Czech Republic and VFS Global extend visa service delivery to Georgia
The Government of the Czech Republic and VFS Global, the world’s largest outsourcing and technology services specialist for diplomatic missions and governments, commenced their visa application services for Czech Republic visas in Georgia today, with the opening of the Czech Republic Visa Application Centre. Catering to the growing demand of Czech Republic bound travellers in the region; this new initiative is aimed at offering new services, facilities and benefits to visa applicants, and boost tourism, trade and investments, and bilateral ties between Czech Republic and Georgia.
VFS Global will operate Czech Republic Visa Application Centre, located at 10 Kuchishvili street, Tbilisi, Georgia, 0179
Mr. Prabuddha Sen, Regional Head - RCIS, VFS Global said, “It is our privilege to be the trusted partner to the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Tbilisi in providing services to facilitate visa application process for travellers in Georgia. We are committed to provide professional and convenient services to all applicants applying for a Czech Republic visa in the region. VFS Global is privileged to be associated with the Government of the Czech Republic in Georgia. This extension of our association with the Czech Republic Government reflects their faith in our abilities, and we are sure this will go a long way in forging a longstanding partnership with VFS Global.”
The key features of the new centre are:
- Conveniently located and easily accessible state-of-the art Visa Application Centre
- Longer operating hours allowing applicants to visit at a time of their convenience
- Professional and responsive staff dedicated to handle visa queries and applications
- Automated queue governance for smooth flow of applicants, providing better crowd management
- Dedicated website for easy access to information including visa categories, requirements and check-list, applicable fees and application status
- Dedicated call centre and email support to answer queries and status of application
- 100% secure handling of passports, documents and personal information
- In-VAC feedback kiosks and forms, and online feedback services for applicants to share their recommendations and feedback about the services
- Tracking of application status and SMS alerts for visa status update on mobile phones
- Door-step delivery of passports
(Interview) Civilization of grape vines and the brand-new ener...
Civilization of grape vines and the brand-new energetic best tourism destination: An exclusive interview featuring Archil Kalandia, the Georgian Ambassador to China
With a history of 3000 years, Georgia is reputed as "God's Forgotten Backyard". For anyone that has visited Georgia has experienced the landscape's gorgeous mountains and rivers, the people's sincere and honest local customs and the country's exceptionally fragrant wine and unforgettable nature.
Tbilisi, the capital city of Georgia, which joined the World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF) in 2019 becoming a member city, is one of the most popular tourism destinations in Europe. The city is now among the "European Best Destinations" since its overwhelming uniqueness never ceases to impress tourists, due to its long history, abundance in cuisine, diversity of architecture and numerous attractions. This alluring city shows the public the perfect fusion of the past and the present.
Audrey Azoulay, the Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, named Tbilisi as the "World Book Capital 2021". Around the slogan "Ok. So your next book is…?", the program focuses on the use of modern technologies as powerful tools for encouraging young people to read.
So, what are the unique charms that Georgia possesses to make itself a favored destination? Archil Kalandia, the Georgian Ambassador to China, unveiled the mystery of this country for us this autumn in the Embassy of Georgia in China.
"Tbilisi is a part of my life"
Tbilisi is one of the oldest capitals in Europe. The name of the city is first mentioned in historical sources from the fourth century; however, it was not a capital then, but a fortified city. Convenient geographical location has contributed to the development of Tbilisi, turning it into a prominent hub between Europe and Asia.
Ambassador Kalandia was born in Tbilisi which is not simply the capital of Georgia but also a part of his life. Tbilisi is a city of rich culture and diversity. "You can visit Orthodox church, Jewish synagogue and Muslim mosque on one street in Tbilisi. This is because the diversity of people and culture in Tbilisi is profound." Tbilisi has been an open, inclusive and friendly city where Jews, Armenians, Azerbaijanis and other ethnic minorities live along with Georgians. A fervent historical and cultural atmosphere is displayed throughout the avenues and streets of Tbilisi. Colorful architecture blending the elements of the past and present shows the casual and simple lifestyle of this city. All the traits of human civilizations tell the history of Tbilisi.
