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Pacific NorthWest Economic Region Launches “Congregate: A Solutions Accelerator”

Sep 21, 2021 | News, Tourism

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Pacific NorthWest Economic Region (PNWER) is now soliciting interest from the innovation economy of the Northwest to support the acceleration and scaling solutions that help safely re-open tourism, performing arts, travel, and hospitality by participating in “Congregate: A Solutions Accelerator.”

The challenges facing the tourism industry as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic remain a continued threat to the future recovery and resilience of the tourism sector. Congregate will focus on four of these challenges: Immunity verification, Hybrid events, Contactless/Remote Commerce, and Workforce.

The Congregate Accelerator is uniquely focused on bringing bringing healthcare industry experts together with tourism industry stakeholders most affected by the pandemic and with innovative companies looking to solve these problems. The Congregate Accelerator will be organized around the industry challenges that were deliberated and established by convening a listening tour of the tourism industry. Those challenges are:

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  • Workforce – The tourism sector is experiencing a massive labor shortage particularly in rural and nature destinations which are seeing heightened demand. They seek solutions that address their workforce needs, from solutions leveraging the gig economy for surge needs, to training solutions, to marketplaces. Stakeholders are looking for creative solutions to address the current crisis and position for the future.


  • Immunity verification – Pacific Northwest tourism destinations seek solutions that enable them the option of creating and enforcing “Vaccinated Visitor Sections” or otherwise verify immunization status in an opt-in manner.


  • Hybrid events – Museum and performance venues seek solutions that enable remote visitors to connect with on-site attractions and on-site visitors to interact with remote presenters and exhibitors.


  • Contactless and remote commerce – Large venues seek solutions for contactless pre-event and in-event commerce such as ticketing or concessions and application interoperation solutions that enable visitors to reduce the need for face-to-face interaction with vendors.

Companies with unique skills and products that can help roll out solutions to any of the challenges are welcome. Participation in the Congregate Accelerator does not require an exchange of equity and offers a multitude of opportunities to participating companies, including mentorship from experts in the regulation and healthcare industries, as well as partnership opportunities with Northwest companies like Amazon and Microsoft.

Speaking on what the Congregate Accelerator can bring to Alaska, Lt. Governor Kevin Meyer said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has had its effect on Alaska’s tourism industry. The lack of cruise ships in 2020 and the reduced 2021 season have hurt businesses across the State. I think the darkest days are behind us and brighter days are ahead. This is an opportunity to help find solutions for the future of tourism in Alaska.”

The Congregate Accelerator will find and incubate potential solutions, pilot these solutions with affected industries, and scale solutions globally to reopen and bring jobs to the US economy by bringing the expertise of healthcare regulators directly to the innovators. PNWER is excited to have partners from Amazon, Microsoft, Washington Technology Industry Association, Alaska Travel Industry Association, Future Border Coalition, and innovation broker Moonbeam Exchange join this project with expertise and resources that will support the Congregate Accelerator.

More information about the Congregate Accelerator Program, the challenges, partner companies, and how to get involved can be found at www.congregate.resiliencefoundry.org.

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Welcome to the 2024 Best of Alaska Business special section! For the ninth time we invited our readers to tell us which Alaska businesses they love the most, this year in forty-four categories. Throughout the month of March, you told us who should be featured in these pages, and we're thrilled to be able to publish the results.
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