Published on : Friday, December 7, 2018
Organisers of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) start-up competition announced Wednesday that four Israeli tourism start-ups are among 10 finalists competing for glory. There were 3,000 competitors at the contest from in 132 countries.
The competition, in partnership with Spain’s largest tourism corporation Globalia, aims to identify the most innovative start-ups from all 158 UNWTO member-states that will lead the future transformation of the tourism sector.
The winning start-up will design a pilot project with Globalia and its major brands, including AirEuropa, Be Live and Travelplan. Globalia employs 13,000 workers and has an annual turnover of more than 3.5 billion euros ($4 billion).
All 10 finalists will receive sponsored participation and networking opportunities at FITUR, the International Tourism Trade Fair taking place in Madrid, Spain, in January 2019.
Refundit, the Tel Aviv-based tax refund start-up, is the first of the Israeli finalists. The company, co-founded by Uri Levine and Ziv Tirosh, enables users of its simple application to easily submit VAT refund requests prior to arriving at the airport and without stopping at customs.
Pruvo is Israel’s second representative in the final. It is a Haifa-based hotel booking optimisation start-up that provides an automatic online service which takes existing hotel reservations from websites, hotels and travel agencies and tracks their prices, alerting users if there is a better deal for the same booking. In November 2017, Pruvo announced the closure of a $360,000 round of funding by Israeli crowd equity platform ExitValley.
Located in the southern town of Omer, SeeVoov, the third finalist, offers an interactive video travel planning application based on artificial intelligence and deep learning. Once users select their points of interest, the platform plans the best route for their trip and enables them to make reservations.
Finally, Herzliya-based Howazit is a smart end-to-end customer communication platform, allowing businesses to better communicate with customers – in this case, tourists – to enhance satisfaction, loyalty, engagement and sales.