Israel is welcoming more tourists to its shores than ever before, with a record 3.6 million tourists visiting in 2017. Yet the tiny country’s impact on the global travel experience extends well beyond the growing ranks of tourists flocking to Israel’s pristine beaches, its numerous religious and historical sites, and its remarkably diverse natural terrain.
The Start-Up Nation is home to more than 300 travel tech startups, part of a thriving ecosystem that’s bringing unprecedented convenience and amenities to every stage of the traveling process. From interactive tools that enable users to seamlessly plan their trips to services that help travelers enjoy their trips without busting their budgets, the diversity of Israeli travel tech mirrors the rich variety of the country’s larger innovation scene.
Here’s a look at just a few of the most exciting startups taking off in the space:
· Wishbox offers a software solution for vacation rental agencies and personal hosts to manage their guest relationships. Their platform automates key tasks like reservation confirmation, pre-check in, and passport and credit card scans. For guests, Wishbox provides a private personal area that stores vital details like reservation information, host contact information, arrival and checkout instructions, FAQs, and more.
· Want to eat and drink your way through your destination city? Enter Bitemojo, the app that provides self-guided food tours via users’ smartphones. When users arrive at each stop along the journey, they can earn biteCredits, which reward users with free bites at Bitemojo destinations. The service is available in Barcelona, Berlin, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Ljubljana, Rome, Budapest, Singapore, Lisbon, Madrid, and Bangkok.
· SeeVoov allows users to plan their next trip through videos. Users select their destinations and the kind of trip experience they want – be it a beach vacation, a historical sightseeing tour, or something else – and SeeVoov presents videos about relevant experiences at the destination. Users then select the experiences that most interest them, and SeeVoov plans an itinerary, even enabling users to book flights and lodging on the platform.
· FairFly helps companies save money on business travel even after booking trips. Harnessing customizable algorithms, the service provides around-the-clock monitoring of changes in flight prices. Detecting whether a flight can be rebooked at a lower net cost even after taking cancellation fees into account, FairFly automatically books new, more cost-efficient itineraries for its users.
Spotlighting Israel’s status as a center of innovation in travel tech, the Israel Export Institute recently hosted a conference with the World Tourism Organization of the United Nations and the Spanish tourism group Gloabalia. The conference promoted the first-ever UNWTO Tourism Startup Competition; the top 10 finalists will be announced in October 2018 and will pitch at FITUR 2019, a premier international tourism event, in Madrid in January 2019.
For those who happen to find themselves at the Madrid conference – or at just about any other global destination – Israeli travel tech can help you make the most of your experience.