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6 Irish Companies Who Are Reviving the Global Travel Industry Post COVID-19

With over 100,000 tourism jobs lost, it’s estimated that COVID-19 wiped almost €4tn from global travel and tourism in 2020. How can the travel industry possibly recover?

Barrie Dowsett

Chief Executive Officer


5 minute read

As we know, the arrival of COVID-19 and its extended visit brought the global travel industry to its knees. In fact, with over 100,000 tourism jobs lost, it’s estimated that COVID-19 wiped almost €4tn from global travel and tourism in 2020.

So, how can the travel industry possibly recover? And if they can, what part is the global travel hub, Ireland, playing in the rebuilding of the 8th largest industry in the world?

Let’s find out…

The impact COVID-19 has had on the travel industry

It’ll come as no surprise that the travel sector was one of the hardest hit by COVID-19. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) calculated that Europe’s airline carriers could lose up to €70 billion worth of sales. Turnover in general travel and tourism businesses fell to 26% compared with 73% in other industries, and the accommodation and travel agency industry saw their turnover drop to 9.3%.

So, with the travel industry in tatters, how can it even begin to get back on its feet?

With a global travel hub like Ireland…

Ireland: the global travel hub

As an island nation, travel has always been incredibly important to Ireland. You only have to look at history to see that: County Kerry Monk St. Brendan managed to beat Christopher Columbus across the Atlantic to America; Antrim’s Lilian Bland was the first female aviation engineer, and Irishman James Fitzmaurice was on the boat that crossed the Atlantic from East to West for the first time in 1928.

Ireland’s travel heritage enables it to see clearly the problems travel companies have, while its tech heritage helps it to develop innovative solutions.” – Irish Advantage

Today, over 50% of the worlds leased commercial airlines are managed from the Emerald isle. Plus, over 100 travel technology companies employing over 3,500 people have set up shop on the island, and the likes of Airbnb, Google, Lonely Planet and Trip Advisor have moved their HQ’s to Irish shores. So, I think it’s safe to say that Ireland is fast becoming a global hub for travel and innovative travel technology.

From engineering and technology right through to innovative tour operators such as Topflight, travel is something that Irish companies are really good at.” – Irish Times

So, what exactly is Ireland, the global travel hub, doing to get the travel industry back on its feet?

6 Irish travel-tech companies that are bringing the travel industry back to life

Travel technology covers all aspects of travel: from intuitive tools to help customers make reservations and book flights to integrated payment systems and tech-based distribution models. It’s this type of technology that’s going to bring the travel and tourism industry back to life.

And, when you look at the following innovative, Irish born-and-bred travel companies, you’ll see how:


Located in Dublin Let’sGetChecked have developed a rapid polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing solution that was selected and used by American Airlines when they restarted their flights back to Hawaii and The Caribbean. The tests, which are FDA approved, can be done at home or at the airport, and provide results in as little as 48-hours.


Travelling in the new-normal way is going to be riddled with worries, especially when it comes to maintaining an appropriate social distance from others. To reduce anxieties about social distancing at the airport, Dublin based Daon has partnered with Denver International Airport to develop and launch VeriFLY. VeriFLY allows passengers to make a reservation to access a dedicated Transport Security Administration (TSA) screening lane and reserve a space on a limited-capacity train car to the concourse.

Mobile Travel Tech (MTT)

You’re never far from your smartphone – especially when you travel. How else do you get travel updates, find your way around, or check your travel itinerary?
Dublin company Mobile Travel Tech have seized this opportunity and developed an integrated platform that allows customers to pay for flights, book accommodation and receive personalised updates on their phones, in real-time, whilst en-route to their destination.


With headquarters in Dublin, Hostelworld is an e-commerce operation that allows customers to book from over 27,000 campsites, bed and breakfasts and budget hotels online. Hostelworld has established itself as a pioneering force to be reckoned with in the hostel community. Now, with an annual conference and online social network under its belt, they’ve also set up another e-commerce site, selling discounted travel products like insurance, guidebooks and SIM cards.


Finding and booking travel and accommodation for business trips can be time-consuming and frustratingly difficult. CarTrawler, another Dublin based company, has built a solution for this problem. It’s an end-to-end B2B travel technology platform that offers innovative transport solutions to almost one billion business passengers annually.


Founded in 2011 in Dublin, Boxever has developed a personalisation platform that uses data and AI to make customer interactions smarter and deliver game-changing customer experiences with airlines such as Ryanair, Viva Air Group, and Hong Kong Express.

How are Irish companies able to bring such innovative travel tech to fruition?

“In essence, Irish travel tech companies have core technologies to empower stakeholders to transform the customer journey, drive operational efficiencies, and unlock greater profitability through dynamic pricing, ancillary revenues, and personalization.” - Máire P. Walsh, SVP Digital Technologies, Enterprise Ireland

Government-funded innovative grants and R&D tax credit incentives are a huge support to Irish businesses when developing innovative travel tech products and services.

Enterprise Ireland offers this type of funding and support to inventive Irish companies. It’s responsible for the development and growth of Irish enterprises in world markets and offers innovative Irish companies the opportunity to apply for R&D grants. These grants allow companies to develop their pioneering projects, and they also connect international market leaders with the advanced technologies of Irish companies, which enhances customer experiences and drives profitability across the industry.

How Myriad Associates can help you secure funding for your innovative travel tech project

If you’re looking to develop your own innovative travel tech project, contact the Grant team at Myriad Associates.

With over a decade of experience working in the innovative grant application field, with Enterprise Ireland and other grant bodies such as Horizon Europe, they will get to know you, your project and your business so they can prepare and submit a winning grant funding application to the Revenue, on your behalf.

Read this to find out a little more about the Enterprise Ireland Grant scheme and Grant application process. Or, feel free to contact us to find out more or call us free on +353 1 566 2001.

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