Booking Booster finalist

Introducing the Booking Booster Accelerator Programme finalists

Each year, Booking.com awards scaling grants to sustainable tourism startups as part of our commitment to making a positive impact on the global tourism industry. We meet the Booking Booster Accelerator Program finalists

From drones-for-good and water conservation solutions, to initiatives that empower communities and marginalised groups, the finalists of the 2019 Booking Booster Programme are once again flying the flag for innovative entrepreneurship in sustainable tourism.

Following applications from hundreds of enterprising companies from around the world, 10 startups from nine different countries have been selected to join the three-week accelerator programme that culminates in a pitch for scaling grants of up to €500k in order to help support the next stage of the startups’ projected growth.

The 10 Finalists of the 2019 Booking Booster Accelerator Programme

Avy, Netherlands - Avy is a drones-for-good company, building long-range wing drones to deliver medicines, protect wildlife, and conserve nature.

Clean Travel, Australia - Clean Travel's innovative software platform helps local ethical travel operators manage their business and reach a global audience.

Hydrao, France - Hydrao provides smart demand-management solutions for water conservation and management.

I Like Local, Netherlands - I Like Local is an impact travel marketplace that connects travellers with local people in developing countries in order to to provide authentic experiences to travellers and an extra source of income for local hosts.

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.

NotOnMap, India - NotOnMap empowers communities and creates a livelihood for marginalised, vulnerable people in rural areas through the preservation of culture and heritage, connecting travellers with unique, differentiated experiences.

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. The Picha Project, Malaysia Picha promotes cultural heritage by empowering refugees to share authentic traditional food from their homeland with the public.

SASANE Sisterhood Trekking and Travel, Nepal - 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.

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.

"The creativity and ingenuity of the 2019 Booster Programme finalists is incredibly impressive and we're truly proud to support these businesses through the programme and beyond," says Marianne Gybels, Global Manager CSR, Booking,com. "Collaboration really is key to driving sustainable change and we hope that all of the Booster finalists provide inspiration to others, including our partners - whether through their ambition, approach or the products and services they offer."

Over the course of the programme, the businesses will receive lectures, hands-on workshops and coaching, to ready them for the final pitch. A panel of expert judges - including 2019 Booking Booster ambassador, Founder & Creative Director of Eco-Age, Livia Firth - will then determine which startups will receive grants from Booking.com’s €2m fund. All the participating social enterprises will also receive a year of ongoing mentoring and training from our experts, as well as opportunities and access to collaborate on potential innovation initiatives and experiments to help accelerate their future growth.

Click here to learn more about Booking Cares.

Hero image: credit to SASANE Sisterhood Trekking and Travel

Takeaway
  • The 2019 Booking Booster finalists will join a three-week accelerator programme in April/May, leading to the opportunity to pitch for scaling grants of up to €500k from Booking.com’s €2m Booster fund
  • The finalists represent a diverse mix of models and solutions, including products that leverage technology to facilitate environmental and wildlife conservation at scale, and platforms that empower at-risk communities through their inclusive approach to tourism
  • The Booking Booster Program sits alongside the Booking Cares Fund and Booking Cares Labs, as well as Booking.com’s internal volunteer program