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Tourism has changed, bringing new opportunities for entrepreneurs

The new Hub for Innovation in Tourism will help startups by transforming the potential in the post-Covid travel industry into excellent global businesses that can benefit the entire tourist industry.

Sponsored: This article is published in collaboration with Hub for Innovation and Tourism.

Countless Covid lockdowns have wreaked havoc in many industries, including tourism. During the pandemic, the entire tourist industry came to a standstill and afterwards, once international travel was allowed again, travel patterns changed, and tourists had new expectations.

“After so many of us across the world have worked at home for so long, we now need more than ever to travel abroad. People are taking more trips and travelling in new ways. So, if any industry needs new digital solutions and business models, then tourism is definitely it,” said Heidi K. Dahl Larsen.

She is the Head of Secretariat for the new initiative Hub for Innovation in Tourism (HIT), which opened in the summer. HIT aims to create an ecosystem that helps entrepreneurs realise the new potential in the tourist industry. It will do this by strengthening entrepreneurs, and by helping the next generation of knowledge-based entrepreneurs by collaborating with universities.

It has a wide base.

Even though HIT is new, it has already helped several successful tourism startups, including the search portal Momondo and marketplace, which was sold to Airbnb for an unknown six-figure sum.

A new generation of entrepreneurs are knocking on the door, and the hub has given them a place that they can go to for help and advice. And here HIT hopes to make the tourist sector a prospect for increasing numbers of entrepreneurs who will see it as a potential market for their solutions.

“When you talk traveltech, you tend to think about the platforms used to make bookings and to book journeys, but it’s much more than that. It’s also about the backend and solutions for hotels, and it can also be solutions aimed at sustainability in general. For example, a solution like FlowLoop, which helps hotels recycle shower water,” said Larsen, who also explained that several entrepreneurs in HIT were also involved in another industry but had become aware of the difference they could make in the tourist industry.

Startups and innovation drivers

In the post-Covid world, several new Danish traveltech startups had already delivered impressive growth. And according to Larsen, this is also completely necessary, if the tourist industry is to develop.

“Globally, startups have been the primary drivers of innovation in the tourist industry for many years. The travel industry has been disrupted by Airbnb, and Tripadvisor – and Danish Momondo, which has also been insanely successful,” said Larsen.

And with new rising stars like Digital Guest, LuggageHero and StoryHunt, the ground has been laid for a new, successful generation.

Facts: Hub for Innovation in Tourism

  • Hub for Innovation in Tourism is a project that shall strengthen the whole ecosystem for tourism startups at different levels.
  • Entrepreneurs and startups can exchange and sound out ideas and get advice directly from HIT, including testing their solution and getting advice about specific markets.
  • In addition, HIT collaborates with knowledge institutions, where students are presented with challenges within tourism – which will ensure there is a pipeline of new entrepreneurs.
  • Hub for Innovation in Tourism is part of a new national tourism strategy in Denmark. It is run by development companies Dansk Kyst- og Naturturisme, MeetDenmark and Dansk Storbyturisme; the latter two have their secretariat at Wonderful Copenhagen. Hub for Innovation in Tourism has received funding from REACT-EU, and the EU’s Special Fund, which are implemented by the Danish Board of Business Development.

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