Tokyo, Japan – Kotozna, Inc. has been selected to participate in the fourth cohort of the Singapore Tourism Accelerator programme for 2021. The Accelerator programme is set up by the Singapore Tourism Board to attract promising travel tech startups that can power Singapore’s travel and tourism sector. Kotozna is the first Japanese startup to be selected as part of the Accelerator programme. Being part of the programme provided Kotoza with the opportunity to test and fine-tune its products at one of Singapore’s key industry players.
■ About Singapore Tourism Accelerator
The Singapore Tourism Accelerator is a digital initiative under Tcube (Tourism Technology Transformation Cube) set up by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) with Ravel Innovation as the appointed innovation partner. The programme attracts innovative technology solutions worldwide to Singapore to help Singapore’s tourism businesses build new digital capabilities and reimagine business offerings. These can help solve perennial business pain points and open up new business opportunities amidst disruptions brought by COVID.
There are two rounds of recruitment (cohorts) a year, with the pioneering cohort kicking off in October 2019. The programme recently concluded its fourth Cohort and to date has supported 35 start-ups to develop 45 tourism industry solutions.
How Does the Programme Work
The Singapore Tourism Accelerator matches technology solution companies with Singapore businesses in the travel and tourism space, to testbed technology solutions. These pilots are to be conducted in Singapore, and STB will be facilitating the relocation of overseas start-ups to Singapore for the duration of the Accelerator programme.
To date STB has on-boarded more than 30 tourism businesses as industry partners for the programme, including Sentosa Development Corporation, Singapore Airlines, Gardens by the Bay, Far East Hospitality, and Pontiac Land Group. These industry partners will be involved in identifying relevant challenge or focus areas, participate in the recruitment and evaluation of the innovative companies for the accelerator programme and support the relevant selected companies in the development of the solution. This includes providing space and opportunities to pilot relevant solutions.
Ong Huey Hong, Executive Director of Industry Technology Transformation, Singapore Tourism Board, said, “The Singapore Tourism Accelerator Programme supports STB’s vision for Singapore to be the living lab to power the future of travel. This is done by bringing together innovative global technology providers and Singapore tourism businesses to testbed ideas and tech solutions that reimagine tourism experiences. The programme has received more than 700 applications from 50 countries thus far and we are heartened that many international companies such as Kotozna have benefited from it. We welcome more Japanese start-ups to join us and be part of Singapore’s community of tourism innovators to testbed world’s first solutions in Singapore, with opportunities to expand and scale up adoption across South East Asia. The Accelerator programme recruitment will commence March 2022 and more information will be available closer to the date on https://go.gov.sg/sgtourismaccelerator.”
■About Kotozna’s Pilot
Kotozna completed its development after 6 months with the support from STB. It has now entered its implementation phase at a leading industry partner.
The product implemented for the trial run is “Kotozna Live Chat”, which is a communication tool for multilingual contact centres. It was developed based on the multilingual communication tool “kotozna Chat” (as of Dec 2021, capable of cross translating 109 languages) and can be utilized at facilities that receive a large volume of multilingual inquiries from around the world. A click on a chat icon on a facility’s website opens a chat screen and a customer can type in their inquiry in their own language. The inquiry will automatically connect to the relevant operator depending on the language and content of the chat. On the operator’s side, the system will allow operators to handle multiple chats at once. The chat is auto translated, leading to better communication.
“Kotozna Live Chat” provides highly accurate translations by optimizing multiple machine translations, combined with the use of facility-specific dictionaries. “Kotozna Live Chat” can also be used with chatbots in multiple languages to provide FAQs and automated coverage during absence of operators. All communication is digitized.
Kotozna envisions a post-pandemic world where global travel rebounds and demand for multilingual solutions increases. Kotozna Live Chat can be used by any contact center that requires multilingual communications. It aims to become one of the most pleasant-to-use services that could be customized for any industry to allow rapid and efficient execution and flawless communication without any language barriers.
With the feedback Kotozna receives during the current pilot implementation and trial, it aims to fine-tune its chat service for the official release in May 2022.
■About Kotozna, Inc.
Kotozna, Inc. has been providing solutions to global language communication issues with artificial intelligence and innovative technology since 2016.
The company is in Cohort 4 of the highly selective Singapore Tourism Accelerator program.
Prior to this, in 2020, Kotozna, Inc. teamed up with JTB, Japan’s largest travel agency, to provide multilingual communication tool “Kotozna In-room” (https://kotozna.com/in-room) to more than 180 hotels around Japan (as of Dec 2021). The tool was lauded for its ability to allow for social distancing and accelerating digital transformation in the accommodation industry, despite limited business opportunities due to the pandemic.
Kotozna, Inc. was also selected for ”J-startup”, a startup development program promoted by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in Japan aiming to create 20 unicorns by 2023, due to the company’s development of “Kotozna Chat”, a multilingual chat tool that allows for instant messaging while simultaneously translating text to desired languages.
■About Singapore Tourism Board
The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is the lead development agency for tourism, one of Singapore’s key economic sectors. Together with industry partners and the community, we shape a dynamic Singapore tourism landscape. We bring the Passion Made Possible brand to life by differentiating Singapore as a vibrant destination that inspires people to share and deepen their passions.
More: www.stb.gov.sg or www.visitsingapore.com
Follow us: facebook.com/STBsingapore or linkedin.com/company/singapore-tourism-board
■Travel / Tourism industry contact:
Kotozna, Inc. Marketing division,