• More than 3000 projects from 132 countries were presented
• It constitutes an initial mapping of entrepreneurial and pioneering talent on disruptive innovation for sustainable tourism businesses
• The 20 semi-finalists will present their projects at the official celebration of World Tourism Day to potential investors and partners
Madrid, Spain, 13 September 2018 – The first edition of the UNWTO Tourism Startup Competition, organized by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in partnership with Globalia, the leading tourism group in Spain and Latin America, is the world’s first and largest initiative devoted to identifying new companies that will lead the transformation of the tourism sector and fostering innovation ecosystems through tourism. The semi-finalists have been invited to present their projects in the framework of the official celebration of World Tourism Day in the presence of global leaders in the sector (27 September 27, Budapest, Hungary). The finalist projects will be presented at the next edition of the International Tourism Fair of Madrid (Fitur), in January 2019.
The competition was focused on the search for innovative startups capable of transforming the way people travel and experience tourism, while adhering closely to the principles of sustainability (economic, social, environmental). The projects addressed areas such as the future of travel (33%), the tourism experience (32%), community development (29%) and environmental impact (6%).
“Today, innovation is one of the main drivers of sustainability, and tourism must continue to be at the vanguard as one of the leading sectors in new business models and relationships between people, and also as a steadfast and successful ally in promoting sustainable development throughout the world,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili.
Each solution’s uniqueness, viability, potential impact, business model and scalability, along with the profile of the team, were the criteria for selecting the 20 semi-finalists.
“The large number of companies that have presented their innovative proposals and projects reflects a true revolution in the way we travel and enjoy tourism,” said Globalia CEO Javier Hidalgo. “As a global tourism group, we are delighted to lead and spearhead this initiative together with the World Tourism Organization and we want to work together to lead the transformation of the tourism sector and become a benchmark.”
This group is notable for embodying entrepreneurial talent that offers pioneering proposals in the implementation of emerging and disruptive technologies that generate new sustainable business models.
Therefore, among the semi-finalists we find innovative projects that redefine the how trips are planned and how tourism is experienced, projects that promote sustainability and community involvement, as well as projects that use technology to revolutionize business models and the management of companies in the sector.
Those selected for the next stages will gain access to the leading actors in world tourism,
providing visibility and networking opportunities, as well as opening up financing and business development possibilities.