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ASK HELMUT is the winner of the first "Start Tourism UP!" prize:

Berlin start ups present digital solutions for tourism in the capital

Bringing the digital economy and tourism closer together: this was the aim of the Senate Department for Economics, Technology and Research and ITB Berlin in establishing the first Berlin Start Up Prize for digital tourism solutions. The submissions for "Start Tourism UP!" came from 60 start ups and creative people in Berlin. The winner was ASK HELMUT, with carefully planned suggestions for events that would appeal to tourists. They convinced the eight-member jury made up of experts from the start up and tourism scene with a live pitch made during the eTravel World at ITB Berlin. 

ASK HELMUT offers users choices from a compilation of specific events in digital form. This provides vacationers with a carefully tailored range of leisure activities, and tour operators are able to address different target groups via an app and the website. The second prize went to Edaole, a mobile shopping guide intended specifically for tourists from China with an app that helps them to overcome linguistic and cultural barriers. Using a smartphone, Chinese tourists can obtain suggestions about restaurants and sightseeing, as well as high quality shopping advice and details about discounts. In third place was TimeRift Tours, a start up that uses headsets and 3D apps to create three dimensional tours as a way of bringing historical events alive. The resulting virtual reality combines history, education and tourism with entertainment.

Senator Cornelia Yzer was impressed by the levels of creativity shown by the finalists: "Berlin is not only one of the most popular destination in Europe, but has now become Europe's leading centre for start ups. The progress that is being made on a daily basis with the digitalization of tourism offers and processes represents an enormous potential for new business models. With the ideas that they have submitted for this competition, the city's most creative people have demonstrated how this potential can be utilized in some innovative ways for the benefit of tourism in Berlin."

The winner received a cash sum of 50,000 euros, with 30,000 euros going to the runner up and 20,000 euros for third place, and this will enable them to make further refinements to the ideas that they submitted for this competition. In addition the projects presenting the best ideas will receive assistance in the form of an individual package from the cooperating partner, Axel Springer Plug and Play Accelerator. The winning project will be shown to the public on 11 March at the eTravelLab at ITB Berlin.

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