Media Release

World Tourism Forum Lucerne promotes pioneering tourism start-ups

On the eve of the 5th World Tourism Forum Lucerne from 4 to 5 May 2017, the industry's most promising start-up enterprises will participate in the newly launched "Start-Up Innovation Camp". The full-day workshop will take place in the central Swiss city on Wednesday, 3 May.

Lucerne, 15 December 2016 – Since the global inception of the Internet in the late 1990s, the tourism industry has faced frequent changes and challenges. Most of the pioneering innovations in the tourism, transport and hospitality industries have been developed by start-up enterprises – and often by entrepreneurs with little or no professional travel and tourism experience.

To encourage new and innovative business models, the World Tourism Forum Lucerne is launching in 2017 the "Start-Up Innovation Camp". This follows the successful staging at the last WTFL in 2015 of the first "Start-Up Innovation Award", a pioneering promotion platform now undergoing further expansion and development. The "Start-Up Innovation Camp" invites young entrepreneurs worldwide to apply for participation in this 2017 full-day workshop and to register their interest by February.

Four enterprises will be selected from each of four categories – "Transaction", "Destination", "Hospitality" and "Impact" – and invited to Lucerne on 3 May to present their business models to an international jury of tourism experts, business angels and investors. The four category winners will be able to introduce their concept to the 600 professional participants in the World Tourism Forum Lucerne 2017. In addition, each of the four start-up enterprises will receive the CHF 20,000 (approx. USD 20,000) "Start-Up Innovation Award", as well as free participation in a professional coaching programme over the following two years.

Martin Barth, President and CEO of the World Tourism Forum Lucerne: "Since our first Forum in 2009, innovation has been a core topic at this global event. Particularly in times of structural changes, innovation has remained a powerful driving force in ensuring future competitiveness and sustainability. With the "Start-Up Innovation Camp" we offer young and ambitious entrepreneurs a unique opportunity to present their business model to a body of international experts, to benefit from their expertise and experience, and to create important contacts for the future."

The first "Start-Up Innovation Award" (organized in conjunction with the last Forum in 2015) was won by Hai Ho from Vietnam with the "" travel platform he founded two years earlier. Says Martin Barth: "His start-up enterprise really took off thanks to the World Tourism Forum Lucerne." In Mario Hardy, CEO Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), Hai Ho found not only a mentor but also an investor. In addition, the Asia-based Gobi Ventures investment fund invested half a million US dollars in the new enterprise.

Further information concerning the "Start-Up Innovation Camp" and registration details are available under


World Tourism Forum Lucerne 

The WTFL is an interdisciplinary professional platform which takes place annually, alternately in Lucerne (Switzerland) and – from 2018 – China. It offers decision-makers in business, politics, science and finance an overview of current topics and trends in the global tourism industry. It is the only international platform enabling leading decision makers and emerging young talents in the industry to interact under the "Next Generation" designation. The World Tourism Forum Lucerne is supported by an international Advisory Board under the chairmanship of Reto Wittwer. The next WTFL will take place from 4 to 5 May 2017.


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