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Region’s Entrepreneurs Show Off the Next Big Thing in Travel Tech

December 13, 2017 Tech No Comments Email Email

As the start-up community continues to fuel the transformation of the Middle East’s travel industry, the Travel Tech Challenge 2017, hosted by Amadeus—a leading provider of technology solutions for the global travel industry – invited entrepreneurs to submit their ideas for the next big tech breakthrough for the travel industry. Three finalists were selected for the final round, which saw Michel Semaan and Karim Mecattaf developer of Triend mobile application, from Lebanon, named the Challenge winner during a recent event held in Dubai.

Triend’s idea of personalizing traveller’s experience application was selected by a panel of judges for its unique approach to solving travel-related issues. For his winning project, Amadeus presented Triend with a cash prize, as well as offering pro-bono consultancy services and access to Amadeus’ APIs to further develop his vision. In addition, Semaan and Mecattaf will be provided the chance to sync with key players in the travel industry through Amadeus’ global footprint.

Open to anyone living in the MENA region, the month-long Travel Tech Challenge received considerable interest with submissions from across the region. The top three finalists were then flown to Dubai to pitch their ideas to an international judging panel. Entrants’ ideas only needed to be relevant to the travel sphere, be it to support travel agents, airlines, hotels, or individual travelers.

Ernesto Sanchez Beaumont, Head of Commercial Strategy and Business Management for Amadeus MENA and a judge for this year’s competition, said: “The future of travel depends on the innovation, energy and creativity fueled by today’s start-up community. As a pillar of the Middle East economy, the travel industry also depends on organizations who can leverage the very latest in technology advancements and alliances to uncover consumer insights, customize their services, and bring new offerings to market with speed. The entrepreneurs involved in this year’s Travel Tech Challenge have sought to do just that. We congratulate all the finalists and look forward to working with these and other start-ups from the region to develop their ideas further.”

According to PwC[1], the Middle East travel industry has many of the right ingredients to benefit from technological breakthroughs, with digitization anticipated to affect the entire value chain of the industry from influencing traveling decisions to collecting feedback and improving the delivery of products and services.

Competition Winners

The winning proposal from this year’s Travel Tech Challenge was from Triend that is seeking to build a travel website and application that combines bookings, stories and reviews to allow people around the world—but particularly in the MENA region—to build a more personal travel experience.

“I believe that our idea has the potential to be able to succeed in a very short time, because of the innovative concept and our smart use of technology,” said Michel Semaan from Triend. “Participating in the Travel Tech Challenge was a really interesting experience. We received a lot of positive feedback from the judges, and we hope to be able to grow as partners with the capacity to compete worldwide.”

The competition runner-up was Pass ME who developed a mobile app concept that allows consumers and travel companies to exchange information in real-time about booking references, travel packages, destinations, and more.

In a close third was Engineer My Travel which is a web-based solution that combines multiple online travel platforms giving the consumer a complete travel solution and minimizing travel planning time by up to 90%. The platform would work in tandem with tour and adventure operators while also linking to information from DMOs and existing reviews and rating sites.

The judging panel for this year’s Travel Tech Challenge included: Roshan Khan, Head of Technology at Amadeus Labs in Bangalore; Ernesto Sanchez Beaumont, Head of Commercial Strategy & Business Management at Amadeus MENA; Bruno des Fontaines, Director of Operations at Amadeus MENA; and Muhammad Chbib, Founder and CEO of online travel platform Tajawal.com.

Today Amadeus is committed to pursuing and developing the most advanced technological solutions for clients to make the travel experience seamless from start to finish for everyone involved. On a global level, Amadeus has previously been recognized for its investment of more than €5.3 billion in research and development between 2004 and the first half of 2017.

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