10 sustainable tourism start ups compete for Booking.com development grant

Booking.com have announced the 10 sustainable tourism start ups that will be joining the 2018 Booking Booster Programme in Amsterdam in May 2018.

Building upon its successful launch in 2017, the three-week accelerator program consists of a series of lectures, hands-on workshops and coaching, culminating in a final pitch to receive a scaling grant of up to €500k from Booking.com’s €2 million fund in order to help support the next stage of the start ups’ projected growth.

“We’re thrilled with the 10 inventive start ups joining us in Amsterdam this spring,” said Gillian Tans, CEO of Booking.com. “The relationships we build with these passionate entrepreneurs not only help fuel their continued growth, but also invigorate and inspire our entire company. Our aim is to build a network of like-minded organisations and individuals that are leveraging technology to create a more sustainable future for destinations worldwide. Through our collective commitment, we are striving to ensure that we can keep the unique destinations we all love happy and healthy for generations to come.”

With hundreds of applicants from all over the world, the 10 start ups joining the 2018 programme hail from six different countries and operate collectively across six continents, including Antarctica. Their businesses also represent a diverse mix of innovative online marketplaces that connect travellers with inclusive travel experiences, cutting-edge technology solutions and initiatives that empower local communities to benefit more equally from the global tourism opportunity.

Community Homestay Network (Nepal)

Community Homestay Network is a platform for travellers visiting Nepal with a core focus on empowering women and cultural immersion by creating homestays and other tourism-based micro-enterprises in off-the-beaten-path communities.

Global Himalayan Expedition (India)

Global Himalaya Expedition (GHE) organizes impact expeditions to provide clean energy and digital education access to the remote mountain communities of the Himalayas, helping to put them on the map for future travellers to explore.

HiveSters (Thailand)

HiveSters is a social enterprise that acts as a hub for sustainable, real Thai experiences, connecting travellers who look for authentic cultural interactions with local experts in Thailand’s largest urban areas.

Hotel Con Corazón (Netherlands: Operating in Nicaragua)

Hotel Con Corazón Granada started as a 15-room boutique hotel in Nicaragua which opened in 2008 with the aim of investing all its profits in education projects for underprivileged children.

Keteka (United States: Operating in Central and South America, Antarctica)

Keteka is an online marketplace of unique, off-the-beaten path activities with a focus on indigenous communities that are instantly bookable online.

KITRO (Switzerland)

KITRO is the first, fully-automated food waste measurement system for restaurants and hotels.

Reflow (Netherlands)

Reflow actively supports destination improvement by collecting plastic waste and transforming it into sustainable 3D printing material, used to build products for the hospitality industry.

Sakha Consulting Wings: Women on Wheels (India)

Sakha Consulting is a unique social enterprise, launched to provide safe transport solutions for women by women in selected cities in India, providing livelihoods with dignity in professional driving to resource-poor women as part of the “Women on Wheels” (WOW) initiative.

Tastemakers (United States: Operating in Africa)

TSTMKRS is an online marketplace that connects local insiders with curious travellers who want to see a different side of Africa.

Wheel the World (United States)

Wheel the World is tackling the challenge of accessibility and inclusivity in tourism within the adventure travel sector for people with disabilities.

All the participating social enterprises will also receive several months of ongoing mentoring and coaching from Booking.com experts, as well as opportunities and access to collaborate with Booking.com on potential innovation initiatives and experiments to help accelerate their future growth.

Together with the recently launched Booster Labs and the Booking Cares Fund, the Booking Booster Programme sits alongside Booking.com’s internal volunteer programme, where employees have long partnered with local organisations on projects that help improve destinations worldwide. Together these initiatives make up and further expand Booking.com’s Booking Cares commitment and further the company’s mission to make a positive impact globally.

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