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Meet the 2018 Grant Recipients of the Booking Cares Fund

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS – 11 DECEMBER 2018 – Today, Booking.com, one of the world’s leading digital travel platforms and a digital technology leader, announces the grant recipients from the second round of its 2018 Booking Cares Fund, a €2 million grant fund dedicated to championing non-profit projects in sustainable tourism that present new and unexpected solutions to reimagine the global travel industry.

Based on the strength of their grant applications, 13 project teams from all around the world were invited to Booking.com’s headquarters in Amsterdam in early December for an intensive week of workshops and expert mentoring sessions to help further refine their funding proposals. Based on their final project plans, the following organizations were awarded grants:



ParkPass | €100,000

ParkPass is a digital platform that will give park agencies complete control over their visitor flow, and help spread benefits of tourism more evenly and equally beyond the “must-see” places. The key impact is to disperse tourism effectively and decrease visitors only going to the most popular destinations at peak times - an idea that can scale and impact parks across the world.



TravelAble | €200,000

When people with disabilities travel, they need very specific information about the places they plan to go to. This app makes it possible for travelers around the world to discover detailed information on the accessibility of tourist locations. The app brings together data provided by companies, governments and other sources in one place. But the most important contributors will be the users of the app itself who can crowdsource information and photos of the places they visit.



Aegean Marine LIfe Sanctuary (AMLS) | €180,000

The goal of this project is to create the first marine sanctuary to help rescued dolphins and to develop a guidebook and methodology for other marine sanctuaries. The organization aims to change public perception about dolphinaria tourism and to rescue more dolphins currently in captivity.



Renewable jet fuel from organic waste | €150,000

The aim of this project is to develop a process to produce sustainable bio jet fuel (SBJF) from food/organic waste. This research will kick-start the production process of jet fuel from organic waste that could change the entire global jet fuel industry.


Visita Mobile Destination Management App | €80,000

Masungi Georeserve plans to develop a tool that helps community and nature-based enterprises in emerging tourism markets professionalise their registration process. It allows destination managers to digitise, store, analyse and report visitor information, get waivers and reinforce visit terms and conditions, all in one mobile application. This app gives destinations a digital record of all of their visitors, as well as business analysis for tourism development. This is essential for destinations to be able to implement rules and regulations that safeguard the integrity of the places of visit and for destinations to be able to develop a sustainable roadmap for their development.



Ukarimu - Setting the standard for quality tourism & hospitality training | €200,000

Ukarimu will be the first open-source curriculum for tourism and hospitality training. One of the biggest barriers for inclusive and sustainable tourism development is the limited availability of competent tourism and hospitality professionals. This curriculum will aim to solve this.



Mobile App for Polar Travelers | €170,000

The organization plans to engage tourists in citizen science through an app that will collect important data for research in polar areas. Travelers will be more engaged in conservation of polar regions and the app will result in data that is able to be used to inform industry decisions and policy.


“Over the course of 2018, we’ve had the privilege of funding a diverse array of non-profit projects that are using technology in innovative ways to serve local communities and to help make the travel industry more sustainable,” said Marianne Gybels, who leads CSR globally for Booking.com. “Together with the startups we support through our Booster program, as well as the local governments and non-profit organizations we collaborate with through our Cares Labs, we’re building a powerful network of like-minded changemakers and entrepreneurs who share our passion - and vision - to contribute to a happy, healthy future for destinations all over the world.”

“The Booking Cares grant provides an incredible opportunity for our team to use technology to disperse overtourism in natural protected areas around the world," said Boris Issaev, Co-Founder, ParkPass. "While Canada is the place where we will develop and launch the project in 2019, parks in several other countries are already keen to adopt the solution. We are excited to work together with Booking.com and the amazing Booking Cares Team to make this project a global success story.”



The seven organizations and projects that were funded via the second round of the 2018 Booking Cares Fund join The Jordan Trail Association, the Oceanic Society (Blue Habits project), the European Network for Accessible Tourism (Rare & Roll project), Hostelling International USA (The Million Gallon Challenge) and Khwela Tourism Stars who were all awarded grants during the first round of funding in May of this year.

In helping travelers to explore and experience more than 144,000 unique destinations all over the world, Booking.com also seeks to contribute to the ongoing health of these same destinations so that future generations can continue to enjoy them for years to come. To support that vision, the aim of the Booking Cares Fund is to support non-profit projects in sustainable travel that strengthen local communities, preserve and promote local culture, help disperse tourism more evenly and protect natural resources.

Together with the Booking Booster Program and the Booking Cares Labs, the Booking Cares Fund sits alongside Booking.com’s internal volunteer program, where employees have long partnered with local organizations on projects that help improve destinations worldwide. Together these initiatives make up and further expand Booking.com’s commitment to make a positive impact on the global tourism industry. For more information about upcoming programs and opportunities, please visit the Booking Cares website.