Two Indian startups – Global Himalayan Expedition and Sakha – have received 7.25 lakh euros in grants from travel e-commerce platform Booking.com’s booster fund.
The startups were part of Booking.com’s 2018 accelerator programme in sustainable tourism.
Besides, eight other startups working for sustainable tourism also received grants from the online travel platform.
Global Himalayan Expedition, which organises impact expeditions to provide electricity through solar microgrids to the remote mountain communities of Himalaya, received a grant of four lakh euros, while Sakha, a social enterprise that offers safe transport solutions for women by women, received 3.25 lakh euros.
Booking.com president and chief executive officer Gillian Tans said the company has earmarked four million euros this year to invest in sustainable travel through its booster and cares programmes.
“We’re all looking forward to seeing how their plans unfold over the coming weeks and months as we work together to bring their vision for a more sustainable travel industry to even more destinations worldwide,” Tans said.
The 10 startups will be mentored, guided and trained at Booking.com’s headquarters in Amsterdam.
Global Himalayan Expedition energy access leader Jaideep Bansal said this grant will enable the company to scale operations to expand its footprint to Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh, besides identifying 45 villages in Nepal and 15 villages in Indonesia.
Sakha Consulting founder Meenu Vadera said, the organisation will be using the fund to scale up capacity and improve operational efficiency.
“Over the next two years, this funding will enable us to provide livelihoods in transport to over 1,000 resource-poor women, who will be able to earn collectively over two million euros for themselves and their families and provide 1.1 million safe rides to women,” Vadera said.
Sakha is looking to increase the fleet size to 100 cars, from 24 at present, and raise the number of drivers to 1,700 from 160, while expanding into other cities, she added.
“We are delighted that two startups from India with great ideas focused on sustainable tourism were a part of the grand finale and both have received a combined total grant of euro 725,000,” said Ritu Mehrotra, country manager India, Booking.com.
She said the company aims to build a network of like-minded organisations and individuals that are leveraging technology to create a more sustainable future for destinations worldwide.