"We are two of the most ancient countries in the world. That is why mutual understanding is much easier for two countries. As an ambassador, a long record of cultural and historical ties between two countries makes my duty more meaningful and easier." Ambassador Kalandia also stated that, due to the aforementioned advantages, Georgia is also playing an important role in the modern Belt and Road Initiative.
7 million bottles of wine exported from Georgia to China
As you have never expected, Georgia is the oldest wine region of the world and, therefore hailed "the cradle of wine". Wine is an integral part of Georgians' lives. They "raise their glasses and toast to celebrate the birth of a new life and bid farewell to the deceased by raising another glass of wine".
Speaking of wine, Ambassador Kalandia introduced to us with passion that "Georgia has uninterrupted history of viticulture and Winemaking which counts 8000 years. We also have special technology for wine-making "Qvevri", which is on the list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO. In Georgia, especially the eastern part, you can find self-produced wine in many families with very special winemaking methodologies. This is why one of the symbols of Georgia is the vine. Georgia is home to at least 525 distinct grape varieties."
The Majority of linguists agree that semantic meaning of the word "wine" is rooted only in Georgian language. The root of the word "ghv" is purely Georgian and is found in many Georgian words. GVINO and then vino, vin, wine and etc.
Nowadays, China has become one of the major importers of Georgian wine. With its traditional and unique wine-making technology and delicate, diverse tastes, wine produced in Georgia is gradually becoming the new normal on Chinese tables. Ambassador Kalandia said, "When I first came to Beijing in 2005, wine culture was becoming more and more popular in this country. Georgia is the only country in the Region with free trade agreement with China. 7 million bottles of wine were exported from Georgia into Chinese market last year and we are trying to increase the amount in the post-pandemic era."
After we completed the interview, the ambassador also invited us to sample collected Georgian wine of various kinds.
"It's a huge responsibility to represent my country here in China"
In total Ambassador Kalandia has lived in Beijing more than 10 years. While being asked to choose a word to describe the Chinese capital, Ambassador Kalandia used "powerful". "Beijing is the political center of China where historical events have taken place. The city is developing very rapidly. It is an amazing place and I can see the power of this city every day."
Ambassador Kalandia has also visited many Chinese cities besides Beijing, with Kunming, Chengdu and Hangzhou being his favorite. As for the features of these cities, Ambassador Kalandia remarked in a familiar tone: "Kunming is a city with amiable climate, hospitable people and a long history. Many historical locations can be found in Sichuan, a place that highly resembles Georgia. Like Georgians, people there can see beautiful mountains and enjoy savoring wine. I like Hangzhou for its historical, modern and interesting features." He finished the talk by saying "but definitely Beijing is number one."
Ambassador Kalandia belongs to the post-80s generation. While being asked about his work as an ambassador in China, he replied: "I am very privileged. For me, it's a huge responsibility to represent my country here in China. My daily life is dedicated to strengthening and deepening bilateral and multilateral cooperation between two countries." He also admitted that his backgrounds of being a sinologist (Ambassador had published Monography - Transformation of China in XXI Century and more than 10 articles regarding the Reforms and Opening Up Policy of China) and a professional economist of oriental countries have contributed a lot to his daily work and life. "As an ambassador, I can say that my work is full of challenges".
Statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia on approval of the programme on creation of common socio-economic space between the Russian Federation and the occupied Abkhazia region of Georgia
Approval of the programme on creation of common socio-economic space between the Russian Federation and the occupied Abkhazia region of Georgia represents another illegal step towards de-facto annexation that envisages gradual integration of Georgia’s indivisible regions into Russia’s military, political, economic and social systems.
