Dubai Tourism launches 2019 futurism programme in collaboration with Accenture

3rd edition of Futurism start-up programme kicks off in collaboration with industry partners

Yousuf Lootah - Executive Director Tourism Development and Investments

Yousuf Lootah - Executive Director Tourism Development and Investments

  • Start-ups from all over the world invited to compete and showcase entrepreneurial spirit with innovative technology solutions for the travel and tourism sector
  • Applications now open until 31 July 2019

DUBAI: Dubai’s Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) has launched the third edition of the Futurism Programme, an entrepreneurial platform for technology start-ups worldwide. Aimed at bringing about a paradigm shift within the industry ecosystem to help create innovative tourism experiences, the third edition is in collaboration with leading professional services company, Accenture (NYSE: ACN), further contributing to the success of the annual start-up programme, which has the ongoing support of industry partners and investors including Tajawal- Seera Group, Atlantis The Palm, Emaar Hospitality Group and the Emirates Group.

In advance of the launch of the 2019 edition of the Futurism Programme, Dubai Tourism hosted a workshop for key stakeholders to identify new travel and technology trends within the industry to establish the key themes that will drive the start-up programme. Among the partners who attended the industry workshop were the Emirates Group, Tajawal- Seera Group, Atlantis The Palm, Emaar Hospitality Group, Accor and Dubai Airports.

The 2019 Futurism Programme invites entrepreneurs to submit their applications by 31 July 2019. With the goal of contributing towards transforming tourism experiences, the start-ups will showcase technological innovation with solutions to help drive the following Futurism themes;

  • Hyper personalisation – Using consumer insights through data analytics to personalise visitor experiences
  • Connected travel – Offering end to end seamless traveller experiences by blurring the boundaries between aviation, hospitality and destination services
  • Digitising operations – Using robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and machine learning to optimise industry operations such as inventory, payments, reservation, workforce management
  • First choice destination – To engage travellers from around the world to make Dubai their destination of choice
  • Conscious travel – Using technology and innovation to support sustainable travel as part of Dubai’s Sustainable Tourism Programme
  • ‘Phygital’ experience – Technology that will see the convergence of the physical and digital touchpoints in the tourist journey to create unified experiences and improve customer engagement

A judging panel comprising leading technology experts, Dubai Tourism’s senior leadership and its partners across the industry, will select the top 10 start-ups from all entries submitted into the process. The shortlisted entrants will be put through a 6-week accelerator programme during which the 10 finalists will each be given the opportunity to finalise a pilot project with the support of Dubai Tourism, Tajawal – Seera Group, Atlantis The Palm, Emaar Hospitality Group and the Emirates Group. The start-ups will pitch their unique concepts to a group of business owners, investors and venture capitalists at the Dubai Tourism stand at GITEX Future Stars, the Middle East and Africa’s largest start-up conference of global tech entrepreneurs, international investors and influential corporate buyers, which will be hosted later this year.

Dubai Tourism will announce the winning start-up and a runner-up, who stand to win a prize totalling AED 100,000 as the initial start-up capital.  In addition to licensing, the winner will receive relevant visas in Dubai, office space and the opportunity to secure potential future funding.

Commenting on the launch of the 2019 Futurism Programme, Yousuf Lootah, Executive Director – Tourism Development & Investments, Dubai Tourism said: “In line with the Dubai 10X initiative launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, to develop path-breaking strategies and projects that will put Dubai 10 years ahead of other world cities, the Futurism Programme helps to cement the emirate’s position as the regional technology hub for start-ups looking to progress and succeed in their fields. Since the inception of the Futurism Programme in 2017, Dubai Tourism has helped shine a light on several pioneering start-up businesses from around the world, supporting them to become true success stories, as their solutions have led to impactful improvements to the travel and tourism sector. The launch of the third edition is testament to the Programme’s ongoing success and the huge interest it has gained among Dubai Tourism’s partners, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and stakeholders within the start-up and tourism ecosystems. The Futurism Programme forms part of our ongoing efforts to drive Dubai’s tourism industry into the digital era, ensuring the city’s leading position as a global destination.”

As part of its collaboration with Dubai Tourism, Accenture helped identify international start-ups for the 2019 Futurism Programme.

“As we dive headstrong into the new economic era in the UAE, the tourism sector and start-ups are important elements to look out for,” said Norberto Cibien, Products operating group lead, Accenture Middle East & Turkey. “We are thrilled to collaborate with Dubai Tourism to co-create a program that brings together start-ups and disruptive technologies from around the world to push the tourism industry forward. Through this program, we are making a commitment to help start-ups grow within this thriving ecosystem. With innovation and technology at the heart of the UAE’s Vision 2021, we are strengthening the UAE’s position as the leading hub in the region to conceive and promote new solutions that will dramatically improve the traveller’s journey. This program serves as a platform for start-ups to leverage the resources and benefits provided by Dubai and its industry partners for a brighter and inspiring future.

Abdulrahman Mutrib, Executive Vice President and CTO, Seera Group, commented on the strategic partnership between Seera and the Futurism Programme: “As a technology-driven travel and tourism group from Saudi Arabia that is fuelled by innovation, we work continuously on creating more rewarding journeys for travellers across the region, through our portfolio of leading B2B and B2C travel brands, including Almosafer and Tajawal. Partnering with Dubai Tourism to support the development of creative ideas and enable start-ups that have the power to enhance the experience for travellers, goes hand in hand with our objective of opening up the opportunity of travel for all. Dubai is not only one of the most important destinations for our Saudi travellers, the Emirate is also a breeding ground for outstanding ideas.”

As part of the programme, participating start-ups will benefit from international visibility and recognition through a 360 global marketing and public relations campaign, as well as access to leading corporations and government entities in Dubai and the wider region.

Mr. Lootah continued: “The Futurism Programme has helped advance the process of identifying disruptive technological solutions to overcome various industry challenges and supports Dubai Tourism’s efforts to not only attract more visitors but offer guests seamless, unparalleled experiences throughout their journey, starting from the moment they decide to visit Dubai. This year, Dubai Tourism is once again fortunate to have the support of leading global and local partners, and we look forward to working closely with Accenture and Tajawal – Seera Group to bring increased innovation to our tourism industry, to nurture the pioneering and entrepreneurial spirit of Dubai, as we work collectively towards becoming the most visited city in the world.”

For full details of the schedule and to submit an application, visit: 


About Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism)
With the ultimate vision of positioning Dubai as the world’s leading tourism destination and commercial hub, Dubai Tourism’s mission is to increase the awareness of Dubai among global audiences and to attract tourists and inward investment into the emirate. Dubai Tourism is the principal authority for the planning, supervision, development and marketing of Dubai’s tourism sector. It markets and promotes the Emirate’s commerce sector and is responsible for the licensing and classification of all tourism services, including hotels, tour operators and travel agents. Brands and departments within the Dubai Tourism portfolio include Dubai Business Events, Dubai Calendar, and Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment.

For further information, please contact:
Dubai Tourism
[+971] 600 55 5559
[+971] 4 201 7631

© Press Release 2019

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