Etihad Airways and the Department of Culture & Tourism - Abu Dhabi Partner with Plug and Play ADGM

03 March 2019, 12:15 PM

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates - Plug and Play, the largest global innovation platform, and Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), the leading international financial centre based in Abu Dhabi, today announced Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, and the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi as the founding corporate partners for their new Travel and Hospitality accelerator program. 

The Plug and Play ADGM team, Etihad Airways and the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi will be working together to dictate the focus of the program based on their current use cases and curating a selection of highly rated startups sourced via their global network. Plug and Play ADGM will work hand in hand with both partner’s business units to expedite the engagement process and encourage fruitful collaboration.

Plug and Play ADGM is also proud to announce that Miral, Abu Dhabi’s creator of destinations, will participate in the accelerator program, allowing them to engage with the selected startups and support the growing entrepreneurial ecosystem across the region. Startups participating in the accelerator program will be able to benefit from ADNEC’s community partnership by attending their regular workshops, private events, and networking sessions.

These partners will also be able to leverage Plug and Play’s global ecosystem of over 25 travel and hospitality companies across the globe, from Silicon Valley to Singapore.

“The travel and hospitality sector is critical to Abu Dhabi’s socio-economic development and we are delighted to form this strategic partnership with Plug and Play ADGM to collectively establish an infrastructure which will enable innovation to flourish in the aviation sector,” said Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Aviation Group.

“Establishing Abu Dhabi’s credentials as a world-class destination with universal appeal across all global traveller demographics is our key mandate at DCT Abu Dhabi, and this collaboration with Plug and Play ADGM, in tandem with our local partners, will allows us to forge a framework where innovation can flourish, and the potency and reach of our global messaging can be enhanced,” said H.E Saif Saeed Ghobash, Undersecretary at DCT Abu Dhabi.

“We are proud that the expansion of our activities into the Travel and Hospitality space will further support Abu Dhabi’s vision in becoming a regional hub for innovation,” said Omeed Mehrinfar, Managing Partner, Middle East at Plug and Play.

Plug and Play ADGM kicked off their first Fintech accelerator program in Q3 of 2018, supporting five major financial institutions in achieving their innovation objectives on a global scale, as well as strengthening their competitive advantage within the financial sector.

Dhaher Bin Dhaher Al Mheiri, CEO of the Registration Authority of ADGM said, “ADGM is excited about the new Plug and Play ADGM’s startup programme for the travel and hospitality sector and looks forward to collaborating with the corporate partners and startups. This new venture dovetails with ADGM’s commitment and ongoing efforts in advancing the UAE and Abu Dhabi’s blueprint to boost the competitiveness and attractiveness of the business environment, particularly, in empowering and supporting startups and innovators from the tourism and key industrial sectors. 

Leveraging ADGM’s end-to-end Tech startup ecosystem and its Professional Services Support Programme, firms and entrepreneurs have access to a nurturing and conducive environment while focusing on their innovative business solutions to local and international companies. We will continue to introduce and advocate initiatives to bring about sustainable development and growth for our country and the community reinforcing Abu Dhabi’s economic diversification strategy.”

Plug and Play’s Travel & Hospitality Innovation Platform was founded in 2016 at their Silicon Valley headquarters, focused on discovering, supporting and scaling disruptive technologies that are reshaping the future of travel. The industry’s IT infrastructure is long overdue for disruption, and there is an inherent need to connect industry leaders with innovators across the globe. Plug and Play leverages its global network to source startup technologies that increase revenue and lower costs, improve safety and security, build brand loyalty, and create seamless travel experiences for everyone.

The program will commence in Q3 of 2019, with the first batch of selected startups residing at ADGM.

For more information about the program, please reach out to