Abu Dhabi: The UAE has always been committed to spreading the culture of entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity by offering events and activities to support such a spirit among young Emiratis.

Tourism is firmly established as the number one industry in many countries as well as the fastest-growing economic sector in terms of foreign exchange earnings and job creation.

According to the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), international arrivals are expected to reach nearly 1.6 billion by the year 2020. Of these worldwide arrivals, around 1.2 billion will be intraregional and more than 300 million will be long-haul travellers.

“The Middle East is forecast to record a growth of 5 per cent,” UNWTO confirmed recently.

Therefore, a new programme has been developed to help and encourage Emiratis for innovation and creativity in technology applications designed around tourism services being the highest growth industry for the UAE.

Ibtikari initiative- means “My Innovation” in English. It was launched by Khalifa Fund early this year, providing an ideal and informal environment for Emirati entrepreneurs allowing them generate, conceptualise, and improve their ideas in order to make it useful for the tourism sector.

Out of 126 unique ideas, only 14 technical ideas qualified in the capital yesterday as part of the Ibtikari initiative for mobile phone applications.

Business plan

“The Fund received almost 126 business ideas specialised in designing the smart mobile phones applications in tourism sector. Groups have been formed to develop and manage the idea and to create the business plan,” said Abdullah Saeed Al Darmaki, chief executive officer of Khalifa Fund for enterprise development.

“The Fund will provide all sort of supports needed to the success of any technical project with comply with the Fund’s financial conditions,” Al Darmaki added.

The Khalifa Fund and Innovation 360, an institute which helps in finding new ways of value creation, have conducted workshops for five consecutive days to prepare participants for practical training in the field of marketing and technical sides.

“The owners of the qualified ideas are 35 Emiraits and then ideas were filtered by voting system into 22, which were referred to an evaluation committee that includes experts from Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development , Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority and Technology Development Committee,” said Fatima Mohammad Al Muhairi, manager in entrepreneurship department at Khalifa Fund for enterprise development.

Ideas Profiles of Ibtikari:

The idea: ADNav by Mustafa Al Musawa Al Hashemi

ADNav is a smartphone application (iOs, Android) with outdoor voice guided navigation to make it easy to find and reach tourists points of interest enabled with location based information alerts. Tourists will be able to virtually visit different sites through the internet based on 3D modelling and virtual reality.

The idea: Bite Food Application by a team consists of Salama Khalifa Al Muhairi, Amna Al Neyadi , Latifa Al Mansouri, Hamda and Fatima.

Bite food application will enable Abu Dhabi residents, who face a difficulty finding the right food destination or restaurants, simplify the search based on six different criteria: price range, time, mood and location. The smartphone application will feature options such as, calorie counter, loyalty programme, menus and diet tracker.

The idea: Hyaakom Card — means welcome in English — by Ashjan Bin Sumaidaa

Tourists visiting Abu Dhabi will no longer have a hard time finding the best deals while shopping or converting their own currency. The Hyaakom card is an e-card loaded with discounts, coupons and loyalty programmes which will be offered on a wide scale of products and services for tourists.

The card will be a Visa or MasterCard pre-paid credit card to make currency transfer easy and quick.

Statistics and outcomes of the Ibtikari programme:

• Total number of registered participants for the programme: 281

• Total number of non-Khalifa Fund employees who participated: 82

• Total number of ideas submitted reference from Ibtikari ideation portal: 126

• Total number of ideas pitched on stage: 22

Special interviews will be conducted with some of the 14 participants for tomorrow.