‘Welcome to the World’ Crowned Winner of Inaugural Draper-Aladdin ATM Startup Competition

  • “Welcome to the World” aims to solve the problem of high commissions paid to OTAs
  • Billed as “YouTube for tourism”, the site generates direct bookings without commission
  • “SmartGuide” and “Road.Travel” ranked second and third respectively

‘Welcome to the World’ was named the first-ever winner of the ATM Draper-Aladdin startup competition, which saw a selection of the region’s most innovative travel and tourism start-ups submit pitches on the ATM Travel scene. Tech for the chance to secure up to $500,000.

A total of 15 finalists made presentations to the five-member panel of the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2022 judging panel, including: Alaa Ismail Al Haija, Founder and CEO of AladdinB2B, SalesMENA and the Draper-Aladdin Startup Competition ; Hadi Saeed AlShakhori, Head of Business Incubation at Wa’ed; Walid Tarabih, founder and CEO of PLATX, and former adviser to the cabinet of the Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates; Matthew Gardiner, Founder of A1 AI; and Bashar Sami El-Khasawneh, associate professor at Khalifa University.

The judges assessed submissions from a range of start-ups, which – in addition to “Welcome to the World” – included AirportAssist.com, Elves, Gauvendi, Hotailors, Lykos, Octoos, OnArrival, Road.Travel, SmartGuide, SLF, S-Rate, Teamatix, Telgani and Travelexic.

“Welcome to the World” aims to solve the problem of high commission rates charged by online travel agencies (OTAs). Described by Founder and CEO Stefanie Schachtschabel as “YouTube for Tourism”, the platform enables tourism businesses and travel influencers to generate commission-free direct bookings by sharing videos.

Commenting after the presentation of his prize and check, Schachtschabel said: “Obviously we are very happy. We have worked hard to get to where we are today and having the trust of so many investors means the world to us. So how do I feel? Happy, that’s for sure!

“We are in the middle of our funding round, which means we are integrating investments. These funds will be used to integrate advanced technologies, such as artificial intelligence, to monetize our data, and also to expand our business to the 48 destinations we are currently targeting,” she added.

“Welcome to the World” currently has over 185,000 monthly users, having already attracted brands such as Anantara Hotels & Resorts, Marriott International, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Accor, Address Hotels + Resorts, W Hotels, Radisson Blu and Ritz- Carlton Dubai. The investment made through the first-ever ATM Draper-Aladdin startup competition follows $264,000 already secured through the company’s pre-seed round.

After winning first place in the ATM Draper-Aladdin startup contest, “Welcome to the World” will now have the opportunity to compete for an additional $500,000 investment in a hit TV show, Meet the Clothiers.

Digital tour guide platform “SmartGuide” and route marketplace “Road.Travel” ranked second and third respectively.

Commenting on the objectives of the competition, Alaa Ismail Al Haija of AladdinB2B said, “I am an entrepreneur myself, so I know what it means to have the dream of being successful. The most important thing is to be supported and to feel that you are not alone. This is why we see so much support for entrepreneurs in Dubai today. This ecosystem is the most important thing and I have the chance to contribute a little to it.

Danielle Curtis, ME Exhibition Director for Arabian Travel Market, said, “The ATM Draper-Aladdin Startup Competition is a fantastic initiative, which we believe will serve as a springboard for innovative travel and tourism businesses that strive to reshape our industry for the better. . I want to congratulate all the finalists and especially Stefanie and the rest of the Welcome to the World team.

On the ATM agenda today (Wednesday May 11), SaaS specialist Atlas will host a panel of experts, who will share their insights into how data is changing airline retail. Moderated by Brian Staunton, Commercial Director of Atlas, speakers will include Ashish Kumar, Commercial Director – Flight Reservations at Wego Middle East; Mary Li, Founder and CEO of Atlas; and Yong, Chief Solutions Architect at Alibaba Cloud MEA (ATM Travel Tech Stage).

For more details on the ATM 2022 program, including topics, organizers and participant biographies, visit https://www.wtm.com/atm/en-gb/whats-on/atm-conference-programme. html#/sessions.


