Hackathon delivers innovative ideas for tourism development in Armenia

The winners of the hackathon

With the support of the EU-SMEDA project, the second ‘Innovative ideas for tourism development in Armenia’ hackathon was held on 18-19 May 2019 in Vanadzor, organised by the Vanadzor Technology Centre (VTC), the Enterprise Incubator Foundation and Lori region’s administration in cooperation with the Tourism Committee of the Republic of Armenia.

The hackathon aimed at promoting the tourism industry in Armenia by bringing innovative solutions and services to the market to attract more tourists, both domestic and international, and potentially ensuring higher income for the implementers of those ideas and projects.

Around 30 teams from all over Armenia took part in a creative and stimulating atmosphere, working on the prototypes of their ideas and products for 24 hours guided by experienced mentors and experts who were available for the whole duration of the event. A number of topic-related sessions were also organised, along with hands on consultation and guidance, while the teams were working on their final pitches, presenting them on the second day to the Hackathon’s jury.

The most innovative, creative, impactful and sustainable pitches received prizes from the EU-SMEDA project of 2,000,000 AMD, 1,200,000 AMD and 750,000 AMD, as support for the further development and/or promotion of the proposed product, such as marketing expense, business consultancy, translation services, study trips to or trade show participation in Europe.

The 1st prize went to Guide Me, a mobile application, which will tell users about more than 60 cultural and historic attractions in 10 languages, provided by professional native speakers. The application will include a map showing guest houses, restaurants, bike and hiking routes.

Second place went to Armenia Discovery, an online shop and information platform, where incoming tour operators have the opportunity to register their companies and have their mini webpage. The platform aims to support creative people living in remote rural areas of Armenia in selling their products. T

The 3rd was Guru Guide, an application that allows dwellers of both cities and rural areas to study, become a guide and find a job by registering on the application and sharing stories about their hometowns. The app provides a platform that connects local people and tourists, making it available for authentic story telling from “your local buddy”. 

Aditional prizes were offered by UNDP Armenia to support theVisit My Armenia, Armenia Discovery, Improvis, Boo, and Hako teams in developing their ideas. 

This was the second time that the Hackathon on innovative ideas for tourism development in Armenia was organised in the Lori region of northern Armenia, establishing itself as a sustainable initiative for years to come, as well a platform for boosting tourism and innovation in the regions through digital and technological approaches and solutions.

The EU4Business SMEDA project supports the improvement of the business and investment climate for SMEs in Armenia. It aims to strengthen the private sector, support SME coordination mechanisms, and foster links between research institutions and the private sector, as well as providing access to finance for SMEs.