Best Projects 2019 features all the nominated entries submitted ‘Submit your Project’ category. All the entries consist of innovative projects run by existing enterprises in the form of businesses, NGOs or informal programs.
Wayaj - Earth Friendly Travel
Explain your project in details:
Wayaj is an app to discover and book ecofriendly destinations from around the world. Users can choose among +350 destinations in 91 countries. Hotels are rated using our ecoscore and travelers can offset their travel carbon footprint with UNFCCC certified projects. The main objective is to help travelers to travel sustainably by choosing the right hotels and offsetting the travel carbon footprint. We also want to educate travelers to the importance of traveling in a sustainable way and let them know that it is possible to do it without compromising the quality of their experiences, but actually improving it. Users can: find information on ecofriendly hotels Save favorites for later We are also employing AI and machine learning to optimize search results and recommendations to travelers.
Impact of your enterprise on sustainable development
As regards SDGs, the main impact of our product is in terms of reducing the negative effects of travel and tourism on the environment and local communities while maintaining and increasing its positive economic benefits. Besides implementing sustainable processes in the management of their property (waste reduction, use of renewable energy, purchasing local products, etc...), most of the hotels we list are involved in local environmental for preservation and conservation projects, and social programs promoting education and health, they are committed to employing local people and respect local cultures. Our role is to support them in their efforts by sending them customers.
Sustainability and future plans
Wayaj aims to become the travel engine of the sustainable future. Our business model is based on commission from the destinations based on bookings and from the sales of carbon offsetting credits. The project has been self-financed so far, but we are planning to look for investments in the near future. Our plans for growth in the future include 1) international expansion (we are currently US-focused in terms of customers), 2) growing supply (add new hotels), 3) add transportation (flights, train, rental cars...) 4) develop a block-chain based loyalty program to reward green travel .
Your profile as an entrepreneur
Originally from Italy, I have shown my nomadic tendencies early on. Since college, I have been studying and working around the world. UK, USA, Brazil, France are the places where I have resided in my 50+ years of life. Traveling as a way of discovering new cultures and enjoying the beauty of our planet has always been an integral part of my life, the part that keeps me motivated. My background is in social sciences, communications and digital marketing. With Wayaj I bring together these two parts of me with a mission: in the age of climate emergency it is imperative we change our ways to guarantee that future generations will have the resources to live with dignity. Traveling promotes cultural exchanges between people thus increasing peace and understanding around the world, so we need to keep traveling but just doing so in a sustainable way. I'm grateful that I get to do my part for future generations working on such a great project as Wayaj. Wayaj has been nominated a finalist at the "Be The Change Awards" this year.