How Israel Became a Global Travel Tech Leader

Michael Driver /
Michael Driver / | © Culture Trip

Tech & Entrepreneurship Editor

From intelligent platforms that automatically upgrade bookings when a better room becomes available to real-time price tracking algorithms getting customers the best deals on flights, Israeli start-ups are creating digital solutions helping travellers discover new and personalised ways to explore the world.

Already one of the biggest exporters of tech in the fields of artificial intelligence, data analytics and virtual and augmented reality, Israel’s travel tech scene has more than doubled in the last three years, growing to some 300+ start-ups.

Making sense of the rapid growth is entrepreneur Itai Green, creator of the Israeli Travel Tech Map and founder of Israeli Travel Tech Startups (ITTS).

“The level of creativity of Israeli entrepreneurs is rare, and is reflected across all the travel tech subdomains,” Green told Culture Trip. “You can find big data analytics, VR, AR, AI and other technologies being implemented across the board.”

The Israeli Travel Tech Map

Working with innovators across the travel tech space, ITTS hopes to increase and strengthen internal collaboration between Israeli startups, while also connecting them with investors and increasing their engagement with multinational corporations.

Though its digital community of linked-up Whatsapps groups, ITTS unites everything from seed-stage businesses to revenue-generating companies. By building relationships and partnerships between Israeli start-ups and corporates, the group enables the businesses to work faster and add value to each other, rather than just compete.

Tel Aviv panorama from the Yitzhak Rabin Center

It’s this uniquely collaborative culture that’s fostering the industry’s rapid growth says Oren Todoros, founder and CEO of Israel-based visual content strategy agency BigIntro.

“The uniqueness of the Israeli travel tech ecosystem can be characterized by the strong bond and mutual willingness among fellow start-ups to help one another,” Todoros told Culture Trip. “As much as there’s a competitive spirit, there’s an equal amount of collaboration to achieve goals towards bridging the gaps between start-ups and corporates.

“One of the reasons Israel’s become such a hotbed of travel-related start-ups and ventures is because travel multi-nationals and corporations [increasingly] understand the need to innovate from the outside in, and are doing so by investing in and acquiring from within Israel’s local tech talent.”

He points to Booking .com’s newly opened Israeli R&D centre, as well as a recent strategic partnership between Boeing, the world’s largest aerospace company, and Cockpit Innovation, a venture fund arm of El Al Israel Airlines, created to identify the most promising Israeli tech companies in air travel.

Israel is home to more than 300 travel tech start-ups

“Israel has made great progress towards becoming a world leader for travel tech and innovation and we’ve seen a rising interest from travel companies around the world,” says Itai Marcipar, founder of Pruvo, a Haifa-based online service that takes an existing hotel reservation from any website, tracks its price 24/7 and notifies you once there is a better deal for the exact the room you already booked. “I have no doubt that in 5 years, Israel will become the leader of the global travel tech scene.”
For a list of our favourite rising stars, see our roundup of the top 10 Israeli travel tech start-ups to watch in 2018.

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