Zrda, in partnership with Georgian Farmers’ Association (GFA) and the Ministry of Environment Protection and Agriculture, supports the development of crop-specific local GAP standards for Georgia.
New Tourism Product Development and Marketing
USAID Zrda in cooperation with the Georgian National Tourism Association (GNTA) organized a seminar - New Tourism Product Development and Marketing. The seminar was conducted by British expert Jack Delf and 30 players in the tourism sector from all over Georgia were attending it.
Chargé d’Affaires Visited Samtskhe-Javakheti Region
Chargé d’Affaires Elizabeth Rood visited, Phoka Nunnery of St. Nino. Vardzia Terraces vineyards and Amphora Brewery in Samtskhe-Javakheti region. To increase awareness of Phoka Nunnery of St. Nino, Vardzia Terraces and Amphora Brewery as tourism destinations in Samtskhe-Javakheti, USAID Zrda program included these sites in the information tour for 16 leading Georgian tour operators.
USAID Zrda and LEPL IDP Livelihood Agency signed a Memorandum of Understanding
USAID Zrda and LEPL IDP Livelihood Agency signed a Memorandum of Understanding.
LEPL IDP Livelihood Agency and USAID Zrda joint grant program, with total budget of 200,000 GEL will support IDP beneficiaries of the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons (MRA) Rural House Acquisition Program in greenhouse establishment activity.
Seven new Berry Nursery Production and Demo Plots to be launched in Georgia
Seven new Berry Nursery Production/Plant Management and Demonstration Plots to be launched in four different regions in Georgia, including Samegrelo, Kvemo Kartli, Samtskhe-Javakheti and Kakheti (Akhmeta). Farmers have already received high-quality plants from certified U.S, suppliers. 17,500 plants are produced in tissue culture laboratories at Hartmann's Plant Company and Nourse Farm, where they maintain disease free plants with the new state of propagation facilities.
Zrda & Agricultural Projects Management Agency - MOU
Development of High Quality Production Markets for Fruits, Vegetables, Berries and Honey in Zrda’s 17 Target Municipalities: USAID Zrda and Agricultural Projects Management Agency sign an MOU to provide mutual support and resource sharing between the partners’ respective programs.
Assist. Administrator for USAID’s Bureau for E&E visits Samegrelo
In Zugdidi, Anaklia and Tsaishi, Samegrelo region Assistant Administrator for USAID’s Bureau for Europe and Eurasia Brock Bierman visited USAID Zrda Activity in Georgia beneficiaries. In Zugdidi Brock Bierman learned Mengrelian cooking techniques at Café El Barco that has “excellent’’ travelers’ rating with TripAdvisor. Cafe owners embraced the opportunity provided by the joint Zrda/CHCA no-interest loan program to equip it with nice furniture and modern kitchen appliances.
Georgian Agro House and Zrda to Promote Growth
On February 16, 2018, USAID Zrda’s Chief of Party, Brian King and Georgian Agro House CEO, Guram Kakushadze signed an agreement to coordinate their efforts and jointly support USAID Zrda beneficiary farmers to participate in Georgian Agro House’s supply chain, and facilitate the development of high quality production markets for fruits and vegetables in Zrda’s 17 target municipalities.
Zrda Small Grants Program in the Akhmeta Municipality
On February 5, 2018, USAID/Georgia Economic Growth Office Director Veronica Lee joined Akhmeta Municipality Head Ioseb Karumashvili, to meet with local communities and launch a Small Grants Program, initiated by USAID’s Zrda Activity. The Small Grants program is designed for nine target communities of the Akhmeta municipality (city Akhmeta, Kvemo Alvani, Zemo Alvani, Matani, Sakobiano, Duisi, Jokolo, Khalatsani and Omalo) to support business development through small grants assistance to micro and small enterprises. Within the Program, Zrda plans to award up to 60 grants for agriculture and tourism development activities in target communities. At least 35% of total project value is requested as a leverage from an entrepreneur.
BP Georgia and USAID Zrda Activity to Support Communities across Georgia
On December 18, 2017, USAID Zrda’s Chief of Party, Brian King and BP Exploration (Caspian Sea) Limited, Georgia’s External Affairs Manager, Gia Gvaladze signed an agreement to improve cooperation in 41 villages where BP Georgia and USAID Zrda activities currently overlap. It ensures joint projects respond to the needs of the local population; support community development initiatives, and positively impact communities by creating jobs and income-generation opportunities. Focus areas of the partnership are agriculture, business development, and community development. The total population of the targeted 41 villages is more than 14,000. Twenty-two villages are located in the Kaspi, Gori, Kareli and Khashuri municipalities of Shida Kartli along the Western Route Export Pipeline, and 19 villages are located in the Akhaltsikhe, Adigeni and Tsalka municipalities of the regions of Samtskhe-Javakheti and Kvemo Kartli, along the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and South Caucasus Pipelines.
USAID Zrda to Develop Adventure Tourism In Samtskhe-Javakheti and Samegrelo
“Adventure tourism potential and opportunities for development, barriers to growth and the ways to eliminate them,”- these were the issues on the agenda for the USAID Zrda-hosted meeting of adventure tourism stakeholders. The industry players provided further insights into the opportunities of the adventure travel market as a significant, valuable, and growing niche for the regions of Samtskhe-Javakheti and Samegrelo in terms of attracting more tourists and increasing sales.
Access to Agricultural Extension and Advisory Services
USAID Zrda is improving the capacity of 14 Information and Consultation Centers (ICCs) through equipping them with field laboratory toolkits. These mobile lab kits enable ICC specialists to assist farmers with hands-on and practical services aimed at identifying problems related to crop nutrition, pests, soil and water salinity, and PH thus helping farmers improve production quality and generate increased income from the sale of their products and services.
US Ambassador Ian C. Kelly Meets Entrepreneurs in Pankisi
Within global entrepreneurship week, US Ambassador Ian C. Kelly visits the Duisi community center to meet with the entrepreneurs and farmers operating in the region, an overwhelming majority of them being the Zrda beneficiaries. The Ambassador met with local vegetable greenhouse farmers, guesthouse owners, beekeepers, small grants program beneficiaries and young entrepreneurs from local communities.
Working together on Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti Tourism Development Strategy
USAID Zrda and Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti regional administration discuss plans to facilitate the implementation of the Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti tourism development strategy. USAID Zrda and Samegrelo Zemo Svaneti government have been partners for a number of the joint initiatives including Information Tour to Samegrelo for the leading Georgian tour operators; Anaklia Business Festival; capacity building trainings for local hospitality business representatives; participation in “ITB Berlin”.
Promoting Youth Entrepreneurship - Demo Day at Fabrika
Demo Day at Fabrika – 50 young people from Gori, Zugdidi, Pankisi and Akhaltsikhe displayed their products manufactured within the Regional Entrepreneurship School, joint program of the USAID Zrda and Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs.