Grant Recipients of the 2019 Booking Booster

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Celebrating (and rewarding) innovation in sustainable tourism at the 2019 Booking Booster Finale

Last night, for the third annual Booking Booster finale, 10 sustainable tourism startups from all over the world pitched their growth plans (and their hearts) in front of a live audience for the chance to receive a grant of up to €500,000!

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For the past three-weeks, these 10 Booking Booster finalists - selected from a group of over 300 - have been busy here in Amsterdam attending a series of lectures, hands-on workshops and coaching sessions led entirely by Booking.com colleagues and experts. All with one goal: develop a plan to increase their impact and get their businesses ready to scale.

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Presenting the keynote remarks to kick off the finale to the 2019 Booking Booster, Livia Firth, Founder and Creative Director of Eco-Age and 2019 Booking Booster Ambassador urged everyone to do their part in actively supporting sustainability and innovation in this space: “Sustainability is an ecosystem of moving parts and we all need to play our role. Whoever we are and wherever we work – whether in startups, established companies, policy makers or members of government - we have the power to make a difference every single day. Today we know that we can also make a huge difference when we book a trip”.

The judges had a tough job determining how to divide up our €2 million fund to across this broad mix of startups, including products that leverage technology to facilitate environmental and wildlife conservation at scale, as well as platforms that empower at-risk communities to thrive through their inclusive approach to tourism.

So we are very happy to announce that we awarded grants to all 10 startups that participated in the program, with IMPULSE and Okra being awarded the highest grants of €400,000 for their proposed plans. Impulse is a regenerative tourism platform for in-destination experiences, offering 200+ tours and activities in seven locations in Colombia. Okra’s innovative technology will transform the energy market and provide affordable energy access for the 1.2 billion people living off-grid.

The other sustainable tourism startups awarded grants from the 2019 Booking.com Booster Program’s €2 million fund are NotOnMap for €250k, Avy for €200k, SASANE Sisterhood Trekking and Travel for €175k, Picha Eats for €175k, Clean Travel for €100k, Hydrao for €100k, I Like Local for €100k and Sumba Hospitality Foundation for €100k.

“I am so impressed by the incredible dedication of these amazing startups and the innovative solutions they are developing to protect communities and resources in every corner of the globe,” said Gillian Tans, President and CEO of Booking.com. “We have long believed that technology is a powerful instrument for good, including when it comes to sustainable travel. I’m so proud of each and every one of these passionate changemakers and am looking forward to following their progress and supporting them as they seek to transform their visions into reality, helping to keep the destinations that we all love happy and healthy for decades to come.”

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Have a look at the aftermovie to find out how this year’s Booster program came to a fantastic conclusion last night.

As part of our mission to empower people to experience the world, we are committed to making a positive impact on the global tourism industry. Through Booster and other Cares initiatives we contribute to the ongoing health of these destinations so that future generations can continue to enjoy them for years to come.

We are so proud of every one of these passionate startups. And we’re looking forward to following their progress and supporting them as they seek to transform their visions into reality.

Danielle D'Silva