Reto de Innovación en Proyectos Verdes



Reto de Innovación en Proyectos Verdes

Transforming the Tourism Sector in Latin America and the Caribbean


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UN Tourism
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UN Tourism and the Development Bank of Latin America and the Caribbean (CAF) join forces in a momentous initiative to enhance the transformative impact of tourism, with a central focus on Green Projects. Our objective is to revitalize the industry by promoting innovation with a significant impact on sustainable infrastructure, reducing emissions and waste, but also in the social sphere, promoting rural and community tourism and generating new tourist experiences, all catalyzed by green projects in the sector.

In a dynamic world tourism scenario, we face a world where travelers' expectations are rapidly evolving, tourism is calling for innovation to create tourist experiences that are not only memorable but also transform the way the world is explored. In this changing context, entrepreneurs and tourism companies must seek to exceed travelers' expectations by applying new ideas and technologies.

Revealing the Challenge:

The relevance of this Challenge is highlighted by recognizing tourism as an essential driving force in the global economy and, more specifically, in the UN Tourism Region of the Americas, including Latin America and the Caribbean. During the period from January to July 2023, arrivals to the Americas reached 87% of 2019 levels, evidencing the resilience of the region1. Additionally, it is worth noting that for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) trends in the tourism sector in Latin America, according to the most recent report by UN Tourism in collaboration with fDi Intelligence of the Financial Times, between 2018 and 2022, 340 FDI projects in tourism were announced in the region, with a capital investment that amounts to USD 27.9 billion2 .

In this sense, innovation is relevant in the tourism sector to contribute to the transformation of the economy of rural communities and thus, in the same way, contribute to the reduction of emissions caused by the change in land use.

This Challenge seeks to support startups, enterprises, tourism companies, new entrepreneurs that promote through innovative projects, ensure the conservation and regeneration of the ecosystems and biodiversity of Latin America and the Caribbean to redefine how tourism can generate a positive impact, also having in mind that today tourists favor these offers when making their decisions about the destinations to visit.

The Challenge aims to strengthen the role of tourism in addressing local problems and to commit to greater ventures based on economic, social, and environmental sustainability.

Green Projects:
This challenge is focused on startups, new entrepreneurs, and tourism companies that lead green project initiatives. Innovative projects are expected to contribute to sustainability and regeneration in all its pillars.

Specific working areas:

  • Innovation that generates environmentally responsible and low-carbon tourism: Innovative solutions that contribute to the significant reduction of environmental impact and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions through waste management, energy efficiency, renewable energy generation; and initiatives that promote the design and development of tourist infrastructure in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner, through technology and innovation, among others.

  • Innovation that generates tourism resilient to Climate Change: Projects that address social protection and the impact of climate change in the tourism sector, seeking equitable and resilient solutions.

  • Innovation conservation of protected areas through tourism: Projects that in some way contribute to the conservation of National Natural Parks, Biosphere Reserves, World Geoparks, Ramsar Sites, and areas designated for the conservation of migratory species of wild animals.

  • Innovation for the regeneration of ecosystems and their biodiversity in tourist destinations: Projects that in some way contribute to the restoration of ecosystems through the tourist experience.

January 24, 2024
Fitur 2024 until April 30, 2024
Deadline submissions:
April 30, 2024
April 30 until May 30, 2024
Announcement finalists
May 31, 2024
Final Pitch
Selected finalists will have the unique opportunity to present their revolutionary ideas at the UN Tourism and Tech Adventures (venue and date to be confirmed).

The objective of the contest is to especially attract the attention of startups, entrepreneurs, tourism agencies, and operators with a presence in Latin America and the Caribbean that are focused on social and environmental impact.

Entrepreneurs, startups, tourism companies, and organizations that meet the following requirements can apply:

  • They have an innovative/disruptive nature and offer sustainable and value-added solutions for the tourism sector;
  • Leveraging new technologies and innovative solutions, especially in the context of the blue and green economies;
  • Have the ability to offer positive impact indicators in the context of the blue and green economies;
  • Have potential for growth, scalability, and application in the region;
  • Have a minimum viable product or project that is ready to be developed and funded;
  • Have a structured business plan;
  • Have a market study that justifies the business plan.

  • Opportunity to present your solution at the UN Tourism Tech Adventures: Green Projects
  • USD 10,000 investment offered by CAF for the winner
  • Mentoring and support from UN Tourism and top-level partners
  • Personalized support for the company
  • Scholarship opportunities for the UN Tourism Online Academy
  • Be a member of the UN Tourism Innovation Network through which they will have continuous support and opportunities to participate in UN Tourism projects and events

About Innovation at UN Tourism:

UN Tourism 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 anticipate, address and overcome the new challenges and trends of the tourism sector, in 2018 UN Tourism developed a framework for Innovation, Education, Digital Transformation and Investments.

The IEI Department already launched 23 global, regional, and specific challenges, and 21 Tourism Tech Adventures (Innovation Forums) in 14 countries were held, with an additional 8 online editions. Total funding of 214 + USD million has been gathered for the UN Tourism Top Startups


Acerca de la CAF:

La CAF es el banco de desarrollo comprometido con mejorar la calidad de vida de todos los latinoamericanos y caribeños. Sus acciones promueven el desarrollo sostenible y la integración regional. Apuntan a convertirse en el Banco verde y azul, y el de la reactivación económica y social de la región.

Ofrecen asesoramiento y apoyo financiero a los sectores público y privado de sus países accionistas. Además, generan conocimiento para fortalecer las políticas públicas en América Latina y el Caribe y mejorar la calidad y el impacto de los proyectos que impulsan.

Related links:

Previous UN Tourism startup competitions
Términos y Condiciones