UNWTO Tourism Tech Adventures: Canarias 2023

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UNWTO STARTUP COMPETITION FOR ISLAND DESTINATIONS

 

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INFECAR
 

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), and the Institución Ferial de Canarias (INFECAR), are joining forces in this startup competition to source the most sustainable, innovative and disruptive business models to provide answers and smart solutions to the complex challenges island destinations are facing with especially after the aftermath of the pandemic.

Tourism is livelihoods of islands. It has become the main economic activity for many islands around the world, creating much needed job opportunities and bringing in important income and foreign exchange earnings. Their special geographical situation and their immense natural and cultural richness makes islands unique for visitors, but at the same time, confronts them with a number of challenges and vulnerabilities exacerbated also by the devasting effects and impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, investing in sustainable tourism in islands is the only path to ensure that the sector continues to advance socio-economic welfare while protecting their fragile ecosystems.

This competition will source entrepreneurs and stakeholders from across the globe that can offer innovative and smart solutions for island destinations in a more sustainable way. The call will identify and support those that contribute to the post-pandemic recovery and resilience of the tourism ecosystem of island destinations through the development of innovative and smart tourism solutions and products.

Selected Finalists will be invited to pitch their solutions In Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain on 16 March 2023.  The Canary Islands are characterised by rich cultural and natural heritage, unique biodiversity (40% of the region is a protected area) fantastic climate all-year-around, traditional cuisine and vibrant cities, which make the islands a touristic hotspot and a leading tourism destination receiving millions of tourists every year.

Category 1: Deep Tech: New technologies applied to sustainability: We live in an increasingly connected and interdependent world with digital advances transforming how we inform ourselves, transforming our behaviour, and encouraging innovation. Technology helps us to manage our social, cultural and environmental impacts better. Moreover, if well managed, tourism can act as an agent of positive change for more sustainable lifestyles, destinations, and consumption and production patterns. The unprecedented disruption of the sector caused by the COVID-19 pandemic requires that new technologies, digital tools and capacities are developed to accelerate the sustainability shift. Sustainability must no longer be a niche part of tourism but must be the new norm for every part of our sector and this is especially relevant for island destinations. Island destinations need to transform tourism that emerging from COVID-19 by embracing and supporting the development of new technologies and digital tools for their very specific needs. We are looking for innovative startups who could assist island destinations to achieve and accelerate this shift, by using and developing new technologies and digital tools applied to sustainability within a specific island context.

Category 2: Innovation & Digitalization for Island Destinations: Rebuilding tourism is an opportunity for transformation with a focus on leveraging its impact on island destinations and building more resilient communities and businesses through innovation, digitalization, sustainability, and partnerships. We are looking for startups developing smart solutions that harnessing innovation and digital technologies that provide tourism with opportunities to strengthen resilience, improve inclusiveness, local community empowerment and efficient resource management, amongst other objectives within the wider sustainable development agenda and specifically designed for island destinations.

MAYO 27 LANZAMIENTO
12 January 2023
Launch of the competition
MAYO 27 – JULIO 31 CANDIDATURAS 27 February 2023
Deadline of the applications

3 March 2023
Announcement of finalists
AGOSTO PRESENTACIÓN PITCHES UNWTO
15 March 2023
Acceleration and Mentorships by experts in the field
CONTINUO IMPACTO
16 March
Tourism Tech Adventures Canarias Pitch of the finalists

The purpose of the competition is to capture particularly the attention of startups and entrepreneurs from across the tourism value chain to facilitate the offering of innovative and smart solutions related the complex challenges the tourism sector of island destinations are facing with.
Startups are invited to participate if meeting the following criteria

  • Are innovative/disruptive in nature and provide value-added and sustainable solutions for the tourism sector of island destinations
  • Harnessing the impact of new technologies especially within the context of blue and green economies,
  • Offer alternative and complementary business models to harness the economic impact of tourism in island destinations,
  • Be scalable: to have potential for international growth and potential to be applied in island destinations,
  • Be an Early Stage or Series A startups
  • Have a minimum viable product or an idea that is ready to be developed and funded,
  • Have a tested pilot and business plan
  • Have a full-time team
  • Emphasize the promotion of digitalization, innovation in environmental preservation and impact on local communities,
  • All ways of innovation are welcome: new methods, processes, governance models, social impact initiatives, and technologies.

