Booking.com announces 10 start-ups for its Sustainable Tourism programme
Booking.com, one of the world’s largest e-commerce companies and digital technology leader, announced the 10 sustainable tourism startups 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 programme 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.
Out of the 10, start-ups, two are from India and one from Nepal. Global Himalayan Expedition and Sakha Consulting Wings: Women on Wheels are the two companies selected from 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. 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.
“We’re thrilled with the 10 inventive startups joining us in Amsterdam this spring. 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,” said Gillian Tans, CEO of Booking.com.
With hundreds of applicants from all over the world, the 10 startups 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.
The selected start-ups are Community Homestay Network (Nepal), Global Himalayan Expedition (India), HiveSters (Thailand), Hotel Con Corazón (Netherlands: Operating in Nicaragua), Keteka (United States: Operating in Central and South America, Antarctica), KITRO (Switzerland), Reflow (Netherlands), Sakha Consulting Wings: Women on Wheels (India), Tastemakers (United States: Operating in Africa), and Wheel the World (United States).
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.