The travel and tourism sector has and continues to suffer from setbacks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Most populations adjusted to the technological revolution due to travel restrictions and safety measures, which raises the question; what’s the future of travel and tourism? And how do we bring travel and tourism back better after the pandemic? Viavii is a startup that is shaping the immediate future of experiential travel while connecting people globally.
Viavii is a hyper-personalized platform where people can explore, book or curate authentic in-destination travel experiences that are adjustable on-the-move, and can connect with residents of their destination at any time. Based in Amman, Jordan, Viavii also recently opened their new office in Qatar after closing a funding round with QSTP in March 2019.
According to Dr. Danny Ramadan, QSTP’s Investment director, “Viavii’s team is ready to tackle the post-pandemic needs and focus on the type of tourism experience that appeals most to the post-COVID traveller. Viavii’s presence in Qatar will support local economies while showing off Qatar’s hidden gems and extraordinary experiences, contributing to domestic and sustainable domestic and international tourism.”
Since the pandemic, the startup reached partners like UNDP and ZAPS, and received awards from TiE Dubai and Google Accelerator “Google for Startups Accelerator: MENA”. Viavii will also be releasing a new key feature soon: a personalized and digital itinerary planner tailored for people visiting Qatar for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Rola Fayyad, the founder and Chief Executive Officer at Viavii, mentioned that this unique opportunity helped them expand their team to 7 new cities, enabling them to gradually grow both regionally and globally.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, ViaVii has managed to embrace its social impact and commitment to social responsibility through “Viavii impact” services, aiming to train local communities on experience creation and digitization. ViaVii’s commitment to the local communities was made possible through a fund they received from Mercy Corps.
Viavii Impact, focused on facilitating the empowerment and participation of local communities who have been socially, economically or politically marginalized, their objective being that all local communities should be empowered to fully contribute to their societies with equal resources and opportunities. The startup was drawn to the emerging vision of tourism in the region, aspiring to achieve the desired tourism development in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Qatar.
Viavii is expected to penetrate the Saudi market by the fourth quarter in 2021. The startup closed a funding round and received venture capital funds from Falak, enabling them to expand to Saudi to open an office in Riyadh and lead series A there in order to further optimize their product offering and implement their unique strategy.
“The Viavii team have built an incredible platform,” said Hassan Ikram, Co-founder and chief investment officer at Falak “they built the data infrastructure in the right way, they have recommendations available, the team is very strong in terms of data trends within the market that they track to know what experiences they should target in what cities, and they’re aggressive with their partnership brief. We like the B2B model that they have along with the B2C and we see a lot of potential for growth with the Viavii team.”
With an exclusive partnership with ZAPS Saudi, Viavii will have access to more than 3000 credit card holders across many market sectors. According to Ahmed Pasha, the business development director at ZAPS Saudi, they decided to partner with Viavii because “it is a spick and span platform for people to fulfil their dreams and achieve their goals. One of Viavii’s best services in today’s day and age, when the pandemic had a catastrophic effect on the world, would be to help people find jobs. What caught our attention was how Viavii offers numerous services which would be beneficial for ZAPS and it’s clientele.”
Engaging the curators and creating a supportive and guided website onboarding process is a huge part of Viavii’s success and core values. Being one of the very few to use the Arabic language in its user interface, they are committed to improving the dashboard for their host community in the region and elsewhere, by developing a new, innovative and seamless functionality for anyone at any time, anywhere.