New Technologies for Communication and Competitiveness for Tourism Microenterprises
Project title: NEW TECHNOLOGIES FOR COMMUNICATION AND COMPETITIVENESS FOR TOURISM MICRO ENTERPRISES
Current status: Ongoing Concluded
Duration (est.)/dates: November 2006 – March 2008
Partner entities: University of Cuenca
Source(s) of Funding: ST-EP Foundation
Executing Agency: University of Cuenca
Main project objective: to enhance the quality and competitiveness of 150 tourism micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and community organizations, and increase employment opportunities for young members of poor families living in tourism destinations.
The Southern Region of Ecuador is endowed with rich natural and cultural heritage, which represent potential competitive advantages for participation in the international tourism market. However, micro, small and medium entrepreneurs wishing to participate in tourism, in urban areas as well as rural communities, face severe difficulties in obtaining their share of the income generated by tourism.
The project created an on line platform with the aim to provide the participating SMEs and community organizations with the opportunity to commercialize and promote their products through the Internet. The platform was launched during a promotional event with participation of tour operators, related enterprises, and the 47 MSMEs whose contact information and details were featured on line (ranging from accommodation, restaurants, tours and handicrafts).
Additionally, 187 local people (students and MSMEs managers) received training on the use and importance of e-technologies, and are now using the generated skills to communicate via e-mail, and for on-line marketing of their tourism MSMEs. They also collaborated in uploading data to the portal and carried out promotional activities focused on creating linkages to the created site, such as mailings, etc.
Main project outputs/deliverables:
The project has enhanced knowledge and experience on the use of e-technologies among MSME managers and students.
It has been a challenge for the project to measure exactly to what extent the MSMEs that participated in the training have managed to use e-technologies to enhance their income. Project experiences demonstrated the need for active public-private sector collaboration when building an on-line booking platform for a destination.