Asia’s big bounce back ᕙ(‾̀◡‾́)ᕗ

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Here is your weekly curation of the top innovation, trends and startups shaping the travel industry:

  • Asia’s big bounce back. Tourism revenue dropped right around the world in 2020 (we needn’t explain why) but Asia-Pacific was hit the hardest, feeling a drop of about 59%. However, the region has bounced back and is now actually looking like it’ll be the first market to recover. The region might have taken longer to open back up, but thanks to soaring numbers of travel this year, tourism’s contribution to GDP is expected to grow at an AAR of 8.5%. This is in addition to a prediction that 65% of new travel-related jobs will open up in Asia-Pacific. Find out more in this report.
  • All-in-one support for local hoteliers. The life of a small business owner in the hospitality sector isn’t an easy one. Aside from competing for space in the market, keeping up with digitalisation and crafting the very best experiences possible, there’s also a need to be at the top of your game with business savvy and market insights. To give local hoteliers a comprehensive all-in-one tool, Barcelona-based SaaS startup Amenitiz has just acquired French firm Ododo as it strengthens its position in the travel tech sector and helps users to build an online presence, take payments, craft experiences, and find educational and training tools. At the same time, the travel innovators will leverage the deal to launch their very own, The Hotel Club – a multilingual training platform on which hoteliers all over the world can find concrete, didactic and practical training, completely free. In addition to the training courses, physical events will be held regularly throughout Europe.
  • Peaceful stays and peace of mind. Guest screening and insurance are big topics when it comes to short-term rentals, and providers are increasingly looking for ways to know more about their guests before they arrive in order to have some peace of mind. It’s great to see a startup actively tackling these issues. Safely has raised $12 million to accelerate growth of its solutions for short-term rentals. Founded in 2013, the US-based startup focuses on providing safe rental experiences and insurance for individual homeowners and professional property managers.
  • News about European startups in your inbox. If you are curious about the latest news, updates and insights from the wider European startup ecosystem, I strongly recommend you to check out the EU-Startups newsletter. It’s a great chance to join more than 60k subscribers in staying up to date with Europe’s startup community, as well as checking out interviews, insights into who and what is shaping the future of innovation in the region and more.
  • Blockchain news giving you the blues? I just did a quick check with Google Trends to see where the general interest in blockchain is these days, on a worldwide level. You can see the result on the image below – seems like it is the lowest it has been in the last 12 months. The world was in a blockchain craze there for a while, so this downturn is interesting to note. With that being said, it seems like tech startup Pinktada found a sweet spot and has just raised $975k to expand their blockchain-based hotel marketplace. The platform lets travellers book a specific room and then swap or sell their reservation if their plans fly off course. The Houston-based startup also lets travellers explore rooms and amenities in 3D prior to booking.
  • Empowering sustainable travel choices. just partnered with Norway-based CHOOOSE to make it easier for everyone to make more sustainable choices when traveling. Through the partnership, the climatetech startup aims to “make information about carbon emissions more accessible and ultimately actionable for people worldwide”. They also engaged in partnerships with Amadeus,, Heathrow and several airlines. is one of the industry’s biggest names and has been actively pushing sustainability, so it’s really great to see how collaborative efforts like this one are pushing forward a new era of travel.
  • The reality of aviation emissions. The truth is catching flights emits carbon. We are not yet at a point where planes are carbon-free and they are a massive pollutant. We have seen great initiatives to offset this, and to make flying as sustainable as possible, but, there’s a growing concern that what we are actually seeing is greenwashing. Shedding light on the matter, and aiming to genuinely empower more sustainable travel is Oncarbon’s Jussi Ahola in this interview with Patricia from EU-Startups.
  • Happy days for Holidu. Munich-based Holidu just raised over €100 million in an oversubscribed funding round for its vacation rentals software and services. As travel bounces back and the popularity of vacation rentals jets to sky-high levels, the Munich-based startup is reaping the benefits. Its rental search engine reached more than 110 million visitors in the last 12 months and is developing a second strand of business – Bookiply. It’ll target hosts and help them to boost their online presence and get them more bookings.
  • Ready for (air)taxi and take off? Taxi’s themselves have been changing over the last couple of years. We don’t even ‘call’ a cab anymore, instead we just book instantly on an app and click a couple of buttons. But, before we know it, everything could be changing again and taxi’s might take to the sky. South Korea-based Plana has raised $8.3 million to develop its hybrid-electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft with plans to launch the first flight in 2024.
  • Jet2 bets on booming travel to continue. UK-based airline Jet2 has just ordered 35 new Airbus A320neo aircraft worth $3.9 billion at list prices, with an option to extend this to 71 aircraft. Clearly, the airline is confident that the demand for package holidays is set to continue and they want to be ready to feed that customer appetite. It’s a big move of confidence while the rest of the world looks to tighten its pockets, and it could be a move that inspires more growth in the industry.