New paradise for startups

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Let’s dive into our weekly curation of the travel industry’s top news, innovations, trends, and startups:

  • Smooth security at the airport. Passengers flying from Rome’s Fiumicino Airport can now enjoy a smoother security process, thanks to introduction of a new tech system. Using computed tomography (CT) technology means passengers can leave electronics and liquids in bags, improving security effectiveness and waiting times. High-resolution volumetric 3D images enable quicker and deeper baggage assessment, automatic explosives detection and low false-alarm rates. The airport will continue introducing the machines throughout this year, aiming to improve operational processes and passenger experience.
  • New paradise destination for startups? Malta has launched an exciting new program to attract non-EU entrepreneurs to its shores and become part of its thriving startup ecosystem. The Malta Startup Residence Program offers a 3-year residence permit to founders, co-founders, core employees, and their immediate family members, with the potential for renewal. With a minimum investment of €25,000, beneficiaries will have access to Malta’s rich history, beautiful climate, and world-class healthcare and education systems. Malta’s diverse economic landscape, talented workforce, and concentration of industry players make it the perfect place for startups to launch, grow and scale their businesses. The program reflects Malta’s commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship and will undoubtedly strengthen its position as a leading destination for European startups.
  • Yanolja bold expansion strategy. South Korean company Yanolja Cloud has acquired Oregon-based Innsoft, a hospitality solutions firm, to target North America’s market. Yanolja aims to expand the adoption rate of SaaS-based hospitality solutions in the region, where the transition to digital operations has been slow. Yanolja also plans to introduce self-check-in kiosks to hotels near highways to improve front desk operational efficiency. The company previously invested in HotelOnline, which helps African and Middle Eastern properties transact online.
  • Where to go and what to do. The UK-based platform for booking attractions and experiences, has raised $2.9 million to expand its domestic travel market. The funding will be used to launch the platform in the United Arab Emirates and the US by the end of 2023. already has the largest bookable inventory of “things to do” in the UK and plans to increase its monthly user base to 10 million by the end of the year. The company aims to boost the domestic travel market and increase bookings across the industry.
  • How is Google shaping travel? This is an exclusive peek into Google’s vision for the future of travel as Susie Vowinkel (Managing Director of Global Travel) sits down with Dr. Javier Gonzalez-Soria (TravelThink) for an in-depth interview. Discover how Google invests in the travel industry and the innovative products and tools they are developing to help travelers and travel companies enhance their experiences. A great chat with one of the leading tech companies shaping travel trends.
  • Everyone is flying to Europe. President Biden’s recent trip to Northern Ireland highlights two travel industry trends. Firstly, the rise of “bleisure” trips, where travelers combine business with leisure activities, has increased during the pandemic. Secondly, the surge in Americans planning to travel to Europe this summer, with searches for European travel up 77% from last year. This has created a gold rush opportunity for airlines, with companies like JetBlue and United increasing their capacity to meet demand. The US’ biggest airlines derive a significant portion of their passenger revenue from transatlantic travel.
  • Nature-focused partnership to boost young visitors. Travel and experiences platform Klook has partnered with a wildlife reserve in Singapore, the Mandai Wildlife Reserve, to boost international visitors. Together, they will create marketing campaigns targeting millennials and Gen Z travelers in six key markets in the Asia-Pacific region. This partnership will curate bundles and activities to position the precinct of the Mandai Wildlife Reserve as a top-of-mind destination in Singapore. The partnership aims to promote eco-conscious travel choices and raise awareness of wildlife conservation efforts. The first campaign will kick off with events, including Singapore Zoo’s 50th anniversary.
  • Getting airport rydes around the globe. Japan-based SmartRyde, a marketplace for pre-booked airport transfers, has raised $3.4 million in Series A+ funding. The startup has created an API that allows online travel agencies and airlines to offer pre-booked airport transfers in their booking flows easily. SmartRyde aims to be a “global distribution system” for airport transfers, streamlining inventory management for the taxi and limousine industry. With partnerships with over 700 airport transportation providers in 150+ countries, the company’s services are currently available on 40 different OTAs.