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Tourism Tech Expo 2019: The investor’s view

23 Aug 2019  By Paul Yandall | | @tourismticker

New Zealand tourism technology start-ups have good potential to go global, says one of the country’s leading angel investors.

Charlie James

Charlie James, chair of Flying Kiwi Angels, is one of three investors on a panel scrutinising start-ups at today’s inaugural Tourism Tech Expo 2019 at Queenstown.

Seven New Zealand start-ups are pitching at the event, including AI-powered chatbot platform Yonder, last-minute deals provider Last Spot, and Dunedin-based homestay network Look After Me.

“Tourism is one of our biggest sectors so there’s a lot of demand for new stuff and bright ideas and there are a lot of operators who are looking for more tools,” said James.

“And there’s a global trend towards adventure tourism so our innovations in New Zealand in the tourism space – a lot of them have potential global markets.”

One quality James would be looking out for would be the standard and make-up of the teams involved.

“Often the team is more important than the idea. An ‘A’ team often does better with a ‘B’-class idea, than a ‘B’ team with an ‘A’-class idea.”

Good team passion and market understanding were also vital qualities being sought, said James.

He added that today’s first ever Tourism Tech Expo 2019 event could play an important role in connecting industry, investors, and opportunities.

“It’s important down here to help join dots because there are obviously smart people with ideas and there are obviously market opportunities for some of those ideas.

“The Tourism Tech Expo has the immediate effect of helping people join some dots and it’s part of raising the general awareness that there is this growing ecosystem and that there are theses opportunities.”

Tourism Ticker is an official media partner at Tourism Tech Expo 2019 which is on today at the Queenstown Memorial Centre. More information on the event can be found at


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