Welcome City Lab

Incubator dedicated to tourism innovation in Paris


Category: eTravel Stage

Date: March 10, 2017 Time: 3:00 pm – 3:30 pm

Location: Hall 6.1, eTravel Stage

The ITB Berlin Convention’s eTravel Stage takes a close look at “inventing the future of tourism” in Paris. We asked Laurent Queige, Managing Director, Welcome City Lab, to tell us about his presentation…

We are convinced that young entrepreneurs contribute to designing the future of travel. But usually start-ups don’t come from this industry. They have 3 kinds of profiles: they have a strong international background; they are serial entrepreneurs who have already created companies in other economic sectors; they are digital engineers. So they need 3 services: 1/ a place where they can meet major tourism companies in order to find their first clients; 2/ someone who can coach them to grow faster than they would if they stayed working in their garage; 3/ an opportunity to meet investors and venture capitalists to finance their development. These 3 services are provided by Le Welcome City Lab.

What are the key goals of Welcome City Lab and how does it work?

Our major goal is to position Paris as the leading city in tourism innovation. We aim at helping start-ups become international references on their market. We also help traditional operators (hotels, agencies, venues, etc.) learn about innovation. We now run an academy: we organise events, meetups, brainstorming sessions in order for our ecosystem to find answers to their questions.

Who’s behind the project? How did it come about?

Le Welcome City Lab is managed by a steering committee composed of 10 industrial groups (Amadeus, Air France, Paris Airports, Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Galeries Lafayette, Paris Inn Group, RATP, SkyBoard, Sodexo, Viparis) and 5 public entities (City of Paris, Paris Tourist Office, Ministry for Tourism, National Investment Bank, Caisse des Dépôts). As a tourism professional for the past 25 years, I realised that no-one before had the idea of dedicating an incubator to the travel industry. I worked on the project for one and a half years and found the financial partners. Le Welcome City Lab was officially launched in July 2013