UNWTO, Globalia launch worldwide competition for tourism startups

UNWTO and Globalia have joined hands to launch a worldwide competition across 164 countries, in an attempt to find startups with innovative ideas capable of revolutionising travel and tourism.

To qualify for the inaugural edition of the UNWTO Tourism Startup Competition, the startups need not be tech-based or early-stage, the partners stressed.

Identifying startups that use innovative ways to improve tourism products and enhance sustainability

According to a joint statement from UNWTO and Globalia, the objective of the programme is to select the best solutions and the most disruptive projects. One area of focus is pioneering proposals for the implementation of emerging and disruptive technologies.

The search will also focus on finding startups that are based on new business models, such as the circular economy. In this regard, one of the pillars of this competition is to give visibility to projects that are committed to enhancing sustainability in tourism.

“Innovation and tourism investment are not ends in themselves; they are means to develop better tourism products, to improve the governance of tourism and to make the most of the proven sustainability of tourism, by creating jobs and generating opportunities,” said UNWTO secretary-general Zurab Pololikashvili.

To participate in this competition, startups must present business models that are related to at least one of four main areas: the future of travel, the tourism experience, environmental impact and community development.

To identify the best projects, UNWTO and Globalia have enlisted innovation consultancy firm Barrabés.biz. The programme will be implemented through the digital platform YouNoodle, a Silicon Valley company in the startup evaluation space at the global level.

Those interested in participating may submit their applications through the programme’s website at www.tourismstartups.org. Applications are open from June 26 to September 3. The projects will be evaluated according to five criteria: uniqueness and viability of the solution, potential impact, business model, scalability and team profile. A jury will evaluate the entries and select the best projects as semi-finalists to be announced in September 2018.

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