TourismTech Finds Destination Goa

The article outlines how Goa is gearing up to be India’s TourismTech hub

Goa is the world’s dream leisure destination. Although small, Goa offers something for everyone; the sunshine state is a second home for international travellers during long, belligerent winters, a paradise with clean beaches and green vistas for those seeking peace, and a happening party destination with much-loved restaurants, cafés and clubs for holidayers. Since tourism is the backbone of Goa’s economy, any blow to the industry translates into the loss of jobs and income for the locals, who largely depend upon the influx of tourists, especially during the short season. In the next five years, the tourism sector in India is projected to grow to USD 125 billion, accounting for 53 million jobs. Being the country’s most sought-after travel destination, Goa is expected to gain significantly in tourism revenue.
Tourism is blossoming in Goa; however, many industry experts, business leaders, and government officials have been working hard to overcome the industry’s vulnerabilities.

Strengthening Tourism in Goa
“We want to make the tourism industry in Goa future-proof, sustainable and resilient to economic slumps and recessions. Nurturing and promoting TourismTech startups on the Goan soil is proving to be the right step in this direction,” says D S Prashant, CEO of FiiRE (Forum for Innovation Incubation Research & Entrepreneurship.)
FiiRE has made waves in the Goan startup ecosystem by incubating, funding, and successfully graduating 100+ businesses in a short span. The tech incubator is now focused on building a robust startup ecosystem for the travel tech sector in the state. Tourism technology has played a significant role in the growth of the tourism industry in Goa, India. With the increasing popularity of the state as a tourism destination, there has been a corresponding rise in the use of technology to enhance the tourism experience. Mobile apps, online booking platforms, virtual tours, travel information portals, and digital payment gateways are all examples of travel tech solutions.

Goa Tourism Accelerator 2.0
“At FiiRE, we believe in turning challenges into opportunities. So, when the tourism industry in Goa, and worldwide, collapsed during the pandemic, we quickly took measures to build a platform to foster TourismTech – and that’s how Goa Tourism Accelerator was conceptualized in 2021,” shares Thejus Joseph, COO, FiiRE.
The Goa Tourism Accelerator (GTA), an initiative launched by FiiRE in collaboration with the Department of Tourism, Government of Goa, was launched in 2021 to scout and empower innovators, entrepreneurs, and startups working on solutions for future-proofing the travel, tourism, and hospitality industry. The accelerator provides selected startups access to mentorship, training, networking, and funding opportunities to help them develop and scale their products or services. The program also offers startups access to a network of industry experts, investors, and potential customers. It provides them with resources and support to help them navigate the challenges of starting and growing a business.
The second edition of The Goa Tourism Accelerator for 2022 is a 12-week accelerator program organized at FiiRE, Don Bosco Engineering College, Fatorda, Goa. The accelerator program has Incredible!ndia – Ministry of Tourism, Government of India as a strategic partner, Goa Tourism Department of Tourism Government of Goa as a partner, and Big Blue Road (India) Pvt. Ltd. as the Go-To-Market partner. The program has received applications from 70+ TourismTech startups from 32 cities in India and seven countries, of which 13 startups were selected for the program. The chosen startups are addressing burning issues in waste management, customer experience, new payment solutions, mobility, and sustainability. Designed to help redefine the Go-To-Market strategy for startups with some traction, the accelerator will help the selected startups to apply their solution to the industry for the first time, while also providing them with piloting opportunities with government agencies and departments, giving access to top mentors and the investor network, along with POC opportunities with industry partners. The chosen startups will also be a part of the TourismTech Founder Club.

Ensuring Responsible Tourism in Goa
“There is an urgent need to bring sustainability and environmental conservation to tourism. TourismTech startups today are solving key issues such as waste management, promoting local art, and culture, and providing enhanced travel experiences while reducing adverse environmental impact”, says D S Prashant, emphasising the relevance of building a strong TourismTech startup ecosystem.
During the last GTA edition, 14 startups were handheld to success in a 16-week accelerator program. FiiRE also has a virtual programme that enables incubators to network with local and global experts, fellow entrepreneurs, and startup founders. Besides running the accelerator program, FiiRE is currently incubating 10 TourismTech startups with diverse offerings within the travel, tourism, and hospitality space, ranging from AV tours to online aggregators of camping sites to curated offbeat trip experiences and many others.

The GTA Vision 2030
The far-sighted vision of Goa Tourism and startup ecosystem enabler FiiRE is the reason behind the state emerging as a desirable destination for founders of innovative technology startups. “The Goa Tourism Accelerator is a one of its kind program that offers a level playing field for entrepreneurs and innovators worldwide. Our vision is to be a TourismTech Startup Hub by 2030, and we are inviting promising travel technology startups to make tourism, travel, and hospitality sectors future-ready and recession-proof”, sums up Thejus

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