The project is implemented by ACTED and works with BIOs in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
This regional project, implemented by a consortium led by ACTED, will run for three years until January 2023 in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, and involve stakeholders from Turkmenistan. The objective is to boost investments, private sector development and promote economic diversification, by strengthening the Community-Based Tourism (CBT) sector. CBT is an approach to tourism owned and managed by the community and intended to deliver wider social, economic and environmental benefits. It is one of the high potential sectors in Central Asia to contribute to inclusive, sustainable growth and rural development.
To achieve its objectives, the project aims to bolster the competitiveness of CBT small businesses (MSMEs), through reinforcing the capacities of Community-Based Tourism Associations (CBTAs) to function as effective Business Intermediary Organizations (BIOs) and provide business development services, marketing and promotion, and advocacy and representation for MSMEs in the sector. The project will widen BIOs’ service portfolios as well as supporting them to develop their income-base and become more sustainable. The project will furthermore work with MFIs to improve MSMEs’ access to finance for service upgrades. The CBT sector growth will be reinforced through regional cooperation and promotion of Central Asia as a regional tourism destination to the European and international tourist market. Regional cooperation will be mainstreamed across project activities, bringing together actors from across Central Asia to share knowledge and capacity building, while focusing on empowering women-led businesses and ensuring gender inclusiveness throughout the initiative.
The consortium lead ACTED is an international NGO committed to a zero carbon, zero exclusion and zero poverty future. Based in Paris and active in 38 countries, ACTED has been present in Central Asia since 1996, with country and field offices active in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. ACTED is committed to promoting inclusive and sustainable development in Central Asia through effective natural resource management, disaster risk reduction activities, and working closely with the private sector to promote inclusive opportunities and access to education, training and finance for MSMEs, youth and women-led business. As the lead applicant, ACTED will oversee implementation, lead on a number of activities and support local partners to implement activities, build their technical and management capacities and ensure transparent and accountable project implementation.
ACTED will work closely with the Association of Private Tourism Agencies of Uzbekistan (APTA), the Kyrgyz CBT Association (KCBTA), and the Tajik CBT Association (TCBTA) as both implementing partners and beneficiaries of the project’s capacity building initiatives. APTA, KCBTA and TCBTA are the national-level umbrella associations for community-based tourism sector actors in their countries, mandated to promote the sector growth through provision of business intermediary services and effective representation of sector interests in national and regional policy platforms. APTA, TCBTA and KCBTA will play a crucial liaison role between the CBT sector and the consortium; they will help directly reach the CBT MSMEs and local communities through their existing CBT members, and be directly responsible for implementing or supporting several of the Action’s activities. Moreover, KCBTA has recently won a GIZ-led local tourism sector development grant (funded under the European Rural Development Programme in Kyrgyzstan), which will be an added value to seek synergies between the two EU-back funded grants.
Furthermore, the Uzbekistan National Association of Microfinance Institutions (NAMI), the Association of Microfinance Institutions (AMFI) in Kyrgyzstan, and the Association of Microfinance Organizations of Tajikistan (AMFOT) will be involved in organizing and conducting trainings as well as coordinating and representing MFIs at the national level in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. Their mission includes uniting members of the microfinance sector to provide better microfinance products, representing the interests of MFIs towards the governments, and working towards improving legislation and conditions for the finance sector, and to raise the level of financial literacy of the population. They run fee-based training centres for MFIs and other small financial institutions, and will be responsible for developing and adapting modules and delivery trainings on financial literacy, as well as working on the development of CBT-specific finance products through working groups.
Finally, the implementing partner ECEAT is a leading European development and marketing organisation in the field of small-scale rural tourism. It is highly experienced in CBT branding, product and standard development, marketing (B2B, B2C) and the organisation of study tours. ECEAT has a large network of tourism BIOs and EU outbound tour operating businesses. It was appointed by the Netherlands government Centre for the Promotion of Exports from Developing Countries (cbi.eu) as CBT-expert organisation in 2008 to provide coaching and training for CBT companies and associations in more than 35 developing countries worldwide.
Throughout the project the online platform http://visitcentralasia.org/ will be developed and strengthened, and used to share news and updates on the outputs and impacts of the project.
Contact person: Anna Martyres, ACTED, firstname.lastname@example.org