Fly me to Hong Kong

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Here are the top news stories from around the travel industry — let’s jump right in:

  • Streamlining tours and activities distribution. Tours and activities technology platform Holdbar has secured $1m in pre-seed funding. The Denmark-based company plans to use the funding to expand its team and develop an all-in-one software platform for tour and activities operators to help them distribute their products and services and drive efficiency. Holdbar intends to overcome the current problematic systems that prevent operators from integrating into distribution channels and negatively impact the customer experience.
  • Fly me to Hong Kong. Tourism recovery after the pandemic has seen many strategies implemented by destinations. However, one, in particular, has captured widespread attention: Hong Kong is giving away half a million airline tickets to fly in tourists. The program launches on March 1st and will continue for roughly six months, with tickets being distributed in phases. Tourists can also take advantage of special offers and vouchers, including over a million vouchers (valued at €11.60) that provide discounts on food, drinks, transportation, hotels, shopping, and attractions. Can we all agree that this approach to boosting tourism will change travelers’ perceptions when considering their next destination? I’m ready! It appears that Macau is following in Hong Kong’s footsteps with a similar program.
  • Boat Sharing Revolution. With the goal to make boating more accessible, Finnish boat-sharing startup Skipperi has raised €7m. The Helsinki-based company provides a shared-use boating subscription service and a peer-to-peer boat rental platform, both of which can be accessed via the Skipperi app. The startup currently offers over 400 boats across six locations and it aims to make boating more accessible, especially to those who find boat ownership too expensive. Skipperi offers practical and theoretical training to ensure safe boating and uses geofencing and AI to provide real-time information on boating conditions.
  • Vietnam’s Unique Offerings. Travel and experiences platform Klook has formed two partnerships with two of Vietnam’s top attraction players Sun World and VinWonders, aimed at increasing the visibility of Vietnam as a destination for international travelers. The digital marketing initiatives will feature promotional content and campaigns, and the partnerships will be vital in driving tourists to Vietnam, which is expected to welcome 8 million visitors in 2023. The country recorded significant growth in demand in 2022 and the partnerships will play a role in capitalizing on the rising demand.
  • Stronger tech and European expansion. Canadian startup RocketRez has raised $15 million for its ticketing and business operations platform for mid-sized tours and attractions companies. The platform offers e-commerce ticketing, revenue management, business intelligence, customer management, and retail and food sales. By capturing data from multiple digital touchpoints, the platform provides robust insights into customer behavior. The funding will strengthen the technology, add key leadership positions, expand sales, and develop partnerships.
  • Elevating travels with a fresh app. Lufthansa’s new app offers a streamlined booking process, improved check-in, and a digital wallet for seamless payments. Acting as a “digital travel companion,” the application proactively supports passengers throughout their journey with real-time updates and relevant offers. The app’s clean design and intuitive use make travel more accessible and convenient.