ADB Hackathon Seeks Pitches for Digital Solutions to Spur Travel
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is seeking pitches for a hackathon on the best digital solutions that can kick-start travel in Southeast Asia in the wake of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Southeast Asia's tourism sector was hit hard by the pandemic, along with the small and medium-sized enterprises that depend on tourists for their income. The World Travel and Tourism Council estimates Asia and the Pacific's tourism sector can lose up to $1.1 trillion in income and 69.3 million jobs in 2020 due to the pandemic.
The hackathon, Re-establishing Tourism Confidence through Innovative Digital Solutions: Fast-tracking Tourism Recovery in Southeast Asia, promises a $10,000 prize for the winner who can come up with a digital solution that can entice people to travel again.
“Digital solutions allow for seamless integration of information flow,” said Marc Lepage, Principal IT Specialist at ADB, on the potential of technology to help revive travel in the region.
As a member of the ADB digital innovation team that set up the online challenge, Lepage says an app can be a useful tool for a traveler, who wants information at the palm of his hand. “I can look up what specific tourism operators are doing about COVID-19 that would make me feel safe to use their service, while looking, in the same app, at the process I need to go through—from immigration, airport, and official instructions. These all vary depending of where I’m coming from and where I’m going and the passport I’m holding—a digital solution that brings it all together and provides specific advice given my context would make travel easier in the COVID-19 context.”
As a traveler himself, he would also want information on the safety measures hotels offer to make him feel safer about traveling.
The hackathon named the following areas of interests for the challenge:
- Real-time updates on COVID-19 health and safety protocols implemented by public and private tourism service providers and information about evolving visa, air and ground transport, accommodation, tours, food and beverage services, and other tourism business operations
- Integrated end-to-end travel planning tools (air and ground transport, accommodations, food and beverages, health, and wellness, etc.) that integrate COVID-19 safety and prevention measures
- Creative digital marketing campaigns that maintain destination visibility and engender consumer confidence to travel again.
The deadline for application is on 17 January 2021.
The virtual challenge is open to individuals and teams of up to five people.
Up to 10 submissions will be shortlisted to proceed to the mentoring stage.
Shortlisted teams will be paired with experts to help members understand the problem and refine the proposed solution.
Out of the 10 shortlisted solutions, four to five teams will be selected to make a final pitch.
Proposals will be judged based on:
- Business Value 30%
- Operational Feasibility and Scalability 30%
- User Experience 20%
- Technical Competency 20%
The hackathon was launched on 21 October during the inaugural Southeast Asia Development Symposium organized by ADB to provide insights on how digital can jump-start an inclusive economic recovery, empower governments, improve access to education and healthcare, and revive tourism.