Today we are announcing the 10 startups that will join our first cohort of the Booking.com Booster. The goal of the programme is to identify, mentor and fund enterprising startups from around the world that are seeking to have a positive impact on the global tourism industry.
Nearly 700 startups with teams from 102 nationalities applied to join the programme, with the United States, India, the Netherlands, Russia and Italy topping the list for the highest numbers of applicants.
The 10 selected ventures will participate in a 3-week programme in June 2017 in Amsterdam that culminates with a chance to pitch to a panel of Booking.com and industry experts for grants of up to €500,000 from Booking.com.
“We are so impressed with the amazing diversity and quality of applications that we received for the Booking.com Booster Programme. The incredible passion and genuinely innovative business concepts we saw from startups from practically every corner of the globe was truly inspiring,” said Gillian Tans, CEO of Booking.com. “I can’t wait to get to know these 10 startups better and see how we can help them to accelerate their growth plans in order to bring their vision for sustainable tourism to even more destinations around the world.”
The 10 sustainable travel startups that will be joining Booking.com Booster in June 2017 are:
"Authenticook is an opportunity for travelers and locals alike, to experience a place one meal at a time. We provide authentic culinary experiences (ranging from a full course meal to cooking classes) at the homes of locals, thereby providing an avenue to people to experience and understand the local culture through the medium of food! Our aim is to provide an avenue where locals can create awareness about their culture and generate income in the comforts of their home. We at Authenticook, believe that food is a religion that transcends boundaries, regions and prejudices. We are today living in a world where people are highly disconnected whether it relates to the cultures, traditions or just merely perceptions. Authenticook is an avenue to bring people closer through the common love of food." - Ameya Deshpande, Co-Founder
More on https://www.authenticook.com/
"Our theory of change is that we generate local incentives to protect biodiversity by connecting and strengthening local hosts in nature destinations, increasing their income and livelihood opportunities.
We work in two main areas: On one hand, we are a nature travel and experiences marketplace; we directly and efficiently connect travelers with local hosts, at a very low cost while guaranteeing the best offer, great support and service, easy planning, booking, access to other travelers’ reviews, and the best possible price. At the same time, we are a community sustainable development agency; we contribute to closing the gap between market needs and the local offer. In order to do this, we execute destinations’ development programs with partners (government, NGO’s, multilaterals, companies); accompanying hosts and communities in the process of designing products; we help them improve their experiences and services; provide access to great digital content for promotion, among others." - Miguel Torres Uribe, Co-Founder and CEO
More on http://awake.travel/
"Backstreet Academy is a peer-to-peer impact travel platform where we empower impoverished local communities in developing countries who cannot speak English nor access technology to create unique travel experiences, host tourists and showcase their tradition, culture and heritage.
By doing so, they can increase their income 2-3 times, gain respect for being seen as masters of their craft and preserve the intangible cultural heritage of our world.
We do this through our Bottom-of-Pyramid (BOP) technology where hosts are able to receive booking information using feature phones via local language SMS (text messages) or automated calls with 2-way input. A hyper-local on-demand community translator system is set up to match a translator to every booking, ensuring smooth communication with guests while retaining the authenticity of the experience.
We currently offer over 1,200 experiences on our platform in over 10 countries." - Jamon Mok, Co-Founder
"Desolenator is a clean off-grid technology that can purify any water – seawater or contaminated sources – into clean drinking water using solar power.
The UN estimates that by 2030, half of the world will not have access to clean water.98% of our water resides in our seas but is saline and unfit for consumption. If we are to support our growing global community, we must start desalinating. Most importantly, we must do so in a manner that is sustainable, affordable and accessible for everyone.
The Desolenator unit is 100% run on solar power and does not use consumables such as filters, membranes or pre-treatment chemicals. Each unit produces up to 20L/day and can be scaled in a modular fashion providing water independence to a family or several households. A community sized model which will deliver 1000L/day is currently under development.
Desolenator has the potential to transform the lives of millions. Contaminated water sources can be purified, coastal towns and island nations can turn the surrounding sea into a limitless supply of fresh water and communities can become water independent." - Alexei Levene, Co-Founder
More on http://desolenator.com/
"Good Hotel Group is a profit for non-profit organization that combines doing good with doing business and premium experiences. We re-invest all profits in business and education, and as a result, stimulate local entrepreneurship and development. Good Hotels are located in destinations where touristic demand meets the opportunity for development. We offer travellers to do good, connect and contribute to their travel destination. A whole new level of immersion in the premium travel industry. The hotel groups’ mission is to redefine the model of how business is done – combining doing business with doing good – with a best in class guest experience at the core. An inspiring company that is characterized by an entrepreneurial spirit, and the belief that one day, all business should be sustainable and give back to the communities they are in.
