Visitors travelling to the region for the 2022 FIFA World Cup will have the option to personalise their itineraries through ViaVii – a Jordan-based online venture that promises travellers a more meaningful cultural experience hosted and curated by citizens and residents of Qatar.
ViaVii, an online platform accessible through viavii.com, will soon be available as a mobile application for download through Apple and Google App stores. It is a hyper-personalised platform where sightseers can explore and book genuine in-destination travel experiences that are adjustable on-the-move, and can connect with residents of Qatar at any time.
The start-up received a seed investment from the Tech Venture Fund (TVF) that is managed by Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP), part of Qatar Foundation Research, Development and Innovation (QF RDI), and is aimed at specifically supporting innovative local start-ups and attracting international start-ups to the region.
With the 2022 FIFA World Cup scheduled to take place in Qatar in just 18 months, the deployment of TVF capital into a company that could help millions of visitors to Qatar next year, likely a large percentage for the very first time, is a utilitarian addition to the local ecosystem of this global sporting extravaganza, while also contributing to the diversification of the Qatari economy.
ViaVii, currently in the process of setting up an office in the QSTP Free Zone, received TVF backing after winning the Challenge 22 competition, which was focused on enabling technologies and innovation for the upcoming FIFA World Cup tournament.
“Landing an opportunity to serve hundreds of thousands of regional locals and fans making their way to Qatar to attend the first World Cup hosted in the region was something we simply could not pass up,” said ViaVii founder and CEO Rola Fayyad.
“With travellers now seeking a more meaningful way to experience a trip, predefined and fixed itineraries that travel agents offer are no longer needed. Travellers look for an empathetic platform, with personalised user experience and authentic content designed and hosted by amazing locals, ultimately making travel more purposeful. ViaVii provides just that,” she said.
Looking at the bigger picture and the significance of QSTP in the company’s progress, Fayyad said finding the right funding “is not an easy process.”
“During our journey, we always sought partners and not just a cheque. During my years fundraising, QSTP was the only investor, out of several, that focused on the team, rather than just a product, which is the reason start-ups succeed – the team behind them.
“This made us more confident and happier knowing that they really believe in who we are and our vision – and this mindset is not common in our region. I would say we are excited for what the future holds for all of us, especially serving FIFA Qatar 2022,” Fayyad said.
Among its many features, ViaVii will provide opportunities for visitors to experience cooking traditional Qatari food, enjoy the local arts scene, hear captivating stories of tradition and heritage, spend the night in the desert, and partake in heritage walking tours.
ViaVii will launch another key feature for their online platform this summer – a digital itinerary planner for the World Cup tournament. Integrated into several websites in Qatar, including that of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, it will ensure that the focus of all travel-related entities in Qatar is to offer fans a personalised authentic experience.