The Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA) partnered with 15 agencies and organizations in the public and private sectors, including the Department of Tourism, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), the National Innovation Agency (NIA), the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (depa), the Office of SMEs Promotion (OSMEP) and Techsauce Media, to launch "Hack for GROWTH" under the concept "Make a Chance to Grow Together" with a goal to enhance growth and potential of tourism businesses in Thailand by finding the "right" innovations that empower and optimize sustainable development of tourism businesses as well as raising the country's digital readiness and competitiveness. The applications for "Hack for GROWTH" start now with prizes worth 1 million baht up for grabs.
Dr. Tyn Tawitaranond, Deputy Executive Director of the Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA), said promoting development of businesses across segments, especially SMEs, which are fundamentally the target business group that the ETDA is focusing on, as well as enhancing adoption of digital technologies and innovations in order to optimize efficiency in business performance alongside creating a beneficial digital ecosystem that is relevant to the real-world environment and current circumstances to facilitate digital transformation so as to enhance the country's digital competitiveness is the main mission that the ETDA has continuously prioritized over the years. The ETDA has provided support for many digital-driven initiatives such as pushing key legislations related to digital standardization for greater security, reliability and trustworthiness of electronic or online transactions. The ETDA also launched the Digital Service Sandbox project to enhance development of digital service innovations and solutions that are essential for electronic transactions. The ETDA also developed the Academy for Digital Transformation by ETDA or ADTE by ETDA where entrepreneurs and the government agencies can get access to experts and learning programs related to development of electronic transactions in order to be ready for digitalization and move forward to the digital era. The ETDA also has many digital-inspired activities and projects in place that will serve as a fundamental mechanism to effectively accelerate digital transformation in businesses, agencies and organizations across segments in society. An online seminar "ETDA LIVE" is a case in point where digital gurus and experts shared their views and knowledge on digitalization, including the launch of Hackathon contest to find the best innovations and new solutions to help SMEs solve their problems. The "Hack for GOOD" ideation stage that recently wrapped up did not only enable us to get a new innovative solution to improve the quality of life of people in Chiang Mai province, but it also served as a new digital development landscape for digital service providers and Thai digital startups to further develop and innovate new digital services and practical solutions for real-world problem solving.
The ETDA continued its digital empowerment commitment by launching the first "Hack for GROWTH" under the concept "Make a Chance to Grow Together" to find new innovations and solutions or digital platforms to help address problems surrounding the Thai tourism business as well as enhancing development of businesses in the Thai tourism industry. It also serves as a networking platform to foster collaboration among digital developers and digital service providers to further improve innovative solutions for SMEs so that they will be ready for business transformation in order to grow together in the future world. The first "Hack for GROWTH" was launched in collaboration with 15 strategic partners in the public and private sectors. They are the Department of Tourism, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), the National Innovation Agency (NIA), the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (depa), the Office of SMEs Promotion (OSMEP), the Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration (Public Organization), the Tourism Council of Thailand, the Federation of Thai SME, the Thai Startup Association, the Thai Tourism Promotion Association (TTPA), Small and Medium Enterprise Development Bank of Thailand (SME Bank), the Finlab powered by UOB, Amazon Web Services (Thailand) and Techsauce Media.
The "tourism industry" has been a key growth driver of the Thai economy. In the first quarter of 2023 alone, the number of foreign tourist arrivals in Thailand totaled 6.4 million, up 1,202% compared to the same period last year, due partly to a significant improvement in the pandemic situation in Thailand. The tourism industry generated more than 250 billion baht in national revenue, according to statistics from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports. The ETDA and Techsauce Media also conducted a survey of tourism business operators across the country in April 2023 to identify downside risks and factors hindering tourism business development, it found that the overall tourism businesses, especially the operators of hotels, restaurants, travel agents and tour guides, are dealing with challenges that are holding back on their business growth prospect. The rising number of competitors makes it more difficult for certain operators to reach out to target customers, resulting in their sales revenue missing the targets. The survey also found that certain tourism business operators lack knowledge and expertise in marketing and how to take advantage of digital solutions to optimize business performance efficiency and drive up revenue. It found that many operators are short of manpower with essential skills needed in particular jobs. It has led to a high turnover rate in a company, resignations and switching jobs, affecting the overall performance of a company. Most companies surveyed lacked a structural management system, effective business management tools and human resources management solutions that can incentivize employees to work and grow together with a company for a longer term.
"How to empower tourism business operators to break the barriers, move the business forward and grow further than ever before…is the key concern that we have to address. The "Hack for GROWTH" activity does not only serve as a problem-solving platform to find new innovative solutions for addressing problems of businesses in the tourism industry, but it is also a stage for developers and digital service providers to further improve the existing innovations or even develop new innovations and solutions that can better respond to the requirements of tourism business operators so that the digital technologies and innovations will be widely utilized in the industry. "Hack for GROWTH" activity also collaborates with relevant agencies to further drive the development of each innovative solution. It is a mechanism to help move the country forward with strengthening digital competitiveness and inclusive growth that are on par with other countries in the future world."
Based on the key challenges and limitations facing Thai tourism business operators, participants of "Hack for GROWTH" are required to come up with innovative ideas, solutions, systems or platforms to address those challenges facing the businesses in the industry by focusing on dealing with 3Rs comprising Revenue Growing; Recruiting Better; and Retaining People Growth. 1. Revenue Growing: Innovations and solutions that can drive up sales revenue from the existing resources. It must give priority to solving problems for SMEs in the tourism sector such as hotel and accommodation operators, restaurant business operators and travel agents. 2. Recruiting Better: Innovations and solutions that can help with recruitment and finding human resources with skills needed in the market and the industry. 3. Retaining People Growth: Innovations and solutions for enhancing efficiency in business performance and team management in order to create a better customer experience as it is also a strategic solution for customer retention.
The winning team will receive a cash prize of 500,000 baht, a trophy and a certificate. The 1st runner-up receives 250,000 baht in cash prize together with a trophy and a certificate. The 2nd runner-up receives a cash prize of 100,000 baht, a trophy and a certificate. Two teams with the highest popular votes from the judge panel will receive a cash prize of 75,000 baht and a certificate each. The winner, the first and second runners-up are also entitled to earning the AWS Credits from Amazon Web Services (AWS) as well as an opportunity to participate in the pitching round at Tech Showcase to be held as part of Techsauce Global Summit 2023. The three teams also have a chance to further expose their innovative solutions to be widely recognized on the global scale as well as business growth opportunities.
Applications for taking part in the first "Hack for GROWTH" program run until June 12, 2023. The committee will narrow down all applications to just 40 teams. The list of all qualified applicants will be officially announced on June 19, 2023 before the launch of the Open House activity to welcome all participants. Service provider, startups, university students and general people who are interested in the "Hack for GROWTH" program can check out for details and qualifications and information on key challenges that all participants are required to address or submitting applications at https://www.etda.or.th/th/hackforgrowth or stay updated with all the latest news on ETDA Thailand: https://www.facebook.com/ETDA.Thailand