Innovation in tourism: The relaunch and the role of Startups

As the recovery began after the last difficult two years, it is an opportunity for the industry's Startups to take the next step and star in a promising future

Tourism, probably the most important industry of Greece and one of the most important and strategic pillars of revenue, faced a difficult two years due to the conditions, but has begun to return to a growth trajectory already, for several months now, as domestic visitors and from abroad feel safer to travel and enjoy the beauties of Greece.

Initially, the strong recovery in aviation is a reality according to the data, with the return to travel marking a new period of optimism and predictions for an even better future. According to Eurocontrol data (with a reference time in 2019) rates of recovery of air activity are expected this year, reaching up to 87% between 2 and 8 May, while in Greece, according to air transport plans until 8 May, the flight flow is expected to exceed 90% in 2019 levels. Moreover, according to data collected by the short-term rental research company AirDNA concerning reservations made until March 1, 2022, short-term rental accommodation reservations in Greece for the summer period are increasing at the highest rate in Europe (+232% compared to the same period last year).

New dynamic for tourism Startups

On a new upward trajectory, after the two years of the pandemic, tourism Startups are again gaining interest as well as funding opportunities, at a time when the industry is booming again with the help of digital media.

The upward trend is also evidenced by the fact that Elevate Greece Startups active in tourism are the 2nd largest category in number after the life sciences, while, according to data from the Startups in Greece 2021/2022 report conducted by Found.ation with the support of the European organization EIT Digital and sponsored by egg | Eurobank | Corallia, the Startup industry active in the tourism and hospitality sector last year saw an increase of 8.5% in 2021 compared to 2020.

According to PhocusWright’s “State of Startups” report, Startups in the tourism and travel industry attracted 5 billion dollars in capital worldwide between January and the third quarter of 2021, which is a testament to investor confidence in the industry and their desire to reap benefits during its recovery.

The need for acceleration for the ecosystem

The ecosystem presents many opportunities for growth, and the penetration of technology in the tourism sector brings many new possibilities and dynamics to the industry. “Smarttourism has begun to grow, offering security and transparency with the contribution of Blockchain technology, among others, and the role of Startups in this future is more than pivotal.The time is right for those companies that are now starting to develop tourism services to seek their acceleration, but also for the more mature Startups to move on to the next phase of maturation that will boost their own growth and that of the entire ecosystem.

Egg – enter•grow•go, the most comprehensive business accelerator in Greece created by Eurobank in collaboration with Corallia, has been a catalyst in 2013 in shaping the overall innovation ecosystem in Greece, enhancing Startup entrepreneurship. Egg is an official supporter of the national agency Enterprise Greece, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Register of Startups – Elevate Greece, the Ministry of Development & Investments, while it was selected by the General Secretariat for Research and Innovation of the Ministry of Development and Investments to develop and support the first Greek Cooperative Formation of Innovation in Digital Technologies in the Tourism and Culture Sectors.

This Innovation Cluster in Digital Technologies has the institutional support of GNTO and SETE (Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises) and the advisory support of Corallia, while its aim is to modernize the tourism and cultural product and make the best use of a strong competitive advantage of the country, through the adoption of software and digital content technologies, Internet technologies, smartphone applications and other high-tech applications that will provide a new “experiential” dimension to the visitor.

The program consists of two distinct platforms. The egg Start-Up platform is addressed to business groups or Startups with early business ideas, aiming to support them in their first steps, but of particular interest is the egg Scale-Up platform which is an integrated framework for business development, networking and expansion, providing a series of actions and tools that will help participants raise the necessary funds, to target the right customer base, promote their product or service more quickly and efficiently and to ensure business success and sustainability. The two platforms differ in the targeting as well as the degree of maturity of business groups/companies.

Egg provides participants with building support with fully functional and well-equipped collaborative spaces, mentoring by distinguished and renowned personalities from the entire range of economics and science sectors, one-stop-shop support services for all key business operation and support of the startup of each participating business team, business training on topics critical to a successful business operation through a predetermined intensive training program with a practical rather than a theoretical character, as well as financial tools and business networking to support the business operation and enhance their economic viability.

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