Booking.com Announces the 10 Sustainable Tourism Startups Joining the 2019 Booking Booster Accelerator Program
Social enterprises from 9 countries around the world will pitch for scaling grants of up to €500k from Booking.com’s €2 million Booster fund for innovation in sustainable tourism
Today we announced the 10 sustainable tourism startups that will be joining the 2019 Booking Booster Program in Amsterdam in April and May 2019. Now in its third year, 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 startups’ projected growth.
“We’re seeing the caliber of innovative entrepreneurship in the sustainable tourism sector continue to evolve and mature,” said Gillian Tans, President and CEO of Booking.com. “The diversity of perspectives that are represented with this year’s Booster finalists and the creative ways they are leveraging technology to grow and maximize their impact is truly inspiring. I’m very much looking forward to getting to know these changemakers better and learning more about their inventive plans to transform the future of travel.”
With hundreds of applicants from all over the world, the 10 startups joining the 2019 programme hail from 9 different countries and operate collectively across virtually the entire globe. Their businesses also represent a diverse mix of models and solutions, including products that leverage technology to facilitate environmental and wildlife conservation at scale, as well as platforms that empower at-risk communities to thrive through their inclusive approach to tourism.
“True sustainability goes beyond just making an informed purchase or a one-off action,” commented Livia Firth, Founder and Creative Director of Eco-Age and 2019 Booking Booster Ambassador. “It’s about a holistic approach to doing business that takes the entire supply chain and community into account. It’s exciting to be a part of Booking.com’s efforts to support and fund inspiring startups that are working to make sustainable travel - in all of its forms - an accessible reality that truly benefits travelers, local communities and the planet.”
All the participating social enterprises will receive a year 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 future growth for the participating scale-ups, including projects undertaken together with the Booking Cares Volunteer Program.
We cannot wait to get started!
The 10 Finalists of the 2019 Booking Booster Accelerator Program
Avy | Netherlands
Avy is a drones-for-good company, building long-range wing drones to deliver medicines, protect wildlife, and conserve nature.
“We are absolutely delighted to take part in the Booking Booster. It shows that Booking.com shares our passion for using technology to drive conservation efforts. We look forward to learning and accelerating both our business and our impact through the Booster’s network and support.” Remco van den Born, CCO
Clean Travel | Australia
Clean Travel's innovative software platform helps local ethical travel operators manage their business and reach a global audience.
“We’re so proud to be participating in the Booking Booster and to join its growing community of phenomenal organisations using tourism as a force for good. We can’t wait to get started!” Macartan Gaughan, CEO
Hydrao | France
Hydrao provides smart demand-management solutions for water conservation.
“Hydrao is honored - and humbled - to be among the selected few to participate in the Booking Booster 2019.” Eric BURKEL, Co-Founder and Head of International Strategy & Development
I Like Local | Netherlands
I Like Local is an impact travel marketplace that connects travelers with local people in developing countries in order to to provide authentic experiences to travelers and an extra source of income for local hosts.
“We are humbled and excited to be selected for the Booking Booster. I Like Local is on a mission to create a social impact for communities in Asia and Africa through travel, and the Booster program can help us do so faster. We can’t wait to exchange ideas with both mentors and other entrepreneurs. The inspiration alone is going to propel us forward!” Sanne Meijboom, CEO
IMPULSE Travel | Colombia
Impulse is a regenerative tourism platform for in-destination experiences, offering more than 200 tours and activities in seven locations in Colombia.
“Being selected for the Booking Booster means the world for us...The Booking Booster is the best possible partner we could think of to scale our regenerative tourism model in Colombia and beyond our borders. We know that with the Booking Booster’s help, we will be able to change the lives of many more people and to help Colombia and other countries to evolve into the post-war era thanks to regenerative tourism.” Rodrigo Atuesta, Co-Founder
NotOnMap | India
NotOnMap empowers communities and creates a livelihood for marginalized, vulnerable people in rural areas through the preservation of culture and heritage, connecting travelers with unique, differentiated experiences.
“The commercial validation of our model built around social enterprise from an industry leader like Booking Booster gives us immense confidence to pursue our mission more vigorously and passionately.” Kumar Anubhav, Founder
Okra Solar | Australia
Okra’s innovative technology will transform the energy market and provide affordable energy access for the 1.2 billion people living off-grid.
“We are excited to have support from the Booking Booster as it enables us to solidify the link between energy access and income generating activities. Building on initial energy access, we foresee eco tourism playing a big role in kickstarting these emerging economies.” Afnan Hannan, Co-Founder
The Picha Project | Malaysia
Picha promotes cultural heritage by empowering refugees to share authentic traditional food from their homeland with the public.
“Being accepted to the Booking Booster means refugees will have an innovative and positive voice in an international level or stage. It represents hope.” Kim Lee, CEO and co-founder
SASANE Sisterhood Trekking and Travel provides socially responsible tourism by training local women that are survivors of human trafficking as trekking and tour guides to lead tours through rural mountain villages in Nepal.
“It is a very proud moment for SASANE Sisterhood, we feel we have a step forward in our mission to empower and reintegrate human trafficking survivors and also ensure sustainable tourism.” Jeny Pokharel, Co-founder
Sumba Hospitality Foundation | Indonesia
SHF promotes responsible tourism, combining a hotel school for underprivileged youth with a luxury eco-resort for travellers wanting to contribute to a better world.
“A ticket to the Booking Booster represents a great leap forward for our organization: the expertise and mentorship of Booking is the stepping stone we’ve been looking for to scale our responsible tourism model. Our team is incredibly excited to make the most out of this amazing opportunity!” Inge De Lathauwer, Founder