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KTO and Startup Junkie partner to advance travel technology globally

Kim Dong-il (right), executive vice president of the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO), and Louis Diesel, head of Startup Junkie for Asia, pose after signing a business deal at the KTO Seoul Center in downtown Seoul on Thursday.  Courtesy of the Korea Tourism Organization

Kim Dong-il (right), executive vice president of the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO), and Louis Diesel, head of Startup Junkie for Asia, pose after signing a business deal at the KTO Seoul Center in downtown Seoul on Thursday. Courtesy of the Korea Tourism Organization

Author: Jung Da-hyun

The Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) and Startup Junkie, a US-based entrepreneurship support organization, on Thursday signed a business agreement aimed at strengthening projects testing the feasibility of ideas, products, services and technologies in the tourism sector.

Through this partnership, the focus will expand to meet specific system requirements in the hotel and tourism sectors in various countries. The goal is to identify and match Korean companies with technologies that meet these requirements.

Startup Junkie will play a key role in supporting testing and evaluation processes, ensuring the practical effectiveness of these technologies when implemented within the complex operational processes of the overseas travel industry.

Founded in 2011 by the Sam Walton family, founders of the American retail giant Walmart, Startup Junkie focuses on supporting American start-ups and creating a favorable environment for their development. This involved carrying out acceleration in technological and rapidly developing sectors, as well as managing venture capital funds.

Recently, it has been focusing on expanding partnerships with tourism sectors such as hotels, convention centers and travel agencies across Asia.

As part of the business agreement, both parties agreed to cooperate in the exchange of information for the global expansion of tourism companies. They will actively support overseas demonstrations of innovative technologies and services by domestic tourism enterprises, aiming for global growth and impact.

Additionally, the program includes a joint project focusing on digital transformation and environmental, social and governance (ESG) aspects in the global tourism industry. This initiative could help address issues such as overtourism, which occurs when tourist flows to destinations exceed sustainable levels.

“Indonesia will be our inaugural overseas country to receive tourism technology support under this agreement,” said Kim Dong-il, executive vice president of KTO.

“KTO will urgently pursue business collaboration opportunities with government agencies and enterprises in the global tourism sector, with the goal of establishing a service export plan for our domestic tourism companies.”

Since 2020, KTO has supported over 110 startups in global expansion through the Tourism Global Challenge program and support centers in Singapore and Tokyo. Its efforts paid off with a total of 80 impressive achievements last year, including establishing overseas subsidiaries, establishing partnerships and attracting investment.