More information and the Terms of Reference.

  • Opportunity to Pitch your solution at the UNWTO Tourism Tech Adventures in Gran Canaria, Spain on 15-16 March 2023
  • Mentorships by UNWTO and top partners
  • Tailored support for your startup
  • Become a member of the UNWTO Innovation Network
  • Scholarship opportunities for the Tourism Online Academy
 

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 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.

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 UNWTO Top Startups

 

About INFECAR:

The Trade Fair Institution of the Canary Islands (INFECAR) is a meeting point for economic and promotion activities.
INFECAR is located in the city centre of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and it is extremely well-connected with the rest of the island. It also offers its clients a unique track record of experience as leaders in event organisation in the Canary Islands.

It is an active member of the Spanish Association of Trade Fairs (AFE), the Spanish Association of Conference Centres (APCE), the Gran Canaria Convention Bureau, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI), and the International Association of American Trade Fairs (AFIDA).

This emblematic venue offers pavilions, a conference centre with multi-purpose rooms, two large parking areas and landscaped gardens.

This combination of infrastructure and services enables professionals from all walks of life and parts of the world to make the most of this exceptional event venue for the organisation of trade fairs, conferences, work meetings or exhibitions in Las Palmas. Gran Canaria is a permanent bridge between Europe, America and Africa and has a consolidated reputation in the field of event organisation, thanks to its unbeatable climate, infrastructures and hotels, as well as the wide range of economic, social and cultural possibilities on offer.

Related links

Previous UNWTO startup competitions
INFECAR

UNWTO 2022:
A Year in Review

UNWTO 2022
 

2022 has been the year to rethink tourism.
Countries around the world turned UNWTO’s vision for a greener, smarter and more inclusive sector into real action.

  • Sustainable development2020 showed the relevance of tourism for sustainable development.
  • 2021 laid the foundations for the transformation of the sector.
  • In 2022, we made it happen.
Jun22

2022 began on a positive note. Data from UNWTO showed that tourism was cautiously taking off, and that it needed to be rethought. The UN amplified UNWTO’s global advocacy for tourism’s role in recovery. UNWTO partnered with sister agencies like WHO for example, around joint warnings that “Blanket Travel Restrictions Don’t Work".

Feb 22

Advancing common UN goals, UNWTO and WHO called for the lifting of travel bans and agreed to collaborate on a global trust architecture for the recovery of travel. While leaders committed to join UNWTO to build a social and environmentally sustainable tourism, February ended with UNWTO leading the voice of tourism for peace and solidarity in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Mar 2022

UNWTO data continued to reflect the promising start of tourism in 2022. This month, UNWTO released New Guidelines Put Women’s Empowerment at Heart of Tourism’s Restart, and announced the launch of the second edition of Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO to promote rural development through tourism.

Abr 22

Meeting for the first ever extraordinary UNWTO General Assembly against the backdrop of the Russian invasion in Ukraine, UNWTO Members voted to suspend Russia from Membership. Reinforcing the Global Goals, UNWTO launched the “Awake Tourism Challenge” for startups. The Glasgow Declaration kept growing since its launch at COP26 and surpassed 500 signatories to take climate action through tourism.

May 22

A landmark moment: UNWTO and tourism reached the top of the UN agenda: the first ever UN General Assembly High-Level Debate on Sustainable Tourism in New York, fueling immediate actions and reverberating during the rest of the year. Other May highlights include upgrading SMEs with the Digital Futures programme, and strengthening consumers’ rights with more countries adhering to the International Code for the Protection of Tourists.

Jun 2022

Facing up to uncertainty, tourism kept on growing, as reported by the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. This set the backdrop for the 116 UNWTO Executive Council (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia). UNWTO successfully advocated for tourism action at the UN Ocean Conference (Lisbon, Portugal), ahead of the biggest event on tourism and youth.

Jul 2022

Youth empowerment is a UNWTO priority. The first Global Youth Tourism Summit gathered young people from 57 countries to be part of tourism’s decisions, as reflected in the Sorrento Call to Action. That same month, the UN Secretary-General's  Progress report on SDGs drew on UNWTO’s statistical work to track tourism’s role in driving growth.

Aug 2022

International tourism continued reporting positive, recording 250 million international arrivals during the first five months of 2022. This set the backdrop ahead of World Tourism Day 2022 and its theme Rethinking Tourism.

