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Greece’s Tourism Startup Accelerator ‘CapsuleT’ Goes Live

Hellenic Chamber of Hotels President Alexandros Vassilikos, CapsuleT Director Katerina Saridaki, Hellenic Chamber of Hotels VP Christina Tetradi and Israel Travel Tech Startups Community founder, Itai Green.

Hellenic Chamber of Hotels President Alexandros Vassilikos, CapsuleT Director Katerina Saridaki, Hellenic Chamber of Hotels VP Christina Tetradi and Israel Travel Tech Startups Community founder, Itai Green.

Aiming to bring hotels closer to new-age business ideas, the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels (HCH) recently presented its initiative named CapsuleT, Greece’s first Travel – Hospitality Accelerator that will accelerate the launch of tourism startups.

The initiative aims to bring extra value to both hotels and tourism startups, according to the chamber’s president, Alexandros Vassilikos.

“The ‘next day’ for Greek tourism requires a ‘restart’ on many levels and for it to be successful it must be based on healthy and creative strengths,” he said.

The Travel – Hospitality Accelerator, during the 2019-2021 period, is expected to offer practical training, acceleration and financial support to 65 startups and provide guidance to over 300 young entrepreneurs participating in its programs.

During 2019-2021, the chamber aims for its startup accelerator to contribute to the creation of more than 300 new jobs.

There is no charge for young entrepreneurs to enter CapsuleT.

Hellenic Chamber of Hotels President Alexandros Vassilikos.

Hellenic Chamber of Hotels President Alexandros Vassilikos.

Vassilikos invited all parties to embrace the initiative. “It is very important for the Travel – Hospitality Accelerator to be embraced by hotel businesses and by the start up community,” he said, adding that it is significant for the initiative to receive support from the whole tourism business community.

“Through the initiative we are joining tourism – the country’s ‘national champion’ – that creates growth, income and employment opportunities with new entrepreneurship,” Vassilikos said.

‘T’ is for Tourism, Technology and Travel

CapsuleT Director Katerina Saridaki.

CapsuleT Director Katerina Saridaki.

According to the director of the Travel – Hospitality Accelerator, Katerina Saridaki, CapsuleT will mainly support and promote Greek technology startups for tourism and aim for synergies to boost innovation in the country’s tourism sector.

When explaining the accelerator’s name – CapsuleT – Saridaki said the “T” stands for Tourism, Technology and Travel.

The accelerator’s programs and actions will include educational and training seminars; open events; mentoring; networking opportunities in Greece and abroad; meetings with hotel and tourism professionals; partnerships and synergies with the tourism industry, the academic and business community and the startup community in Greece; and activities with partners and hoteliers.

CapsuleT – First programs

The first programs of the accelerator are the Idea Platform, a competition addressed to young and new students and graduates who are invited to submit new business ideas that will provide solutions to real problems in the tourism market; and the Acceleration Program, which invites startups that are already active in the tourism sector and want to advance to their next stage of development (scaleup) through a specialized educational program and actions in cooperation with hotels as well as the wider business sector of the country. The Acceleration Program will run twice a year with a duration of three months.

Submissions for the first round of applications for the CapsuleT Acceleration Program will begin in June. The program’s first round will run from September to November in the accelerator’s headquarters in Kallithea. The application process will be announced soon through the accelerator’s social media channels and website.

The launch of the first Travel – Hospitality Accelerator is the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels’ second step in working towards the creation of an innovative “ecosystem” to turn new ideas into successful businesses in Greece. The chamber’s first approach came in June 2018 when it announced that it was supporting the Travel Startups Greece cluster. Startups in the cluster are welcome to participate in the Acceleration Program.

Itai Green: Technology is essential for Greek tourism

ITTS founder, Itai Green and Hellenic Chamber of Hotels President Alexandros Vassilikos.

ITTS founder, Itai Green and Hellenic Chamber of Hotels President Alexandros Vassilikos.

Following the presentation of CapsuleT, Itai Green, founder and CEO of Innovate-Israel.com and founder of the Israel Travel Tech Startups Community (ITTS), took the stage and underlined that for Greek tourism to continue to develop in the future, technology is essential.

A renowned entrepreneur and significant member of the ecosystem in Israel, Itai presented the road map for the successful rise of emerging tourism technology startups based on Israel’s successful model.

Underlining that more than 20 percent of GDP in Greece comes from tourism, Itai underlined how strong the travel business is in Greece.

“In Israel we could only be jealous of such numbers. This is how much travel is important to you,” he said, underlining that without adopting further technology, Greece’s numbers will decline.

“Remember that you are not alone. There is still competition… It is super important to adopt technology and make sure that these numbers are only growing… This will happen only with technology,” he said, noting that technology acts as a “disruptor” and eliminates those who ignore it..

“The initiative of the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels is very important… I truly believe that you will be able to reach your goals of 2021 because you have great and unique assets,” Itai said.

“Israel and Greece have many similarities in terms of culture, climate, talents, mentality… We in Israel will be more than happy to help both businesses and startups in Greece… Everyone has to work together and then we will be able to create a great startup ecosystem,” he concluded.

About the Author
Nikos is Greek-American born in New York, USA, and has lived in Greece for over 30 years. He is the managing editor of Greece's leading monthly travel and tourism guide, the Greek Travel Pages (GTP) since June 2008 and of news site GTP Headlines since its launch in September 2012. Nikos has also served as international press officer for the City of Athens and for the mayor. He has a degree in Mass Media and Communications, specializing in Journalism. Nikos is a native English speaker and speaks Greek fluently.

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