Welcome to The Journey!

2020 has proven that adapting to challenges is key for the success and sustainability of the whole tourism sector.

Now, in 2021, The Journey finds innovative solutions for the tourism sector. The open innovation program gathers startups from all over the world and from numerous industries to help solve business challenges with the partners.

What is The Journey?

The program’s main goal is to co-develop impactful pilot projects in just four months. Startups and program partners may then continue their collaboration.

As covid-19 lockdown measures take a major impact in the tourism sector, the need for innovation and adaptation has never been bigger.

This 4th edition is 100% online and focuses on addressing the highest priority challenges for the sector to boost the recovery. Pilots will be about rapid test and implementation. 


The Journey 4.0 is looking for

Startups from all industries with solutions to the challenges in the areas of:


Parks & Monuments

Tours & Activities

Payment Solutions

Data Driven Sales & Communication

  • Tracking and analysis of client/tourist behavior, as well as data, for client profiling.
  • Integration, aggregation and automatic analysis of scattered client and tourist data from different sources to support strategy and sales as well as supporting synergies between industry players (e.g. value chain integration through common platforms).
  • Solutions that allow personalized communication with both clients and prospects, from brand awareness to digital sales.

Enhanced Travel Experience

  • Provide meaningful travel experiences that don’t require physical presence (eg. virtual tours and site inspections, from leisure to educational and technical purposes).
  • Complement and boost hotel experience, as well as visits to parks and monuments, through the use of technology. Real time and personalized content that enhances travel and outdoors experiences are valued (eg. A/R, V/R, gaming, flora and fauna identification, city info, schedules, partnerships, etc).
  • Provide authentic and sustainable travel experiences, engaging with the local community.

Frictionless Journey & Payments

  • Make the clients’ journey in hotels frictionless, through simple and safe interactions such as touchless check-ins, check-outs, keyless solutions, simplified payments, etc.
  • Before traveling: allow for tourists to complete product purchases in a hassle-free manner, by easing payment methods.

Smart Operations

  • Automate and optimize processes in hospitality (from reception to Food & Beverages or maintenance).
  • Turn interactions with the client smarter, through automation of systems such as reservations or restaurant bookings, proposals, presentations or inquiries.


  • sales and marketing automation
  • predictive analytics
  • natural language processing (NLP)
  • data tracking and integration
  • augmented reality
  • virtual reality
  • mixed reality
  • face/head/space tracking
  • 360 video
  • flora & fauna identification
  • online payment solutions
  • card recognition
  • payment tokenization
  • light POS solutions
  • payment objects
  • IoT
  • digital check-ins and check-outs
  • keyless solutions
  • automated reservation management
  • building management system (HVAC)

Why you should apply

This journey can take you on a fast ride for growth. These are some of the perks you can take from being part of the program:
  • Opportunity to scale your business by partnering with the corporate partners
  • Opportunity to co-develop pilot projects and test your solution
  • Validation of your product and business learnings
  • Access to workshops and industry talks
  • Access to a community of entrepreneurs and tech-lovers
  • Access to a team of experienced facilitators managing the program
  • Brand visibility



January 6 – March 7, 2021

It all starts with your online application. We will assess your fit with the program according to specific criteria.


March 8 – April 2, 2021

The TOP 30 startups will be invited to a pitch and several Q&A sessions to assess the fit for the collaboration. The pitch sessions are scheduled for the 6 and 7 of April.


May 4 – May 14, 2021

The best startups that participated in the Bootcamp will enjoy 12-14 weeks of close collaboration with the Partners, working closely with mentors of the program, together with Beta-i’s network.


May 21 – September 21, 2021

The selected startups will co-develop pilot projects with the corporate partners, under Beta-i’s guidance and mentoring.


September 30, 2021

The finalist startups will have the opportunity to present the results of the pilot projects during the Lisbon Tourism Summit, the major event dedicated to the tourism sector.

