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Global travel ecommerce company, Booking.com, has shortlisted ten sustainable tourism startups to join its 2018 Booking Booster Programme. These include two Indian startups – Global Himalayan Expedition and Sakha Consulting Wings.

The 2018 Booking Booster Programme offers grants upto $ 616.82K from Booking.com’s $2.46 Mn fund. The second phase of this accelerator programme aims to identify, mentor and fund enterprising startups from around the world that are seeking to create a positive impact on the global tourism industry.

Here’s a brief about the two selected Indian startups:

  • Global Himalayan Expedition (GHE) organises 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.

Commenting on the selection, Paras Loomba, Founder Global Himalayan Expedition said, “Booking.com’s Booster Programme will be a great platform for GHE to build upon our work in the Himalayas, learn from experts and scale this initiative across various remote geographies of the world.”

  • Sakha Consulting is a social enterprise, launched to provide safe transport solutions to women by women in some select cities in India, providing livelihoods with dignity in professional driving to resource-poor women as part of the “Women on Wheels” (WOW) initiative.

On the selection, Meenu Vadera, Founder, Sakha Consulting Wings, “Participating in the Booking.com Booster Programme means a possibility of offering Sakha an opportunity to fulfil its potential. We hope to gain new knowledge, new networks, new funds and equipped with all of it, we hope to reach out to hundreds of more women enabling them to break barriers and take on non-traditional livelihoods that can potentially transform their lives.”

The Booking Booster Programme will be organised in Amsterdam in May 2018.

Commenting on the two selected Indian startups, Vikas Bhola, Head – Indian Subcontinent, Booking.com said, “For the second year in a row, India was the second highest represented nationality after the United States among the startups that applied. The startup space in India is clearly thriving and it is encouraging that there are quality startups focussed on creating opportunities for the development of local communities and economies to promote tourism.”

Global Vacation Stays Player – Booking.com

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Establish in 1996 in Amsterdam, Booking.com works to empower people to experience the world and invests in digital technology that helps take the friction out of travel. The company connects travellers with varied options for the stay including apartments, vacation homes, 5-star luxury resorts, tree houses, etc.

Talking about the ten selected startups, Gillian Tans, CEO of Booking.com, said “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.”

In a media statement, company claimed to have over 1.6 Mn properties and cover more than 128K destinations in 228 countries and territories worldwide. The company also provides 24/7 for assistance and support in 43 languages through customer experience team.

Other Innovation Programmes Led By Foreign Companies

Several global companies have been eyeing the potential of Indian startup ecosystem and introducing various programmes to associate with the Indian startups.

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Recently, global aerospace and security giant Lockheed Martin announced that it will open applications for its annual India innovation growth programme (IIGP) to seek innovative ideas of Indian startups and university students.

Also, Techstars announced that it will launch a new startup accelerator programme in India next month. The programme aims to focus on hardware and software technology sectors and will support 10 early stage startups.

Earlier, Amazon opened applications for its annual Amazon Alexa Accelerator 2018 to seek out 13 promising startups which use voice technology. The programme is looking for startups to explore Alexa innovation in segments such as smart home, entertainment, finance, enterprise, communications, automobile and transportation, health and wellness, connected learning, connected devices, hardware components and other enabling technologies.

Furthermore, Axilor Ventures has invited applications for the seventh cohort of its startup accelerator programme starting in March 2018. The 100-day programme will focus on startups working in consumer, deeptech, enterprise, fintech and healthtech segments.

As various accelerators explore multiple domains of startups in India, the Indian tourism industry has found their right representatives to bag the grants from the Booking Booster Programme 2018 organised by Booking.com.

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