Neom: Tourism Experiences of the Future

Neom: Tourism Experiences of the Future

Participate in making tomorrow’s tourism a reality today – by entering your project

Meet the Finalists

Jazan, Neighborhood of the Moon

Jazan, Neighborhood of the Moon employs artificial reality (AR) technology to experience Saudi Arabia in an innovative and authentic way. Through AR storytelling and extensive resource mapping, tourists have the opportunity to explore new and unique aspects of the Jazan region through a local lens.


Kharitah is the only full suite solutions startup which is revolutionizing smart tourism in the MENA region. Their solutions-based approach creates a smart tourism loop from the tourist to the decision maker.


iOcean aims to establish the first commercial marine IoT infrastructure and platforms in the Red Sea and the Arabian Gulf. Marine IoT infrastructure will gather and provide the visual and numerical information in the tourism, diving, and entertainment areas which will be employed to better inform decision making.


NEARMOTION welcomes, guides and rewards NEOM visitors on their smartphones. In order to create an extraordinary visitor experience, NEARMOTION’s SaaS platform digitally maps indoor and outdoor attractions, defining points of interest and routes between them in addition to managing location based engagement.
Twitter | Instagram | Linkedin


Maktoura creates eco friendly and minimalistic getaways for tourists in Saudi Arabia. Their state of the art smart tiny homes are powered by solar and wind energy and contain sustainable waste solutions.

About NEOM:

NEOM is the world’s most ambitious project, an entirely new land purpose-built for a new way of living. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has established a special authority to oversee NEOM chaired by His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman.  The project is backed by more than $500 billion over the coming years, managed by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia. 

NEOM will have the world’s first independent international zone, with a regulatory framework that will adopt world-class investment laws to support residents and targeted economic sectors and will operate under an autonomous judicial system subject to independent regulations and legislation, which investors will draft in accordance with international best practice. 

Work on NEOM has already started, and construction will commence once the research and planning phase is finalized.  The bulk of the construction will be completed within the next 7-10 years. 

NEOM will be packed with numerous opportunities:

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26,500 Km

Total area in North-Western Saudi-Arabia.

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Approximately of the world's trade flows through the Red Sea.

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8 Hours

Will enable 70% of the world's population to reach it NEOM.

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Cooler - on average - than its surrounding areas and the rest of the GCC.

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Greenfield site.

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Billion by 2030 - Projected total GDP (P.A.).

Open challenge for innovative ideas to help improve the future tourism experiences in NEOM, the land of innovation.

The projects will be selected based on the following criteria: innovation, viability, sustainability.

The projects must be aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations and should include the introduction or adaptation of digital and technological elements, as well as being focused on one (or several) of the following areas:

  • Optimizing and maximizing the potential of experiential tourism
  • Harnessing the impact of new technology
  • Alternative business models
  • Innovative experiences

1. The challenge:

Developed jointly between the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and NEOM for Start-ups, Tour operators and entrepreneurs – we aim to identify and support those that contribute to local tourism development and support the economic recovery of the sector through the development of innovative tourism products. 

This challenge will source ideas with disruptive business models adapted to the tourism needs of the future, meeting the demands for new experiences.  

Experiences that are developed in a regenerative way and that are in constant state of innovation, in order to improve the experience of the traveler and the host community while creating innovative narratives and solutions to respond to the needs of citizens.

2. Calendar:

Lanzamiento del Reto

26 September 2021
Launch of the Challenge

Fecha límite de postulación

2 November 2021
Deadline for applications


04 November 2021
Announcement of the pre-selected start-ups

Anuncio de proyectos ganadores

12 November 2021
Final pitches of 5 winning teams and announcement of winners in NEOM

3. Requirements:

  • Must be a Saudi Citizen living in Saudi Arabia or abroad
  • Innovative/disruptive nature identified

In addition, other requirements will be evaluated such as market, sector and potential.

 Terms and conditions – Tourism Experiences of the Future

4. Benefits for winners

  • Mentoring by UNWTO and top partners.
  • Tailored support for your start-up.
  • Be a part of the UNWTO Innovation Network.
  • Scholarship opportunities for the Tourism Online Academy.
  • Opportunity to present your start-up at The Tourism Experiences of the Future in NEOM, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in October of 2021.
  • Piloting of your project by NEOM.
  • Financial compensation for the winners. Semifinalists prizes are $2,000 for each winner and the winner will receive $10,000 overall prize.

About Innovation at UNWTO:

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) believes that innovation is the key to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. To drive the digitalization of tourism, create an Innovation and Entrepreneurship Ecosystem that will maximize the potential of the sector in terms of economic growth, job creation, and sustainable development, and to anticipate, address and overcome the new challenges and trends of the tourism sector, in 2018 UNWTO developed a framework for Innovation, Education, Digital Transformation and Investments.

In addition, other requirements will be evaluated such as market, sector and potential.

 Terms and conditions – Tourism Experiences of the Future