Tourism technology is playing a significant role in the growth of the tourism industry in Goa, especially so in the post-pandemic era. With the ever-increasing popularity of the state as a versatile tourism destination for domestic as well as foreign vacationers, there has been a corresponding rise in the use of technology to enhance the tourism experience. What’s more interesting is that besides being a favoured holiday destination, Goa is also becoming a vibrant hub for TourismTech startups!
FiiRE Goa is at the forefront of building a robust TourismTech ecosystem in the sunshine state with an unwavering focus on spotting and nurturing tech-powered innovations in the tourism space, handholding them to build MVPs, and extending assistance in terms of seed funding, market access and VC connect.
“We want to help startups with tech-enabled solutions for the tourism industry grow and get to a point where investors are willing to put money into them,” explains D S Prashant, CEO of FiiRE.
The idea of promoting innovative technology in tourism germinated during the pandemic, when tourism & hospitality worldwide took a major hit, with millions losing their livelihoods.
“Goa’s economy leans heavily on tourism, and the heavy losses suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic made us rethink and rebuild the tourism industry. Empowering and accelerating startups with innovative TourismTech solutions is a well-planned step towards ensuring sustainable tourism to the state,” shares Thejus Joseph, COO of FiiRE.
In September 2021, at a time when the global tourism industry was still in dire straits, FiiRE, in association with the Tourism Department of Goa, the Travel & Tourism Association of Goa, and other stakeholders, launched Goa Tourism Accelerator 2021, a 16-week accelerator program aimed at identifying and supporting tech startups catering to travel, tourism and hospitality industries. The program received over 50 applications from India and abroad, and after a careful selection, 14 tourism tech startups from diverse areas, including – waste management, customer experience, new payment solutions, mobility and sustainability, among others, were selected for incubation support at FiiRE.
Driven by its mission to strengthen the tourism technology startup ecosystem in Goa, FiiRE offers comprehensive incubation support, which includes modern workspaces, a prototyping lab, mentorship sessions, networking opportunities, and seed funding. It also gives a solid springboard for tourism tech startups to collaborate with organisations like the Travel & Tourism Association of Goa, Start Up Promotion Cell, and NABARD.
FiiRE also has a virtual programme that enables incubators to network with local and global experts, fellow entrepreneurs, and startup founders. The incubator doesn’t charge any equity or royalty to the startups under the Goa Tourism Accelerator program.
Currently, over 10 TourismTech startups are incubated at FiiRE 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.
“Four of our startups – Rekise Marine, Brave Technologies, LaFabrica Craft, and Team Yaguar have filed for patents,” reveals Thejus.
As per industry experts and top investors, TourismTech packs potential, and the domain is expected to grow in leaps and bounds in the next five years.
Just when there was a desperate cry for reforms in domestic tourism, the upcoming TourismTech startups will certainly help promote responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism. As for FiiRE, the vision is to make Goa the world’s most sought-after destination for TourismTech innovators and startups by 2030.
Technology-driven tourism, with its growth potential comparable to e-commerce and fintech, will undoubtedly be a lucrative area for innovators to build successful businesses. FiiRE is geared to support TourismTech innovations and startups if they show promise in scalability, market viability and sustainability. Innovative ideas in the field of Cleantech garner much interest from the incubator as its underlying objective is to create cleaner and greener ecosystems with a 100% focus on promoting sustainable tourism.