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Tourism Accelerator launches to help startup founders re-shape tourism industry

Wellington-based startup programme Lightning Lab has teamed up with Tourwriter, an award-winning Kiwi tourism-tech company, to launch Tourism Accelerator 2020.

Set to commence in October 2020, the programme focuses on helping startup founders who are designing solutions to make travel better for travellers, suppliers, and the environment.

The programme, which is sponsored by Callaghan Innovation and Tourwriter, is a streamlined, primarily-virtual version of the regular programme that had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Underpinning the programme is a need for ‘better travel’. This means a shift away from what Tourwriter co-CEO, Glenn Campbell calls ‘cookie cutter travel’.

"You know, that kind of same-same travel that’s easy to book, but seldom memorable in the way a well-researched itinerary can be, and often results in over tourism."

The Tourism Accelerator targets three impact areas for better travel: smarter travel matchmaking, new financial solutions, and environmental guardianship.

Up to six ventures will be accepted into the four-month mentorship programme. Selected startups will work closely with a large team of experienced mentors and investors who have built, advised, and sold companies in the tourism sector.

At the end of the programme, each venture will have the opportunity to pitch for cash investment from investors, underwritten to the value of $100,000.

Applications are now open and close on September 30, 2020. The programme commences on October 29 and finishes on February 19, 2021.

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