09:35 AM
Europe/Amsterdam Announces the Award Recipients of its First Accelerator Programme for Startups in Sustainable Tourism

Backstreet Academy is awarded this year’s top grant of €400k

AMSTERDAM – 23 JUNE 2017 – Today, the global leader in connecting travellers with the widest choice of incredible places to stay, announced the award recipients of its first accelerator programme for start-ups in sustainable tourism, Booster. Launched earlier this year, the Booster Programme was created to identify, mentor and fund promising startups dedicated to sustainable tourism in one of the following areas: protecting the environment, preserving cultural heritage and/or promoting inclusive growth in tourism that supports local economies and communities. After three weeks of workshops and intensive coaching, the 10 teams of finalists pitched their scaling plans to a live audience and panel of expert judges in Amsterdam, with Backstreet Academy being awarded this year’s top grant of €400,000 for their proposed scaling plans.

Backstreet Academy wants to bring their peer-to-peer travel platform to more communities throughout Southeast Asia and around the world, empowering them with tools to connect directly to the tourism industry, become micro-entrepreneurs and ultimately move themselves out of poverty.

“The ambitious creativity and innovative ideas we’ve seen from all of the startups who joined our Booster Programme this year were truly inspiring,” said Gillian Tans, CEO of “I was particularly impressed with the entrepreneurial vision they all demonstrated in approaching a wide array of different challenges related to sustainable tourism. I’m really looking forward to seeing their plans unfold as these amazing companies continue to bring their vision for a more sustainable future for the global tourism industry to even more destinations worldwide.”

“Being a part of Booster has been amazing,” said Jamon Mok Zixuan, CEO and Co-Founder of Backstreet Academy. “We are so excited to apply what we’ve learned to further scale the impact of our business, accelerating poverty alleviation and the rejuvenation of intangible UNESCO heritage everywhere. We want to bring the concept of impact travel mainstream and implement it globally with the help of the network.”

The other sustainable tourism startups that are being awarded grants from the 2017 Booster Programme are Seabin (Australia & Spain) for €350k; Local Alike (Thailand) for €300k; Good Hotel (Guatemala and the UK) for €300k; Awake (Colombia) for €300k; Authenticook (India) for €200k; and Desolenator (UK and the Netherlands) for €150k.

In addition, Seabin was voted employee favourite, following their 30-second “bike pitch” to the company, and awarded €10k worth of credits to use on future stays.

Although MovingWorlds (Global), MEJDI Tours (Middle East and Europe) and (Global) did not receive scaling grants, as with the other startups who participated in the accelerator programme, they will receive ongoing mentorship and support from

In 2017, nearly 700 startups with teams from 102 nationalities applied to join the programme. For more information about the Booster Programme, refer to the global launch release:

About is the world leader in booking hotel and other accommodations online. It guarantees the best prices for any type of property – from small independents to five-star luxury. Guests can access the website anytime, anywhere from their desktops, mobile phones and tablet devices, and they don’t pay booking fees – ever. The website is available in over 40 languages, offers over 1.3M hotels and accommodations including more than 700,000 vacation rental properties and covers over 110,000 destinations in 227 countries and territories worldwide. It features over 121M reviews written by guests after their stay, and attracts online visitors from both leisure and business markets around the globe. With 20 years of experience and a team of over 15,000 dedicated employees in over 190 offices worldwide, operates its own in-house customer service team, which is available 24/7 to assist guests in their native languages and ensure an exceptional customer experience.

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