About the Arab Travel Market (ATM)

Arabian Travel Market (ATM), now in its 29th year, is the leading international travel and tourism event in the Middle East for inbound and outbound tourism professionals. ATM 2021 showcased over 1,300 exhibiting companies from 62 countries across nine halls of the Dubai World Trade Center, with attendees from over 110 countries over the four days. The Arabian Travel Market is part of Arabian Travel Week. #ATMDubai

Next face-to-face event: Monday May 9 to Thursday May 12, 2022, Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai https://www.wtm.com/atm/en-gb.html

Next virtual event: Tuesday May 17 to Wednesday May 18, 2022

About Arab Travel Week

Arab Travel Week is a festival of events that takes place within and alongside Arabian Travel Market 2022. Offering a renewed direction for the travel and tourism sector in the Middle East, it includes ATM Virtual, ILTM Arabia, ARIVAL Dubai, the influencer events and activations, as well as Travel Tech. It also includes ATM Buyers Forums, ATM Speed ​​Networking Events as well as a series of National Summits.


About RX (Reed Exhibitions)

RX is in the business of building businesses for individuals, communities and organizations. We increase the power of face-to-face events by combining data and digital products to help customers learn about markets, find products and transact at over 400 events in 22 countries in 43 industrial sectors. RX is passionate about having a positive impact on society and is fully committed to creating an inclusive work environment for all of its employees. RX is part of RELX, a global provider of information-based analysis and decision tools for professional and commercial customers. www.rxglobal.com

About RELX

RELX is a global provider of information-based analysis and decision-making tools for professional and commercial customers. The Group serves customers in more than 180 countries and has offices in around 40 countries. It employs more than 33,000 people, nearly half of them in North America. Shares of RELX PLC, the parent company, are traded on the London, Amsterdam and New York stock exchanges using the following ticker symbols: London: REL; Amsterdam: REN; New York: RELX. Market capitalization is approximately £33 billion, €39 billion and $47 billion.*

*Note: Current market capitalization can be viewed at http://www.relx.com/investors

About the global travel market

Global travel market (WTM) The portfolio includes leading travel events, online portals and virtual platforms on four continents. The events are:

WTM London, the world’s leading travel industry event, is the three-day must-attend exhibition for the global travel and tourism industry. The show facilitates business connections for the global (leisure) travel community. High-level travel industry professionals, government ministers and international media visit ExCeL London every November, generating business in the travel industry.

Next live event: Monday 7-9 November 2022 at ExCel London


WTM Latin America takes place every year in the city of São Paulo and attracts around 20,000 tourism professionals during the three days of the event. The event offers qualified content as well as networking and business opportunities. In its ninth edition – there were eight face-to-face events as well as one 100% virtual event, held in 2021 – WTM Latin America continued to focus on effective business generation and achieved the advance booking of six thousand meetings held between buyers, travel agents and exhibitors in 2022.

Next event: Tuesday April 4 to Thursday April 6, 2023 – Expo Center Norte, SP, Brazil


WTM Africa launched in 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. In 2022, WTM Africa facilitated more than 7 thousand unique pre-scheduled appointments, an increase of more than 7% compared to 2019 and welcomed more than 6 thousand visitors (unaudited), the same number as in 2019 .

Next event: Monday 3 to Wednesday 5 April 2023 – Cape Town International Convention Centre, Cape Town http://africa.wtm.com/

About ATW Connect: Africa Travel Week’s digital arm is a virtual hub jam-packed with interesting content, industry news and insights, and the chance to hear from experts on a variety of topics in our new webinar series. monthly. All with the aim of keeping us all connected in the travel and tourism industry. ATW Connect focuses on inbound and outbound markets for general leisure tourism, luxury travel, LGBTQ+ travel and the MICE/business travel sector as well as travel technology.

Africa Travel Week

WTM Global Hub, is the new WTM Portfolio online portal created to connect and support travel industry professionals across the globe. The resource center offers the latest advice and knowledge to help exhibitors, buyers and others in the travel industry meet the challenges of the global coronavirus pandemic. WTM Portfolio taps into its global network of experts to create content for the hub. https://hub.wtm.com/

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