A new tourism industry accelerator backed by some of Queensland’s biggest corporates, Amadeus and Brisbane Airport Corporation, has officially opened.
The accelerator called Horizons will strengthen the growing industry by facilitating the development of compelling business models and by helping Startups secure the traction, viability, investment and partnership opportunities needed to succeed. The program was launched by minister for tourism, major events and the Commonwealth Games’ Kate Jones at the Tourism Innovators Conference and is supported by the Queensland Government’s $420 million Advance Queensland initiative.
Queensland is Australia’s second largest tourism market, accounting for 24 percent of the national tourism output and employing over 130,000 people. Rather than being a distinct industry, tourism covers a range of services, and Startups or established businesses with diverse products and offerings are encouraged to apply.
Startups accepted into Horizons will receive bespoke training and resources, a support team of mentors, access to co-working space and $30,000 of initial seed investment with the potential for a further $100,000 of follow-on funding.
Innovation minister Leeanne Enoch said Slingshot’s accelerator program officially opens Monday July 31 and Startups can apply to join the 12-week program. Slingshot has established a Brisbane-based accelerator and will partner with theSPACE in Cairns for a regional cohort – focused on tourism, hospitality and entertainment.
Ms Enoch said the program is designed to boost the $23 billion industry and nurture local jobs through innovation.
“Horizons provides startup entrepreneurs and business innovators with the support they need to thrive in the Queensland tourism industry. Not only does Slingshot cultivate local talent through first-class mentoring assistance, they also connect them to investors and potential business partners.”
Throughout the program Startups will be able to tap into the knowledge and expertise of the corporate partners and gain access to resources that will help their business launch and scale quickly.
Brisbane Airport Corporation CEO and managing director Julieanne Alroe said: “The growth and development of Queensland’s travel and tourism industry is inextricably linked to the future of Brisbane Airport Corporation. While our investment in infrastructure and partnerships are an important foundation, we’re looking to support new and innovative ideas that will drive further growth. Queensland is the obvious choice for Australia’s first travel and tourism accelerator and we can’t wait to see what emerges.”
Simon Akeroyd, vice president, corporate strategy and business development, Amadeus Asia Pacific said: “With more than 30 Startups and 60 partners on board Amadeus Next, we continue to grow our startup community in Asia Pacific. We look for like-minded partners and organisations that share our passion for innovation and travel technology to pilot with Startups and validate their solutions and business models. Combining its people, vision and approach, Slingshot is a perfect example of this.”
Karen Lawson, CEO of Slingshot said every industry will face disruption and the tourism industry is no exception.
“We’ve already seen the impact of collaborative consumption business models like Airbnb and now we’re excited to invest in up and coming Startups and Scaleups as they shift the dial.”
“With the tourism industry employing nearly 10 per cent of people in Queensland, there is a huge opportunity to cross pollinate a range of products and services, like accommodation, leisure, retail, recreation services, transport and hospitality, with cutting edge technological developments like AI, big data, AR / VR and frictionless payments, to drive commercial outcomes.”
Minister Kate Jones said the accelerator program would help unveil the next generation of great tourism and entertainment businesses.
“With more than 60 per cent of tourism businesses in regional areas, it is important to provide opportunities to back new ideas across the state,” Ms Jones said.
“We are confident the program will unveil some great ideas and help develop new products and services in the industry. The accelerator will combine fresh thinking with seasoned business minds to drive commercial outcomes for regional operators.”
The 12-week program will be led by Startup specialist, advisor, entrepreneur and Queensland local, Colin Kinner, who has over twenty years’ experience working with high-growth technology-based companies.