Good Hotel focuses on creating permanent change and impact by investing in the training of local unemployed. In addition to decreasing the community’s unemployment rate, the group’s customary Good Training program fuels the local hospitality industry with great hospitality staff, focusing on delivering genuine service." - Cristina Rebner, General Manager of Good Hotel Antigua
More on http://www.goodhotelantigua.com/
"Local Alike believes in traveling the right way. We inspire every traveler to be a change-maker by helping us transform tourism into a powerful development tool. We work hand-in-hand with the locals to build their capacity and to curate a genuine and meaningful experience for travelers and locals alike. We also set up community based tourism fund to help improve the quality of life for each community we work with.
Local Alike exists as two business entities. Local Alike Travel is a tour company that operates community-based tourism tours in Thailand and soon across Southeast Asia. Local Alike.com is the technology arm that is a sustainable tourism online marketplace where travellers around the world can find local and authentic experiences.
After 4 years in the business, we succeeded in developing 70 communities in Thailand and this year we are expanding into communities in Vietnam and India. What makes us unique is we establish long-term partnerships with local communities. We bring in more income and educate them to optimize resources from tourism to further develop their societies. We encourage them to fix community issues from the root cause." - Somsak Boonkam, Founder and CEO
More on https://localalike.com/
"MEJDI is on a mission to bring socially conscious travel to the masses! Originally founded in Israel and Palestine, MEJDI pioneered an industry first, two-guide, multi-narrative tour. The model brings together divergent local communities to provide travelers with different religious, political, and cultural perspectives. For example, in Israel and Palestine, groups travel with one Israeli and one Palestinian guide, in N. Ireland - groups have Catholic and Protestant guides. MEJDI has since expanded, and now offers programs across the globe with the goal of promoting intercultural understanding, social transformation, and positive engagement with local communities. This model can be applied everywhere - Japan, Vietnam, Cuba, Oman - people from different aspects of society are given the space to tell their stories, showcase their work, and build new networks. The result is a type of tourism that is purposeful, that honors and respects both the traveler and the destination, and ultimately will redefine responsible travel!" - Aziz Abu Sarah, Co-CEO
More on http://www.mejditours.com/
"MovingWorlds exists to get expertise to the parts of the world that need it most. We help professionals volunteer their real skills - go Experteering - with social impact organizations overseas; on their own, or through corporate-sponsored programs. Our matching platform, resources, and global support team helps people find a highly relevant project, and then guides them through a comprehensive readiness and training process so that they make a real impact in the field. One of the leading barriers to progress in emerging markets is a lack of access to talent, so when people go Experteering, they help build the capacity of social impact organizations by giving what they’re good at. All projects focus on transfer of knowledge to local workes in addition to other goals of solving a technical, business, or creative challenge; training team members; making connections to global networks; and/or improving operations and strategy." - Mark Horoszowski, CEO
More on https://movingworlds.org/
"The Seabin is an automated marina rubbish bin that collects floating rubbish, debris and oil 24/7. Water is sucked in from the surface and passes through a catch bag inside the Seabin. Water is then pumped back into the marina, trapping litter and debris in the catch bag. The Seabin has the option to use alternative power such as wind, wave or solar as a source.
We started with this because we were fed up with swimming, surfing and sailing in rubbish. The Seabin cleans the oceans one marina at a time: improving people’s time at marinas, beaches and in the water. The Seabin however, is only one small part of a larger solution in the battle against global oceanic littering. The real solution is awareness. That’s why we also implement educational programmes and beach clean-ups with our customers and neighbourhoods, to increase our impact." - Pete Ceglinski, Co-Founder
More on http://seabinproject.com/
"Based in NYC and founded in 2015, Visit.org is the world's leading platform for social impact travel experiences. 100% of hosts' revenue is invested back into the local community.
What makes visit.org unique is that all of its providers are nonprofits and other types of social impact organizations. From a coffee making day with a local farmer cooperative in Guatemala to a half-day traditional cooking workshop with immigrant women in NYC, travelers can add an immersive, impactful travel experience to their itinerary, selecting from over 600 unique travel experiences in 65 countries.
The platform’s technology enables social ventures to create and market mainstream tourism products, lessening their dependency on donations. A network of 200 Ambassadors around the globe identifies, vet, and onboard new partner providers, and helps them with professional visuals, videos, and storytelling. It is free to build and automatically distribute on the global platform reaching millions of people. Visit.org invites you to Meet The World In Person." - Michal Altar, Co-Founder and CEO
More on visit.org
We'll be sharing the stories of these startups on our blog over the coming weeks, leading up to the programme in June.