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Posts Tagged ‘Eastern Europe & CIS’
Q&A with Damira Raeva, case study co-author of Community Based Tourism (Kyrgyzstan)

Damira Raeva is an Independent Consultant specialized in identification, design, monitoring and evaluation of development projects, especially in ecotourism as well as in the design and implementation of training programmes for rural entrepreneurs, fundraising, budgeting, and social mobilization of local communities. Damira worked as Project Manager for Helvetas’ Community Based Tourism Support Project in Kyrgyzstan as well as Senior Programme Officer for Tourism with the same organization. In her position as Project Manager at the Destination Marketing Organization she supported the development and implementation of the marketing strategy, which aimed to promote Kyrgyz Republic as tourism destination. She also worked as programme assistant and consultant for OSCE projects in Kyrgyzstan. Damira holds an MBA from Academy of Management in Bishkek and an engineer diploma in technologies of food industry from the Polytechnic Institute in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

Community-based tourism (CBT) is a type of tourism that is owned and managed by the local community. The main objective of CBT groups in Kyrgyzstan is to promote sustainable community-based ecotourism services that offer tourists unique experience, generate incomes for rural families and preserve the natural and cultural heritage of the country.

To download the Community-Based Tourism case study from the GIM database, please click here.

What is CBT’s basic value proposition and what makes its financial model sustainable?

First of all, Community Based Tourism (CBT) has to be implemented by the local community and for the local community. It is crucial that people involved in a CBT development feel the ownership for this undertaking from the beginning. People look after the institution if they feel valued as employees or business owners. This makes the financial model of CBT sustainable. What is needed is to the provision of guidance at the start-up phase, to advise the local community about possible forms of organization of the undertaking and commonly elaborate a clear organization structure.

What have been the biggest challenges hindering CBT’s development and growth?

Kyrgyzstan is not a well known country in the world. During the Soviet period, Kyrgyzstan was closed to foreigners. International tourism did not exist and this has an influence on the tourism development in general and on the CBT as part of Kyrgyz tourism. Important efforts have to be made in order to market the Kyrgyz community-based tourism abroad. Another challenge is to ensure permanent quality control, and continuously adapt and improve the offers based on tourist’s feedback.

What are the promises in terms of human development of the use of CBT’s services?

CBT services are different from traditional tourist services. Apart from generating income for the local rural community, in CBT, the promotion of cultural exchange is a key of its business model, no matter if the tourist uses accommodation or guiding services of CBT. Cultural exchange advances human development as both parts are getting new knowledge about different culture.

What are the benefits produced for the poor by CBT?

The main benefit for the poor in terms of income generation is that the individual tourist service provider gets the highest share of the revenue, between 77 and 92% of the price paid by the customer. The services that the poor can provide, even if on seasonal basis, are crucial for increasing the standards of living in rural areas, providing the children with education and helping to reduce migration to urban areas. Plus they get benefits from improved infrastructure and community development.

What are the main challenges facing CBT in Kyrgyzstan now? Do you have any recommendations?

At present tourism industry in general is facing the challenge of dealing with a difficult political situation in the country and in the Central Asian region. More activities should be done on the promotion of the country as a safe tourist destination.

What has been your personal experience going through the GIM training and case research process?

This is my first experience to be involved into case research process and I found it very interesting. I had a chance to look on CBT development as an outsider. It was very positive and informative to work with UNDP team and the editing team.

How do you intend to use the experience you gained from working on the case study for UNDP? Do you plan to disseminate this newly created knowledge in any way?

I already started the process of disseminating information about GIM initiative and about the cases. I think this could be one of the tools for awareness rising for these kinds of models inside and outside the Central Asian region.

Launch of the International Center for Private Sector in Development and the Regional GIM Report for Eastern Europe & Central Asia

During a high profile event held on March 11 in Istanbul, Turkey, the UNDP Administrator, Ms. Helen Clark, officially inaugurated the Istanbul International Center for Private Sector in Development (IICPSD), established in collaboration with the Government of Turkey, while the Assistant Secretary General and Director of UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Europe & the CIS, Ms. Kori Udovicki, officially launched the first GIM regional report, Business Solutions to Poverty – How inclusive business models create opportunities for all in Emerging Europe and Central Asia.

The event was attended by over 100 private sector representatives, academia, government officials as well as civil society representatives, and featured presentations from 4 companies successfully implementing inclusive business models, all of which have been documented as GIM case studies:  Mr. Burak Küçükerol from Hey Textile (Turkey), Mr. Andrey Kren from Vitmark (Ukraine), Ms. Galina Cicanci from Rural Finance Corporation (Moldova) and Dr. Jamshid Parvizian from Saraman (Iran). Click here to download the launch event agenda.

The event followed a workshop on inclusive business in Emerging Europe and Central Asia, organized in collaboration with the Koc University and the Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA). The workshop included a detailed presentation of the report findings and analysis of some inclusive business models from the region, as well as small group discussions on potential inclusive business models in Turkey, major constraints, potential solution strategies, key partners and recommendations. Click here to download the workshop agenda.

GIM Launches Regional Report in Moldova

On February 2, 2011, UNDP organized a full-day workshop dedicated to the launch of its regional Growing Inclusive Markets report Business Solutions to Poverty – How inclusive business models create opportunities for all in Emerging Europe and Central Asia. The report is based on empirical evidence from 19 specially commissioned case studies on existing inclusive business models in the region. As such, it constitutes a valuable knowledge and advocacy tool addressing the key barriers and solutions to achieving more inclusive business models in Emerging Europe and Central Asia.

The workshop was organized at the Academy of Economic Studies of the Republic of Moldova and was attended by over 50 participants, representing entrepreneurs, various Ministries and Government officials, academia, NGOs, business incubators, and experts from UNDP Moldova and the Bratislava Regional Center. During the course of the event the Business Solutions to Poverty report was introduced to the stakeholders and policy dialogues were held regarding the development of inclusive business models in Moldova, existing constraints, opportunities for partnerships and involvement of all relevant actors.

The workshop created a platform for private-public dialogue, which resulted in the identification of problematic areas and concrete recommendations for development toward inclusive business in such areas as tourism, agriculture and ICT. The momentum created by the event will be supported by involving the key stakeholders in policy debates, organizing series of roundtables and further dissemination of the concept of inclusive business models. As a result, the launch of the Business Solutions to Poverty report may be seen as a crucial step toward not only raising awareness for inclusive markets, but also laying foundations for the creation of sustainable inclusive business models in Moldova.

Click here to download the press release.