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Successful applicants for Lightning Lab Tourism announced

Lightning Lab Tourism aligns with a number of initiatives by industry and government in 2019 and will act as a vehicle to bring breakthrough innovation to the tourism industry.

New Zealand’s biggest business accelerator, Lightning Lab, has announced the startups selected to take part in its first-ever programme for businesses in the tourism sector, an industry ripe for innovation.

Lightning Lab Tourism focuses on building a sustainable innovation ecosystem for the future of tourism in New Zealand. Of almost 70 applications, the following teams have been selected to take part:

  • Road Guru: connecting local drivers and guides with visitors
  • PowerTrip: integrating electric vehicles into the tourism industry
  • Stay Native: sharing authentic indigenous experiences
  • Hidden Gems: an A to Z catalogue of all the special spots that make Christchurch unique
  • AirGuides: a marketplace where travellers can book trips, curated by vetted writers, bloggers and local experts
  • CHU NZ: exploring the use of sustainable facilities for road trippers
  • Tourism Ticker: media, data and analysis service providing insights to the tourism industry

These startup teams will be joined by two industry project teams;

  • SOUTH Project: supported by The Christchurch International Airport and Air New Zealand, will focus on bringing better visitor flow insights to regional tourism offices and operators.
  • Voluntourism project: supported by the Ministry of Business, Employment and Innovation, will develop volunteer-oriented tourism opportunities that could change the face of tourism in New Zealand.

Teams will work directly with tourism industry partners and practice market validation and product development methods used by companies like Google, IDEO, and Tesla.

Christchurch will host the accelerator and providing support and connections to participants where necessary. 

At the end of the three months, each venture will have the opportunity to pitch to their supporters and the broader tourism sector in a large Demo Day event, to be held at the new Christchurch Town Hall.

Teams seeking investment will also get to present to some of the top angel investors and early-stage venture funds in the country in a separate investor-only event.

Jeffrey Ling, Lightning Lab Tourism’s Programme Director says: “Tourism is one of NZ’s biggest industries and tourism operators are some of the most innovative, adventurous people in NZ. I’m excited to come back to Christchurch — my former home of ten years — to help this very capable cohort test, validate, and ultimately grow their businesses.”

Chris Roberts, Chief Executive of TIA says “The inaugural Lightning Lab Tourism offers prospective innovators a unique opportunity to turbo-charge New Zealand’s tourism industry. Venture projects will be aligned with our Tourism 2025 & Beyond framework to ignite strong and sustainable growth”.

“TIA is pleased to be supporting this exciting initiative. This is an opportunity to collaborate and address burning issues within the tourism industry where innovative solutions are necessary. Solving these issues will further lift the industry’s ability to create value for the benefit of New Zealand.”

Lightning Lab Tourism is supported by TIA, Callaghan Innovation, Christchurch International Airport, Air New Zealand, Centrality, ChristchurchNZ, Department of Conservation, Data Ventures, MYOB, Qrious, Amadeus, AWS, Deloitte and Simmonds Stewart.

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