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(11/20/2005) The International Finance Corporation (IFC) have 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. Worldhotel-links.com (WHL), the company hosting and operating the international network of hotel and guesthouse web sites, also has other sites under construction to expand its network beyond those in the 13 countries already created.
In Indonesia the WHL development program encompasses the launch of two sites – one site already in operation focusing on smaller hotels and guest houses in Bali [Balihotel-link.com] and another "Bali & Beyond" site to be launched shortly dedicated to promoting hotels in Central Java, Makassar, Toraja, Lombok, Sumbawa, Komodo, Sumba and Flores.
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 IFCCapacity 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)
[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.
Bali and Bali & Beyond Sites
The two Indonesian sites are being developed by Bali Discovery Tours acting as the local partner of WHL in securing accommodation product from small and medium-sized accommodation entrepreneurs in Bali and secondary tourism destinations in Indonesia and in the day-to-day operation of the new sites. As part of the program to assist small and medium size hotel and guest operators, IFC-Pensa and Bali Discovery Tours will be conducting a number of training programs to assist local hotels in developing their Internet business base.
"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.