Innovation, Investments and Digital Transformation

Innovation, Investments and Digital Transformation

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 and Digital Transformation.

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 two main lines of action and six strategic projects, as follows:


  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. 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.

  3. 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.
  4. Digital Network Platform: a digital platform of leading corporations, start-ups, investors and Academia.
  5. Tourism Innovation Leaders Programme: a community of innovative, enterprising, socially minded leaders working for the sustainable development of tourism. As world class leaders, they will guide and inspire all the actors of the ecosystem by sharing knowledge and providing mentorship.
  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

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.

Global UNWTO Tourism Startup Competitions

UNWTO Tourism Tech Adventures

UNWTO Tourism Online Academy

UNWTO Innovation Hubs Network

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