It will be a public event where you will find tourism experts, government bodies, investors, and media.

Parques de Sintra

Parques de Sintra believes that innovation and digital transformation are essential to provide our visitors with the best cultural, educational and leisure experiences.

Dorabela Charneca, Executive Administrator CFO Parques de Sintra 


The program helped us to connect directly with the decision makers interested in innovating and experimenting. Make sure you are aligned on the project with the partner – listen carefully to what they need, ask questions and help them understand well how you can help to solve their challenge.

Olga Plets, CEO CloudGuide 

VISA Quote

For all the tourists visiting Portugal and all the touristic facilities of the country, VISA wants to offer the best payments solutions before, during and after the tourists’ staying, because of its wide range of payment opportunities, frictionless transactions process, and smooth integration with the Portuguese merchants and government entities.

Paula Antunes, Country Manager VISA

Unicre Quote

We launched The Journey in 2019 and it was, indeed, an amazing journey. Great startups in a very complete and organized program sponsored by leading companies in its industries. These kind of projects, that foster partnerships between companies and startups, boosts Unicre in achieving its goals and mission: to support Portuguese Tourism with better solutions for both customers and companies.

Inês Maia Saltão, Communication and Digital Manager Unicre

Pestana Quote

The Journey is a great opportunity for Pestana Hotel Group to connect with organizations facing similar challenges. We hope to meet startups with innovative solutions to solve our most pressing pain points.

João Leite, Director of Innovation and Business Intelligence Pestana Hotel Group


Grupo Barraqueiro have been present in all editions of The Journey so far, which is best proof of the quality of the program and how important it has been for us. We expect to meet new start-ups with innovative solutions that can help us improve our service and, therefore, our clients satisfaction. Additionally, the opportunity to share this experience with some of the most relevant tourism players in Portugal is great!

João Ascensão, Strategy Manager Cityrama

Turismo de Portugal

Tourism businesses will adapt and fast-track their digital transformation from touchless technologies to automated services across the traveler journey. As new business models emerge to adapt to the changing market needs, the sector will focus on automating travel systems so it can nurture customer relationships. As a partner of The Journey, Turismo de Portugal aim for innovative solutions that can empower tourism businesses to stay ahead of the curve.

Luís Araújo, President Turismo de Portugal

Bootcamp Startups


Main Partner

Turismo de Portugal is responsible for the promotion, valuation, and sustainability of the tourist activity in Portugal. As the National Tourism Authority, integrated in the Ministry of Economy and Digital Transition, it aggregates in a single entity all the dynamics of tourism, from supply to demand.


Piloting Partners

Ready to partner with startups for pilot development

Barraqueiro Group includes transportation companies in Portugal, Brazil and Angola. It includes over 4.500 road, rail and river transportations.


An entirely state-owned Portuguese company set up in 2000 following the UNESCO classification of the Sintra Cultural Landscape as of World Heritage status (1995). It is non-profit with all earnings reinvested in preserving and enhancing the heritage in its care.


Present in 16 countries, it is the largest multinational group from Portugal in the tourism sector. With 12,000 rooms under direct management, it has a global team of 7,000 professionals.


Selina’s locations range from places to stay, travel, and work abroad indefinitely. You can find them in over 60 destinations worldwide.


A global payments technology company that enables consumers, businesses, banks and governments to use electronic money.


With more than 45 years of experience in payment and credit solutions, Unicre connects people, companies and technology by providing unique payment experiences. Throughout REDUNIQ, the payments acquiring business, and UNIBANCO, that provides simple and unique financial solutions, Unicre serves more than 500 thousand private customers and manages more than 450 million transactions per year.


Organized by

Beta-i is a collaborative innovation consultancy with global reach. A team of experts in managing corporate open innovation, pilot-oriented projects with highly-curated startups, and designing products and services alongside in-company teams.


contact us

The Journey Impact

It has been a long Journey…

pilots developed

Startup Applications

selected startups


corporate partners