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The Seven Startups Who Are Designing A Better Future For Tourism

The seven startups who are designing a better future for tourism, in NZ’s first climate positive accelerator programme.

Lightning Lab, one of New Zealand’s leading business accelerators, has joined forces with kiwi travel-tech company, Tourwriter, to bring the Tourism Design Accelerator to life. The accelerator kicks off October 29, in Wellington, with the teams attending a two-day bootcamp.

Tourism is one of the leading industries in Aotearoa and also one of the industries that has been hit the hardest by COVID-19. The accelerator is aimed at designing better travel experiences for tourists, better value for suppliers and better practices to safeguard our environment.

“We’re excited to announce a partnership with a former Lighting Lab team, CarbonClick, who will be using their off-the-shelf carbon platform to make the programme climate positive - offsetting at least double the estimated emissions of the event. We believe this is a world first and are excited to be trailblazing sustainability initiatives in this space.” says Luke Ball, GM Lightning Lab.

Seven teams have been selected to take part in this hybrid (virtual and in-person) programme in the tourism sector – allowing for businesses across the country to participate from their respective regions. The teams are exploring a wide range of solutions, from VR experiences to using AI for itinerary building, and marketplaces and sustainability tools:

  • Amio (Christchurch): the fastest web application travel planner. The app instantaneously provides personalised recommendations for experience available “right now” and “right here”.
  • ‘mote (Wellington): a platform that connects the remote, freelance, and independent workers of the modern workforce with alternative working spaces.
  • S360 (Christchurch): a software enabling tourism operators to measure how sustainable they are against a benchmarked standard.
  • Enrapture X (Auckland/Wellington): fully-immersive aerial safari tours inside Eight360’s NOVA® VR motion simulator, utilising drones and 3D-VR Goggles.
  • Excio (Wellington):) a photo community allowing amateur and professional photographers to exhibit and promote their work, including imagery of locations throughout New Zealand to encourage dispersal of tourism flows and inspire people to travel more.
  • Roady (Wellington): a bucket-list app, with geolocation technology allowing users to locate and tick off premium travel experiences in Aotearoa.
  • Tourwriter Itinerary Marketplace (Wellington): a platform that connects discerning travellers with local boutique tour operators so they can plan and book tailormade holidays.

The teams will work directly with tourism industry partners and practice market validation and product development methods used by companies like Google, IDEO, and Airbnb. They’ll be provided with full support from startup coaches, business leaders, advisors and mentors to help validate and grow their businesses. At the end of the programme, each team will have the opportunity to pitch to their supporters and potential investors in a Demo Day event.

The Tourism Design Accelerator is powered by Lightning Lab and Tourwriter, and supported by Callaghan Innovation, Tourism NZ, Tourism Industry Aotearoa, Go With Tourism, Storytech, Centrality, AJ Park, Avid Legal, ChristchurchNZ and Carbon Click.


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