The past year and a half really took a toll on all of us but it was especially hard for businesses in the travel and tourism sector. Travel ban, closed borders, home office forced big and small companies in the travel sector to go on hold.
In 2020, the global revenue from the travel and tourism industry dropped by over 20%, from $711.94 billion to $568.6 billion, reported Statista. In a recent publication, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) estimated that the global economy would lose over $4 trillion due to the negative impact of the COVID-19 on the tourism sector in 2020 and 2021. But some innovators kept going despite the unusual conditions. Now, we bear the fruits of their effort and innovative projects that help the tourism industry revive.
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), dedicated to the promotion of responsible, sustainable, and universally accessible tourism, recently launched a report with the Top 100 Tourism Startups and Innovators around the world. The Romanian startup Questo is listed as one of the companies that can restart the travel industry.
Questo is a 100% green platform for city exploration games, offering a new and unique experience to the users. The players explore new destinations and learn more about the story of a particular place using gamification methods, following clues and solving challenges. The app is currently available in over 130 cities globally. In the past 2 years, more than 100.000 people have finished a city exploration game, walking more than 300.000 kilometers. The travel startup was chosen for the “Most Disruptive Travel Start-up of 2019 in Hospitality” Award from the UN’s World Tourism Organization and recently received an investment of $1.5M in a round led by Early Game Ventures.
Romania insider gathered together a list of the most notable travel and tourism startups in Romania, revealing the growing number of travel-related projects in the country and the crucial impact these have on the local economy and tourism. Here are some of them:
Epic Visits is an “online booking platform that connects owners of thematic accommodations and experiences with travelers seeking meaningful, life-enriching experiences.” The platform is the perfect place for anyone who is aiming for alternative tourism and “epic getaways” and retreats in Romania. Founded in 2019 in Bucharest, the startup is currently aiming to raise €150,000 on Seedblink.
Travlocals is another booking platform where travelers could find a fitting accommodation and enjoy the beauty and richness of Romania. The special thing about the startup is that they are all about promoting responsible tourism, “the kind of tourism that is closely linked to history and traditions”.
Framey is a platform that enables users to make the best out of their travel journey, from dreaming to planning, experiencing, and sharing. The app has a strong focus on the visual aspect, turning the digital space into a gallery of inspiring dream photos and memorable trips. Recently the startup raised $1M in a seed funding round led by ICE Capital from Dubai, and backed by Romanian-based JECO Capital.
Pickatrip is an online subscription platform through which you can take advantage of the best travel offers in the most popular locations and tourist destinations in Romania and around the world.
Flat White Properties is another local project that manages a variety of properties in Ordea and aims to relieve them of “the stress of maintaining a property in a hotel regime”.
Booking-Mania offers hotel services and car rentals using video reviews uploaded by users. According to the founder, Robert Răducanu, video reviews are more compelling than written ones and build up a better trust between the platform and the customers.
Disclaimer: In the warm summer days of August 2021, Trending Topics SEE will pay special attention to the topic of Tourism & Hospitality. We want to introduce the brightest SEE projects, startups, and entrepreneurs in the industry. Read more stories or share yours here.