Amadeus, Brisbane Airport back tourism industry accelerator

A TOURISM INDUSTRY accelerator backed by some of Queensland’s biggest corporates, Amadeus and Brisbane Airport Corporation, has officially opened.

Named Horizons and facilitated by corporate accelerator program Slingshot, the program is designed to help travel and tourism start-ups secure the traction, viability, investment and partnership opportunities needed to succeed. 

Start-ups 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. 

They will also be able to tap into the expertise of some of the best travel business minds in the region with support from Amadeus – the travel industry global distribution system – and Brisbane Airport Corporation. 

“With more than 30 start-ups and 60 partners on board Amadeus Next, we continue to grow our start-up community in Asia Pacific,” Amadeus Asia Pacific  vice president for corporate strategy and business development Simon Akeroyd said.

“We look for like-minded partners and organisations that share our passion for innovation and travel technology to pilot with start-ups and validate their solutions and business models. Combining its people, vision and approach, Slingshot is a perfect example of this.”

Amadeus established Amadeus Next in 2015, a travel tech community to unite travel tech start-ups with companies and organisations who are equally excited about travel technology and looking to support, accelerate and scale Startups into leading companies.

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.” 

Start-ups can apply for the 12-week Horizons program, kicking off on October 3. Slingshot will operate two cohorts simultaneously, one based in Brisbane and a regional accelerator based in one of the world’s great tourism destinations - Cairns.

Slingshot CEO Karen Lawson said every industry faced disruption and the tourism industry was 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 start-ups and scaling businesses as they shift the dial,” Ms Lawson said.

“With the tourism industry employing nearly 10 percent 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.”

The 12-week program is led by start-up specialist and Queensland local, Colin Kinner, who has more than 20 years experience working with high-growth technology-based companies.

The Queensland Government’s $420 million Advance Queensland initiative is supporting the Slingshot-run Horizons accelerator. 

Queensland Innovation Minister Leeanne Enoch said, “Horizons provides start-up 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.”


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