Innovation, Education and Investments

Innovation, Education and Investments

In order to anticipate, address and overcome the new challenges and trends of the Tourism sector, the World Tourism Organization is currently focusing on a strategy on Innovation, Education, Digital Transformation and investments.

Harnessing innovation and digital advances provides tourism with opportunities to improve inclusiveness, local community empowerment and efficient resource management, amongst other objectives within the wider sustainable development agenda

In general terms, with this strategy, UNWTO aims to drive the digitalization of tourism and to create an Innovation and Entrepreneurship Ecosystem that will maximize the potential of the sector in terms of economic growth, job creation and sustainable development.

Action Plan

In order to achieve the above-mentioned objectives, UNWTO will focus on 3 main lines of action alongside strategic projects, as below:


  1. UNWTO Innovation Network: As part of the Innovation, Digital Transformation and Investments Department´s mission of fostering synergies among key stakeholders and promoting the exchange of knowledge among actors and change-makers with the objective of contributing to the promotion of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, we aim to make innovation a key pillar of the sustainable development of tourism.

  2. UNWTO Tourism Startup Competitions

  3. UNWTO Innovation Challenges

  4. The UNWTO Innovation Hubs Network: will unify the leading innovation hubs worldwide into one Network dedicated to connecting and scaling up the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems of UNWTO Member States by bringing together the leading tourism stakeholders, including governments, academia, corporations, SMEs and start-ups, investors (business and super business angels, venture capital, etc.) and supporting business partners (accelerators, incubators, etc.) in order to boost innovation and entrepreneurship. This Network would facilitate collaboration, inspiration and capacity building on how to scale and go global. Member States will actively be involved by launching innovation challenges.

  5. UNWTO Tourism Tech Adventures: the first innovation forum dedicated to tourism that brings together all the actors of the ecosystem to boost innovation, entrepreneurship and especially, investment in Tourism. The Tourism Tech Adventures will include activities such as startup bootcamps, one-on-one networking sessions between startups, corporations and investors, hackathons and startup competitions. Furthermore, seminars on relevant topics will be provided for Tourism Ministers. These events can be adapted to global, regional, local and even vertical levels, like sport tourism.
  6. Innovation Trends and Guidelines: will help UNWTO Member States to develop strategic and innovative tourism products by providing understanding of current social trends and customer needs.

UN Innovation Network

Education & Digital Transformation

Smart Destinations and capacity building: a focus on improving the sustainability, accessibility, governance and quality of destinations through the use of new technologies and innovations.

 UNWTO Tourism Online Academy

 Bachelor of Science in International Sustainable Tourism

 Tourism Education Guidelines

 UNWTO Toolkit for the Incorporation of Tourism as a Subject in High Schools

 AHLEI Curriculum: Hospitality and Tourism Management

 Cambridge Curriculum: Supporting the Education of Travel and Tourism


  1. UNWTO Investment Guidelines Series: The multi-dimensional nature of the tourism sector, combined with the dynamics of the source of investment capital presents a complex picture for understanding and measuring tourism investments. At the same time, changing consumer behaviors and expectations, the advantage of technology, and the urgent need for greater sustainability challenge the current business models, and present new opportunities for investors interested in the tourism sector.
  2. Global FDI Greenfield Investment Trends in Tourism: For the third year in a row, the UNWTO has partnered with the fDi intelligence from the Financial Times to develop a joint publication on Tourism Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) analyzing data on Greenfield investments trends.
  3. Green Investments for Sustainable Tourism: In order to continue with the collaboration between UNWTO and IFC. It was decided to launch pilot phase in the following countries: India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Philippines, South Africa, Thailand, and Vietnam, with the view of expanding to several other countries in the next phase.
  4. UNWTO Investment Fora & Events

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