By Giorgi Bregadze

From a statistical point of view, he tourism industry in Georgia in 2013 can be characterized as a period of further growth. In 2013, the number of international arrivals grew by 22%, overstepping the five million mark for the first time. The five-millionth international visitor was even awarded a prize to stress the importance of the event. The high growth rate in tourism was also highlighted by international organizations. According to the World Tourism Organization's report, "UNWTO World Tourism Barometer" (December, 2013), the increase in the number of international arrivals in Georgia was rated as the highest in Europe in 2013.

On May 22, ISET hosted Mamuka Khazaradze, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of TBC Bank, who talked about the story of his success in business, particularly the establishment of TBC (Tbilisi Business Center) Bank in Georgia.

He started his presentation by talking about his early years when, despite being young without enough experience in business or skills in diplomatic negotiations, he had a huge desire to develop his own business and to help his family financially. Mr. Khazaradze made his first real money selling cans of beer. At the time, this was a new product for post-Soviet countries and the demand was enormous. He managed to find some suppliers and made his first big deal by reselling cans of beer in St. Petersburg.

Eric Livny, Director of ISET, served as a keynote speaker at the Israeli-Georgian business forum, "Georgia Gateway," that was organized by Israel Gateway and the Embassy of Israel on March 12, 2014. The forum was officially opened by Irakli Gharibashvili, the Prime Minister of Georgia, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, Irakli Kovzanadze, the CEO of The Partnership Fund, and Lasha Zhvania, former Georgian ambassador to Israel and Minister of Economy. Conducted for the second consecutive year, the forum brought together Georgian and Israeli Hi-Tech businesses in the communication and IT sectors together with colleagues from the Partnership Fund and other relevant Georgian government agencies.

On March 12 ISET hosted a presentation by Jean Marc Stavroulakis, Country Finance Manager of Carrefour Georgia, and Petr Dlouhy, Merchandise Manager of the Fresh Division of Carrefour. The main points of the presentation were Carrefour’s market strategy to overcome existing socio-economic obstacles to the development effective value chains in the Georgian agricultural sector for 2014.

Carrefour, one of the largest French hypermarket chains and the second largest retailer in the world, started operating in Georgia in 2012. The major strategy of the company is to provide high quality products at lower prices that correspond to local demand. The best strategic suppliers in terms of quality, price and demand are considered to be the local producers of organic products.

On February 25, 2014, ISET hosted Dr. Sergei Izmalkov of the Moscow New Economic School. Dr. Izmalkov, who works with the most popular Russian search engine, Yandex, presented a paper he coauthored with Dmitry Arkhanglesky, Dilyara Khakimova and Sergey Lyashenko, titled: “On evaluation of click through rates and conversion rates of different positions in sponsored search auctions”.

At the beginning of his presentation Dr. Izmalkov introduced the problem of advertisement allocation. Using the examples of the most popular search engines, he explained how advertisements are generally distributed and how the payment for those is defined. Payment is proportional to the number of clicks a link gets, through the search results that the advertisement will appear on is decided by auction.

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