The so-called “treaty on alliance and strategic partnership” concluded between the Russian Federation and its occupation regime in Sokhumi in November 2014 as well as all subsequent so-called “agreements”, “memoranda” or “programmes” are illegal and cannot have any legal effect. Through such provocative steps and hybrid warfare instruments, the Russian Federation blatantly violates the fundamental norms and principles of international law, undermines the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia, and poses a serious threat to peace and security on the European continent.
We call upon the Russian Federation to cease its destructive actions and illegal steps directed towards de-facto annexation of Georgia’s occupied territories, implement its obligations under the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement, withdraw its military forces from Georgia’s territory and not to impede creation of international security mechanisms on the ground.
Visa Tap to Phone Transforms Payment Acceptance for Sellers Worldwide
Tbilisi—Oct. 23, 2020—As the world increasingly turns to digital payments amidst COVID-19, a simple mobile app can help millions of sellers worldwide quickly and securely accept contactless payments, while improving the checkout experience for customers. After piloting Visa Tap to Phone over the past year, Visa (NYSE:V) today announced product availability in more than 15 markets with plans to expand to the United States and accelerate global product growth in the rest of the world via more than 35 new partners, including Visa Ready for Tap to Phone partners.
Tap to Phone transforms current generation Android smartphones or tablets into contactless, or tap to pay, software-based point of sale (softPOS) terminals without additional hardware. As part of Visa’s commitment to digitally-enable 50 million small and micro businesses, this cost-effective tool helps businesses quickly access the digital economy, prevent lost sales and improve cash flow by accepting contactless payments anywhere, anytime. Already, the number of sellers using Tap to Phone has grown by 200% over the past year and is now live in numerous countries across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and Latin America. Recent launches for Tap to Phone include Belarus, Malaysia, Peru, Russia and South Africa, with upcoming launches planned in Brazil, Italy, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and more.
Opportunity for Tap to Phone by the numbers:
- Two billion Android devices globally could transform to payment acceptance machines.
- Tap to Phone holds particular promise for the 180 million micro and small merchants (MSM) around the world, where fewer than 10% of MSMs in many emerging markets currently accept digital payments.
- In a survey conducted by Visa, 63% of MSMs said they would likely implement Tap to Phone in their own businesses and more than 50% of consumers said they would likely use Tap to Phone if offered to them.
“It was just five years ago when Visa set out to enable virtually any IoT or mobile device to make payments and now today, we are enabling many of those same devices to accept payments in a very simple way with Visa Tap to Phone,” said Mary Kay Bowman, global head of buyer and seller solutions, Visa. “With billions of phones around the world at the ready, the opportunity that comes with lighting them up as payment acceptance devices is enormous. Visa Tap to Phone could be one of the most profound ways to reinvent the physical shopping experience.”
Tapping to pay, or contactless payments, is growing rapidly in the COVID-19 era. Visa has seen tap to pay payments grow by 40% year-over-year, In a recent Visa survey, nearly half of consumers (48%) said they would not shop at a store that offers only payment methods requiring contact with a cashier or shared machine like a card reader, making it critical for businesses to expand their acceptance methods beyond cash.
Reinventing In-store Shopping, No Longer Constrained to the POS
According to Visa data, casual dining, travel resources and grocery are currently the most typical category of use for softPOS solutions. However, Tap to Phone can elevate consumer experiences in additional ways including:
- Line busting: With six-foot social distancing mandates in effect, lines can become overwhelming. Tap to Phone helps employees to checkout customers quickly, anywhere around the store.
- Transit: In Japan and Belarus, Visa was first to show how Tap to Phone can help eliminate the need for standalone ticket machines and additional validation hardware for conductors.
- Nomadic and service-based businesses: Make a sale from anywhere and get paid on the spot without having a hardline POS or adding payment accessories.
- Pay on delivery: Tap to Phone decreases friction when consumers pay for delivery, eliminating the need for cash and limiting touch during the transaction.
“We always look for ways to improve our customer experience, from personalized service to ease of payment. That's where Tap to Phone comes in. Customers are always curious and impressed when we process their payment using nothing but our mobile phone. Not only has Tap to Phone been helpful for our in-store sales, but we also use it for our contactless product deliveries, helping customers stay at home and pay with their cards, which makes them gain confidence in our brand,” said Karla Avila, founder of Extenclip in Costa Rica.
