Lightning Lab Tourism

What is it?

We’re building a sustainable tourism industry in New Zealand

Lightning Lab Tourism is a three-month business acceleration programme focused on building a sustainable innovation ecosystem for the future of tourism in New Zealand. The programme will bring together a cohort of early-stage ventures and project teams from the tourism industry who will aim to solve the productivity, cultural, environmental and social challenges for the sector. The accelerator will support tourism ventures to develop and test their products in New Zealand, before competing on a global scale.

Up to ten ventures will be accepted into the programme, gaining access to NZ’s largest network of tourism and hospitality services experts and startup mentors. Programme participants will also have access to a combined tourism database, that will be administered by Qrious to help develop their solutions. Teams will work directly with tourism industry partners and practice market validation and product development methods used by companies like Google, IDEO, and Tesla. At the end of the three months, each venture will have the opportunity to pitch for investment at Demo Day, in front of some of the top angel investors and early-stage venture funds in the country.


Informing the tourism industry with better data and insights

Data is essential for tourism operators and policymakers to make informed decisions. In the tourism industry, we now have access to larger and broader data sets than ever before. We will have programme partners who can amalgamate, host and help analyze data for the ventures in the programme. Ventures chosen for this theme will provide solutions that can optimise currently available data and insights for industry, operators and regional tourism organisations.

Achieving visitor dispersal

Government and operators are interested in finding ways to encourage the dispersal of visitors across New Zealand, both geographically and seasonally. Encouraging dispersal of tourists can take pressure off tourism hotspots, help preserve Aotearoa’s natural treasures, and create new opportunities for local economies. Ventures chosen for this theme will provide solutions that can target and incentivise tourists to visit more underutilised areas of New Zealand in off-peak times.

Achieving value over volume

New Zealand has been on a long journey to grow its tourism industry by increasing the value derived from each tourist to our country rather than just increasing the number of tourists. In order to be sustainable, we must attract the types of tourists who will value authentic experiences and help them continue their New Zealand experience long after they have left our shores. Ventures chosen for this theme will provide solutions that can better target high-value tourists, help provide authenticity mechanisms to differentiate high-value tourism offerings and help tourism providers extend tourists’ visitor experiences through export of NZ goods.

Understanding New Zealand’s visitors

Human behaviour is complex and dependant on a vast range of factors. Travel decisions reflect this complexity. For the tourism industry to continue to flourish and develop long-lasting relationships with our visitors, we must move beyond visitor satisfaction surveys to understand what drives visitors based on their actions. Ventures chosen for this theme will provide solutions that help tourism providers and policymakers better understand visitor wants and needs through new and novel ways.

ChristchurchNZ Team

In addition to the four themes, we are looking for one team to work closely with ChristchurchNZ to help them increase visitor nights in Christchurch. This team will have full access to the staff, resources and facilities at ChristchurchNZ.

Apply Now


Key Dates

22 JAN

Applications Open


Market Validation Course


Applications Close


Selection Day

20 MAY

Programme Starts


Demo Day


Foundation Partners
Industry Partners
Programme Sponsors
Programme Supporters

Are you interested in supporting Lightning Lab Tourism? Let’s chat.