Contxto – Last week on April 29, over 700 participants from around the globe attended “Tourism Tech Adventure: Scaling Up” in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia.
Sponsored by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Colombian government, the interactive event aimed to connect Colombian entrepreneurs with the VC world. Much of the activities centered around scaling sustainable tourism operations in Colombia and beyond.
Startups, academics, corporations, investors and business accelerators met with the public to discuss optimal growth strategies in this sector. Some of the firms in attendance included Amadeus Ventures, Bluebox, Angel Ventures and Dux Capital.
This special convention was the first of its kind in Colombia in terms of incubating entrepreneurship and tourism innovation. It was an opportunity for attendants to mingle with stakeholders while gaining more exposure to VC culture.
Companies utilized this occasion to learn more about early-stage seed growth plus engage in plenty of networking. Experts provided tips for success as well as best practices in terms of interacting with investors.
Before the ceremony, IE Business School worked with 15 Colombian startups for a “Startup MasterClass.” The multinational university evaluated companies’ business models, pitches and attention to sustainability, providing constructive feedback at the end.
At the same time, there was a competition among participants with the top prize going to James Figueroa from GDX Travel. Eduardo Maldonado from Tourbitz landed in second place and Miguel Antonio Paez from Escappy Travel in third place.
Figueroa will receive access to the Wayra Coworking Space in Bogota plus individualized mentoring from Wayra Colombia officials. He will also attend the UNWTO General Assembly meeting in Saint Petersburg, Russia from September 9 to September 13.
Tourism is one of the largest and fastest growing economic sectors in the world, especially in the Americas. According to a UNWTO press release, tourism is the third most prominent industry grows by exports, before chemicals and oil.
In general, tourism also represents 10 percent of the world’s GDP. Moreover, it represents one in every 10 jobs in the Americas. If there was ever a time for positive changes, now is the time.