Building a Global Partner Network to Accelerate Product Availability
Also announced today, the Visa Ready for Tap to Phone program will help to fast track global product availability and could reduce the functional evaluation for solution providers from almost two months to a few hours. Visa Ready for Tap to Phone now enables technology companies to become Visa Ready certified, giving sellers the peace of mind that the technology solution they choose meets Visa’s high standards for security. Initial participants of Visa Ready for Tap to Phone include Cellfie, Center of Corporate Technologies M4Bank, Digitsecure, GeoPagos, IBA Group, iCARD AD Bulgaria, MYPINPAD, PayCore, Phos, Quest, Rubean, SmartPesa, SoftPos, Soft Space and Techno.
Additional Visa approved technology, acquirer and government partners include Alfa Bank Kazakhstan, BPS Sberbank Belarus, CIMB. FirstData, FT Technologies, Halyk Bank, Hong Leong Bank, Kazpost, MagicCube. Maybank, Niubiz, Oschadbank, Paymentsense, PostePay, Priorbank, Promerica, Russian Standard Bank, Sberbank Kazakhstan, Symbiotic and Worldline/SIX Payment Services.
If you are a solution provider or acquirer interested in learning more, please visit the Visa Ready website for more details.
Tap to Phone: How It Works
Sellers download an app, supported by their acquirer, and after registering and selecting their participating bank, the sellers can start accepting contactless payments in just a few minutes. Tap to Phone builds on top of the security of an EMV chip transaction, in which each transaction contains a dynamic cryptogram that cannot be reused. To see more about how Tap to Phone works, a video demonstration is available here.
About Visa Inc.
Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) is the world’s leader in digital payments. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, reliable and secure payment network - enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. Our advanced global processing network, VisaNet, provides secure and reliable payments around the world, and is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second. The company’s relentless focus on innovation is a catalyst for the rapid growth of connected commerce on any device, and a driving force behind the dream of a cashless future for everyone, everywhere. As the world moves from analog to digital, Visa is applying our brand, products, people, network and scale to reshape the future of commerce. For more information, visit usa.visa.com/about-visa, visa.com.ge, facebook.com/VisaGeorgiaGE
 IHS Markit cited by NFC Forum; December 2019
 “Small Merchants, Big Opportunity, The Forgotten Path to Financial Inclusion,” Dalberg
 “Understanding The Future of International Tap to Phone Acceptance Study,” Visa
 Data provided by Visa’s Tap to Phone program participants from January 2019 through September 2020.
Visa announces results of the research among Georgian female entrepreneurs within #She’sNext initiative
She’s Next Empowered by Visa research highlights a focus on the challenges and motivations among women business owners in Georgia
Tbilisi,1 October 2020– Under She’s Next, Empowered by Visa global initiative in Georgia, Visa commissioned a research that analyzed and surveyed female entrepreneurs and business owners to better understand their attitudes, experiences and challenges they face.
She’s Next, Empowered by Visa connects like-minded female entrepreneurs with industry experts for education, inspiration and networking opportunities that help deliver immediate impact for their business. Launched in 2019 in the United States, today She’s Next, Empowered by Visa is expanding globally as a part of Visa’s ongoing commitment to support female entrepreneurs.
The research in Georgia is designed to take the national pulse of female business owners: the goals they aim toward, the challenges they face and motivations that drive them the most.
Key regional findings of the Women entrepreneurs research in Georgia include:
- What drives female entrepreneurs: financial independence (68%) and the desire to make more money (59%), making a lifelong dream come true (21%) are the top three motivators for women in Georgia to start a business.
- Funding is a tremendous hurdle: Main challenges faced by women entrepreneurs when starting their business were capital raising and funding. 50% of women said that they encountered difficulty obtaining the funding they needed to start their business. At the same time 72% of women entrepreneurs financed the business on their own, 45% took a bank loan and 11% received a grant.
