Travel start-up Welcome to the World (WttW) won the prestigious ATM Draper-Aladdin Start-up Competition on Tuesday at Dubai's annual Arabian Travel Market 2022 (ATM) exhibition. “I am incredibly proud to have won the competition,” said WttW CEO Stefanie Schachtschabel.
This year's ATM's theme was 'Reconnecting the Travel Industry' after years of challenging COVID restrictions and decline. The Price WttW won at the exhibition includes a minimum of $30,000 up to a maximum of $500,000 investment, a DASC Certificate, and the chance to appear on Tim Draper's TV show, Meet the Drapers, where they compete for another $500,000 while gaining access to a crowdfunding network of 12 million viewers.
“To be selected as the winner out of fifteen up-and-coming other candidates is a dream. It sure does feel like an appreciation for every member of our Dubai-based team’s hard work in the past months”, said Schachtschabel.
Fifteen startups from the tourism and hospitality sectors were selected in the finals and allowed to pitch for extra funding. The jury found the sustainable concept of WttW the most innovative and viable.
On the video-inspired platform, travel enthusiasts can sign-up free of charge. Once registered, they can book hotels directly and other leisure destinations to unlock free local and venue-related welcoming benefits.
In the new concept, foreign-owned commission-based travel platforms are seriously challenged: the money lands where it’s earned and offers severe advantages for both the traveler and the merchant.
Schachtschabel: “Winning is a financial benefit, but it also gives us access and exposure to an important platform with travel experts and opinion leaders. They can now all see how we intend to disrupt the travel market with our new model.”
Instead of a commission-based formula where the money goes to a foreign country, WttW advocates a sustainable model where the money lands in the country it is spent—providing a myriad of local, sustainable benefits.
“Now we are in the luxury position to get more constructive feedback on how to expand our local affiliates further worldwide. That is of tremendous importance to us”, Schachschabel concluded.
WttW looks back on a busy start-up period with new license holders boarded from all over the globe. From the United Arab Emirates to Greece, Mexico, and Thailand. Preparations are well underway for partnerships in France, Italy, and Qatar.