Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP) has announced the launch of ViaVii Plus, a comprehensive Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform designed for Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region’s travel experience creators, workshop providers, tour guides, and tourism companies, offering unique activities to travellers and locals.
ViaVii Plus, developed by QSTP-incubated startup ViaVii, offers a seamless and intuitive booking management system and zero-code website builder, empowering service providers to manage and sell top-notch experiences in the region.
The platform, available in both English and Arabic, helps simplify the complexity and cost of developing and maintaining tours and activities websites and provides access to marketing and advertising tools, thus allowing a broader market reach and increased revenue for vendors.
Initially, ViaVii.com started off as an online marketplace that connects travellers with local hosts offering authentic experiences at their destination. According to the startup’s founder and CEO, Rola Fayyad, after having served over 10,000 travellers and digitised over 500 hosts from around the world, the concept has now evolved with ViaVii Plus.
ViaVii Plus supports vendors by allowing them to subscribe to the platform and promote their tours and activities. This gives them control over their brand image and how their services are presented. The platform supports a creator economy as any host can enlist within five minutes and open their own e-store without any prior technical experience.
To facilitate customer payments, vendors can opt to use ViaVii Plus’ payment services, or seamlessly connect their own payment gateway to ViaVii Plus through the dashboard, as the platform supports localised payment gateways.
The startup first received seed investment from QSTP’s Tech Venture Fund (TVF) in 2020, and then again in early 2023 as part of an institutional financing round to help develop and deploy ViaVii Plus.
Fayyad said, “It is QSTP’s team that sets them apart from other technology parks or institutional investors. They believed in us and our venture from the beginning when they first invested in our startup during the pandemic.
“To this day, we receive strategic guidance from the TVF team on a monthly basis on aspects like improving the product, as well as understanding and penetrating our market better. We’re very grateful for QSTP’s support throughout our journey.”
As part of the platform’s development, the team is now increasing its user base and forming value-adding partnerships, such as that with Experience Qatar, a destination management company, specialising in personalised and custom-made tours in Qatar.
Other notable partnerships include the Jordan Tourism Board and Royal Jordanian (RJ), the country’s flag-carrier airline, to re-distribute ViaVii Plus’ authentic experiences on the partner platforms.
Karim Makhlouf, chief commercial officer of RJ, said: “Together, we’re not just promoting tourism, but weaving a tale of authentic experiences and local traditions. With RJ’s expansive reach and ViaVii Plus’ commitment to creating digital bridges for travellers, we envision a future where every visitor leaves with a piece of Jordan in their heart.”
In 2021, ViaVii was the winner of the category ‘Prosperity - Opportunities for Growth’ in the UN World Tourism Organisation’s (UNWTO) Global Rural Tourism Startup Competition and was the only Arab startup to bring that title to the MENA region.
Natalia Bayona, executive director of UNWTO, said: “ViaVii’s remarkable growth is a clear testament to their innovative and technological approach, aligning with UNWTO’s commitment to fostering a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem in tourism.
“Their noteworthy recognition as winners of the UNWTO Global Rural Tourism Startup Competition not only highlights their demonstrated approach to harnessing technology but also showcases the impactful role of female entrepreneurship in driving positive change. This underscores their pivotal position in shaping the future landscape of travel in the region and fortifying the sector´s dedication to innovation and technology.”
This month, ViaVii was selected as one of the top 12 finalists of the Women in Tech Startup Competition Middle East out of over 150 applications. The startup is currently in the process of raising pre-Series A financing as part of its continued efforts to grow the business.
© Gulf Times Newspaper 2022 Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (Syndigate.info).