IFC Helps Small Tourist Businesses In Bali, Beijing, Fiji, and Vanuatu
Hong Kong, November 8, 2005- The International Finance Corporation today announced the launch of a network of Internet accommodation sites aimed at boosting the regional tourist industry, while supporting smaller hotel and guesthouse operators in Bali, Beijing, Fiji and Vanuatu.
The Web site package includes a highly sophisticated booking system and a benchmarking function that enables operators across the world to measure their performance against each other and maintain high standards. WHL also has other sites under construction to expand its network beyond those in the 13 countries already created.
The online accommodation booking network is based on a model initially developed in the Mekong region with support from IFC’s Mekong Private Sector Development Facility, and now operating as a private company—Worldhotel-link.com.
Each booking business is developed under Worldhotel-link.com, but locally owned and operated. All sites operating in East Asia and the Pacific are supported by IFC technical assistance facilities—the IFC China Project Development Facility, the IFC Pacific Enterprise Development Facility, and the IFC Program for Eastern Indonesia SME Assistance (IFC-PENSA).
“The expansion of the Worldhotel-link network helps local businesses reach international travelers through the Internet. By promoting tourism, these sites will generate jobs, new business opportunities, and foreign exchange,” said IFC Director for East Asia and the Pacific Javed Hamid. “IFC’s technical assistance in East Asia and the Pacific has the capacity to serve local businesses and expand successful models to other markets in the region.’
“This Internet-based tourist booking model combines local content collection, maintenance, and knowledge with global marketing and economies of scale to serve both local businesses and their customers” said John McKenzie, the IFC Capacity Building Fund task manager. “The model allows for much greater participation by small local accommodation providers than has been achieved previously by offshore service providers”
IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, promotes sustainable private sector investment in developing and transition countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. IFC finances private sector investments, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses. Its 178 member countries provide its share capital and collectively determine its policies.
IFC’s Project Development Facility in China is jointly funded by IFC and the governments of Australia, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The Pacific Facility is funded by IFC, Australia, Japan, and New Zealand. IFC-PENSA is funded by IFC, Australia, Canada, Japan, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the Asian Development Bank.
IFC and its donor partners fund technical assistance programs and facilities around world, with combined annual budgets exceeding $50 million and more than 900 people on the ground. These facilities design and implement assistance programs that meet key needs of private sector development.
About Worldhotel-link.com Limited (WHL)
WHL (www.worldhotel-link.com ) is a private company based in Hong Kong, providing a packaged accommodation e-marketplace service to local operators. The service was developed from extensive experience with accommodation providers in the Mekong region. The WHL package comprises a template for e-commerce enabled websites with built-in content management facilities; web hosting; web marketing; and a full featured online booking administration system which each operator uses to manage bookings. The package also comes with a complete suite of manuals and user guides.
“The Vanuatu Tourism Office welcomes the launch of www.vanuatu-hotels.vu as another window for promoting Vanuatu’s beautiful Islands to the world. We congratulate IFC and the World Bank for this great initiative that will expose locally-owed bungalows, hotels and resorts in Vanuatu through the Internet—the greatest medium for information and business,” said Vanuatu Tourism Office General Manager Linda Kalpoi.
“We expect the Fiji franchise of World-hotel Link to become the most comprehensive Fiji portal on the Internet. Fiji-Hotels will be a valuable channel for the smaller locally owned resorts to have their rooms available on the World Wide Web. This is an excellent opportunity that has been made possible through the assistance of IFC Pacific Enterprise Development Facility “said Bill Whiting of FijiBedbank.
“The Fiji Visitors Bureau welcomes the launch of www.fiji-hotels.com.fj and appreciates that this has come about through the support of the IFC and the World Bank. This initiative with Worldhotel-link.com will help locally-owned resorts become more competitive by having an Internet presence” said Fiji Visitors Bureau Chief Executive Bill Gavoka.
"We’re delighted at the prospect of working together with Worldhotel-link.com in developing Bali and ’Beyond Bali’ sites. This approach meets a genuine need in the Indonesian travel industry. Working with Worldhotel-link.com and with the support of IFC-PENSA, we hope to have a very positive impact on the economic lives of local business people,” said Bali Discovery Tours President Director J.M. Daniels.
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