Immersion India Wins Global Competition to Advance Sustainable Tourism


Immersion India, a Bengaluru-based startup that organizes experiential and study-focused learning programs in urban and rural India, was chosen as one of the 25 winners of the Global Startup Competition. ‘OMD SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). The competition was launched to identify innovators whose ideas can advance tourism’s contributions to sustainable development goals.

The World Tourism Organization (WTO) is the United Nations agency responsible for promoting responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism. Immersion India was chosen as the winner in the ODS 4 category to ensure quality education and promote lifelong opportunities. Immersion India is the only Indian startup among the 25 winners.

Founded by Anand Joseph and Vineeth Thomas, Immersion India was born out of the need to foster and promote India as a comprehensive learning laboratory. Since its inception in June 2017, the startup has enabled academics, students and corporate executives to experience rural and urban India.

Facilitating these experiences in a safe, reliable and conducive learning environment is what drives Immersion India. To adapt to the new normality, Immersion India has organized various virtual learning programs designed to introduce students to the numerous learning resources and opportunities that India offers. Immersion India’s virtual programs offer a range of India-specific topics and case studies, designed to simulate a real-time learning experience.

The WTO’s initial global competition on the SDGs, which was supported by the United Nations Innovation Network, attracted 10,000 initial proposals. Among them, the jury chose 25 winners who highlighted the range of tourism talent from all regions of the world and their broad capacity to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The selected finalists were judged according to criteria that included the potential of startups to contribute to a specific goal, their ability to expand, and the maturity of both the product and the team behind it. The 25 winning startups, selected by a jury made up of leaders from across the tourism sector, offer differentiated solutions to advance the SDGs.

Commenting on the recognition, Anand Joseph, founder and partner of Immersion India, said: “We are delighted to be recognized for promoting sustainable immersive learning experiences in India for the global learning community. We started Immersion India to create experiential learning and unique travel experiences that go beyond textbooks and classroom sessions. Our goal was to give students and professionals the opportunity to learn first-hand what can be learned in a culturally diverse developing nation like India. This victory reinforces our commitment to creating high-impact experiences that combine learning and travel. ”

Winning startups will receive support and expert support to further develop, including guided mentoring programs from Amadeus, Google, IE University and FarCo, and tailored mentoring sessions from Mastercard and ClarkeModet.