- Having a network empowers: 88% of women in Georgia knew another female entrepreneur before deciding to start their own business, and 45% wish they would have received an advice from other female business owners before starting their own business.
- Expanding business: The main area for which women entrepreneurs need additional investment is creation of new products and services, entering new markets (41%).
- Impact of COVID-19: 54% of the female entrepreneurs respond that running business compared to the previous years has become harder. The difficulty faced during the pandemic for the respondents was that they had to close the outlets partially or completely (49%). 44% of respondents mention that sales have dropped as customers have reduced their purchases. Two out of ten respondents experienced failures in the supply of products to consumers (22%).
- Shift to digital: 37% of the respondents are going to switch their business online. For 65% it was hard to answer what opportunities does online shopping channel bring to their business and only 13% responded that the switch will increase sales and competitiveness.
- Educational platforms and tools: 74% of female business owners are interested in additional workshops to grow their business. The most interesting topics for them are payment systems and new technologies; dealing with crisis and stress; effective work in conditions of uncertainty; getting additional funding; developing a brand strategy;
“Running a business requires a lot of hard work, investment and dedication. Scaling She’s Next initiative across the globe, now it’s turns to drive it in Georgia too. Visa is committed to empowering women business owners through a long-term program of education, cutting-edge digital payment technology and a powerful peer network. We will keep championing female business owners as they build, sustain and advance their businesses and local economy”. - said Cristina Doros, Visa Country Manager for the Caucasus region.
Within the 1st wave of #She’sNext educational program Visa hosted 4 webinars with the leading business women, coaches, experts and motivational speakers. Up to 600 Women entrepreneurs and small business owners were able to develop their practical skills and gain knowledge in various aspects of business management, personal development, crisis management strategies, and negotiation skills.
To ensure the connection within the participants of the program local networking community, a Facebook group #She’sNext has been established. After the 1st wave of the program, the online community for female entrepreneurs has reached more than 600 participants.
Detailed information about #She’sNext educational program is available on Visa webpage
About Visa Inc.
Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) is the world’s leader in digital payments. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, reliable and secure payment network - enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. Our advanced global processing network, VisaNet, provides secure and reliable payments around the world, and is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second. The company’s relentless focus on innovation is a catalyst for the rapid growth of connected commerce on any device, and a driving force behind the dream of a cashless future for everyone, everywhere. As the world moves from analog to digital, Visa is applying our brand, products, people, network and scale to reshape the future of commerce. For more information, visit usa.visa.com/about-visa, visa.com.ge, facebook.com/VisaGeorgiaGE.
 Visa research, conducted by ACT Global in September, 2020 on behalf of Visa to 300 adult, women entrepreneurs in Georgia
New joint Czech-Georgian scientific program to support Georgian universities!The presentation was opened by the Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Georgia, Mr. Petr Mikyska, representative of JSC ENERGO-PRO Georgia Mr. Giorgi Trapaidze and a representative of Czech Technical University in Prague (ČVUT), Dr. Ing. Petr Nowak.The Ambassador underlined the importance of the project for Georgia as a country with significant hydropower potential. The involvement of ENERGO-PRO Georgia is of utmost importance for the project, as an example of the cooperation of Georgian private sector and Czech and Georgian educational institutions with Czech Government support. The project fosters cooperation between the Czech Technical University in Prague with Georgian Technical University in Tbilisi and Akaki Tsereteili State University in Kutaisi. The main goal of the project is to assist the development of hydropower direction and to introduce modern approaches in educational processes, as well as to improve the professional preparation of Georgian universities graduates.This cooperation is an opportunity for Czech and Georgian University lecturers to exchange experience and increase qualifications in the field, an important issue for Georgian employers. The project focuses on the improvement of curriculum, an increase of the interest and engagement of students through various trials, tours to HPPs and workshops in the Czech Republic or online (in the course of the COVID-19 situation).