Through its Market Readiness Program, USAID Visit Tunisia is providing one-on-one technical assistance to prepare Tunisian small tourism businesses to be “ready” for visitors eager to explore unique accommodations and experiences in the regions of Kebili, Gabes, Jendouba, Kairouan, Tozeur, and Tataouine. 60 businesses selected from an initial pool of 160 applicants embarked on a transformational journey to deliver and market unforgettable visitor experiences. To foster the implementation of market-readiness improvements identified during the technical assistance phase, the participating businesses will be able to apply for a grant support of up to $5,000 USD. Additionally, they will receive high-quality content for improved online and offline promotion such as flyers to support their marketing initiatives.Graphic representing market readiness levels. The Market Readiness Program aims to transform the 60 supported businesses from Level 0 to Level 1 or from Level 1 to Level 2. Photo: ©Solimar International/USAID
The Transformational Market Readiness Journey of 60 Businesses
Selecting 60 Businesses Through an Open Call
March 2023 marked the launch of a call for applications for the “Market Readiness Program”. 60 small tourism businesses were selected to participate in the MRP from an initial pool of 160 applications received – 10 in each of USAID Visit Tunisia’s priority destinations. The selection was based on several criteria. Legal registration, absence of negative impact on the natural and cultural environment of the destination, and inclusiveness of women are a few criteria examples. The Market Readiness Program is aligned with market readiness tool developed by USAID Visit Tunisia based on international and domestic market research conducted in 2022. The tool evolves with changes in the marketplace. Read more about the MRP eligibility criteria here.
Providing a Roadmap for all the Businesses.
USAID Visit Tunisia is currently delivering one-on-one technical assistance until November 2023. During this phase, each of the sixty participating businesses will receive personalized suggestions to advance market readiness such as branding help, experience design, traveler friendly marketing materials, and social media advice These outputs will serve as the Business Improvement Guide for each business to pave the way for its market readiness journey.
The program's educational curriculum follows these modules:
- Defining what makes your offering unique
- Understanding your customers’ journey
- Finding your target market
- Defining stories for your destination and how to appeal to visitors
- How to price your experience/tour
- Developing a creative brand
- Creating an effective online presence
- Setting up your booking system and managing inventory
- Designing printed marketing materials
- Learning visitor-expected service standards
- Crafting responses to reviews
- Measuring customer satisfaction
- Learning booking processes and channels for travelers
- Forming relationships with tour operators
- Managing online booking platforms
Developing High-Quality Content for Marketing InitiativesBased on the identified needs, each of the participating businesses will receive a custom content package and concrete materials such as flyers or high-quality content including Reels or photos to support their online marketing initiatives. One business might need a flyer to distribute whereas the other might need Reels and quality photos to improve its social media presence. The content package is USAID Visit Tunisia’s legacy that the businesses will carry out through their journey and beyond with the freedom to adapt it, improve it through the years and use it as they see fit to meet their marketing and communications goals.
Fostering the Implementation of Market Readiness Improvements with Grant Support of up to $5,000 USD
- Strength of business improvement project
- Impact on sales
- Technical Approach
Partner Spotlight: From Gabes to Tataouine
Domaine Oued el Khil: Experience Sustainable Living amid Tunisia’s Arid South
Domaine Oued El Khil. Photo: ©Solimar/USAID
Among the program’s outputs, USAID Visit Tunisia is supporting Domaine Oued El Khil in developing a strong brand messaging and in a “signature” tourism experience. Guests will enjoy a unique culinary experience and learn how to cook an authentic Amazigh meal with ingredients that would gather from the permaculture garden at the Domaine.
Dar Zmerten: Experience a Home Away from Home in a Quiet Mountain Town in Gabes
Dar Zemerten. Photo: ©Solimar/USAID
USAID Visit Tunisia is supporting Dar Zmerten in developing a strong brand messaging and in creating tourism experiences based on cultural heritage, local flavors and nature and history. Exploring the Amazigh life in Gabes through an interactive Zmerten village & troglodyte museum tour or an overnight stay with a local family; trekking to Dahar's highest peak and discovering WWII sites, fascinating geology, prehistoric fossils, and ancient villages in the Gabes mountains are examples of experiences that visitors might enjoy starting from November 2023.