More than 250 travel tech and traditional tourism startups applied to the MIST program. The Travel Startups Incubator, based in the United States, screened applications based on their potential for investment and the quality of their business plans. MBI experts performed additional due diligence, considering sustainability and other socio-economic criteria. Finally, selections were verified in partnership with the Da Nang City Incubator (DNES).
Qualifying startups will advance to a MIST Startup Accelerator bootcamp May 5-7, 2017 in Siem Reap, Cambodia alongside nine innovative tourism startups from Cambodia, Lao PDR and Myanmar. Market experts including Deputy Director of TMG Cong Nguyen, Investment Director of Gobi Ventures Victor Chua and Founder of Triip.me Hai Ho will mentor startups at the bootcamp.
Qualifiers from Viet Nam include:
Bayo’s mission is to help Vietnamese make the best travel decisions by helping them find the right travel information, right suppliers, right products and prices, and to transact with local suppliers easily
Chameleon City is an on-demand chat-based service providing travel and lifestyle answers from local experts, 24/7.
Dichung uses technology to promote low-impact rideshare transportation options, giving drivers the chance to trade free seats in their vehicles and working with taxi companies to develop vanpools.
Hue Free Walking Tour operates the first and only walking tour of Hue that also offers add-on historical tours and hands-on experiences for independent English-speaking travelers.
I Love Asia offers women-led motorbike tours of Hoi An and Hue while supporting projects for disadvantaged communities in the cities in which they work.
Innaway is a mediator between hotels and travelers, helping hotels maximize revenue and improve quality standards, and helping travelers to travel smarter with better assistance and support.
Mimoza creates 3D virtual tours of top travel destinations, allowing potential and current tourists, travel providers and students to use virtual and augmented reality systems to learn about hotels, heritage sites, restaurants and more.
Morning Rooms is Viet Nam’s largest budget hotel network, assisting economical tourists to find the right quality rooms at the price they need.
Oneclicktogo is an all-in-one trip planning website offering flight and hotel booking, guide book recommendations and a review platform, working to create a powerful tech-based tourism ecosystem that brings Mekong tourism businesses to the global market.
Tugo is a technology-based tour operator and travel community, striving to offer low-cost and reliable packages and tours around the world.
Putaleng Legend will offer diverse ecotourism experiences, adventure trekking tours and authentic ethnic cultural tours through its sustainable ecolodge.
“MIST promotes sustainable tourism, giving innovative startups the potential to transform travel in one of the most dynamic regions on earth”, said Jens Threanhart, executive director of MTCO.
Dominic Mellor, head of the MBI, added, “We’re proud of this batch of startups. They are fueling the right kind of tourism growth that positively impacts the tourism experience and local communities”.
Approximately half of all Startup Accelerator finalists, selected by mentors, will advance from the bootcamp to an investor showcase at the Mekong Tourism Forum in Luang Prabang on June 6, 2017. There, startups will present their business plans to media, investors and an expert judging panel. Ultimately, four will receive innovation grants of $7,000-$10,000 USD.
About MIST: MIST is a leading tourism accelerator for Asia’s top growth markets, giving startups everything they need to launch successfully, achieve profitability, create jobs and impact communities in the Greater Mekong Region. In addition to grants up to $10,000, the MIST startup accelerator offers exposure, connections to local stakeholders and ecosystems, individualized coaching and the chance to network with investors and global accelerator programs. MIST is a joint project of the Mekong Business Initiative (MBI) and the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO). On Facebook: Mekong Innovative Startup Tourism.
About the Mekong Business Initiative (MBI) - MBI is an advisory facility that promotes private sector development in Cambodia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), Myanmar, and Vietnam. MBI fosters development of the innovation ecosystem by supporting business advocacy, alternative finance and innovation. It is supported by the Asian Development Bank and the Government of Australia. On Facebook: Mekong Business Initiative.
About the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO) - MTCO is a collaborative effort between Cambodia, the provinces of Yunnan and Guangxi in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam. The mission of the MTCO is to help GMS National Tourism Organizations develop and promote the Mekong as a single travel destination, offering a diversity of good quality and high-yielding sub-regional products that help to distribute the benefits of tourism more widely; add to the tourism development efforts of each GMS destination; contribute to poverty reduction, gender equality and empowerment of women; and minimize any adverse impacts of tourism through the development of a sustainable industry. On social media: @TourismMekong.