Sep 2022

27 September, World Tourism Day emphasized the sector’s unique potential to drive recovery and deliver positive change for people everywhere. This followed the G20 Tourism Working Group meeting in Bali, where UNWTO presented the G20 Bali Guidelines for SMEs. Looking at the progress since the start of the year, tourism was back to 60% of pre-pandemic levels.

A busy month also saw UNWTO advancing tourism and rural development at the 6th Wine Conference on Wine Tourism (Alba, Italy), and promoting education in tourism with the launch of the first national competition of UNWTO Students’ League in Switzerland.

Oct 2022

Sustainability and the green transformation of tourism took centre stage in October as the UNWTO International Network of Tourism Observatories (INSTO) welcomed more members, and Ministers agreed to advance circularity and climate action in Pan European tourism.

Nov 2022

Tourism was transformed at the UNWTO Ministers’ Summit, the most successful edition to date with delegates joining UNWTO’s vision to rethink tourism. UNWTO made the case for tourism in COP27, where it represented over 700 signatories of the Glasgow Declaration advancing a NetZero sector. This was followed by new data showing arrivals reached 63% of pre-pandemic levels during January-September 2022. This set the framework for the 117 UNWTO Executive Council (Marrakesh, Morocco).

DEC 2022

Rural development, inclusivity and sustainability led conversations at the 7th World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism. Winners of Best Tourism Villages and Students League wrapped up 2022 with their solutions to boost rural development through tourism. In 2023 we look forward, making the shift from rethinking to transforming the sector around key priorities: jobs and training, education and youth development, and sustainability and innovation. With UNWTO as tourism's voice at the global level, including at the UN General Assembly, the sector has never been more relevant - nor more needed.

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Intermediate

Intermediate

Cybersecurity Essentials

Cybersecurity Essentials

Develop a foundational understanding of cybersecurity and how it relates to information and network security. Learn from cybersecurity professionals what a typical day in a cybersecurity career might look like and discover how unprecedented threats are driving demand for more cybersecurity jobs.

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Introduction to Cybersecurity Basic

Introduction to Cybersecurity Basic

You’ll learn cybersecurity basics to protect your personal digital life and gain insights into the biggest security challenges companies, governments, and educational institutions face today. Cybersecurity professionals who can protect and defend an organization’s network are in high demand.

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Introduction to Cybersecurity Intermediate

Introduction to Cybersecurity Intermediate

It explores cyber trends, threats—along with the broader topic of cybersecurity in a way that will matter to you. In this course, you’ll learn how to protect your personal privacy online while gaining additional insight on the challenges companies, and governmental and educational institutions face today.

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Entrepreneurship- Launching Pad

Entrepreneurship - Launching Pad

The Launching Pad provides you tools to become a successful entrepreneur. This course is made for you to jump-starting your ideas, and to arm you with the right skills to take the next step with more self-confidence. No prerequisites required.

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Intermediate

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Digital Paths for SMEs

The digital paths were curated based on impact assessments of adoption of digital and disruptive technologies in SMEs during the COVID-19 crisis, market trends, and different reports from UNWTO, and other organizations that identified digital fluency, skills shortages, and needs across different tourism subsectors. These digital paths offer top practical tools provided by top tech companies. The content and tools are structured in 5 dimensions which allows SMEs to identify their main needs and tailor a digital path determined by a Digital Readiness Tool and accelerate their digital transformation.

UNWTO Startup Competition

Apply

 

UNWTO Startup Competition:
National Tourism Startup Competition:
Invest in the development of Moroccan Tourism supported by SMIT

We encourage Startups and Entrepreneurs from Morocco to present their ideas to innovate the Moroccan tourism sector for future generations and transform the sector into a digital one that is more sustainable, inclusive, and resilient.

Boost innovation! I want to invest in the Future of Moroccan Tourism!

 

 

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), and the Moroccan Agency of Tourism Development Société Marocaine d’Ingénierie Touristique (SMIT), are joining forces in this national startup competition to source the most innovative and disruptive business models adapted to the tourism needs of future generations.

Morocco offers the ideal balance of dynamic landscapes, colorful architecture, and vibrant cities. These cities and regions increasingly need to generate new experiences for their inhabitants and for the tourists they receive annually while preserving their natural and cultural heritage.

This competition will source entrepreneurs that can offer new experiences and solutions for tourists in a more sustainable way. The call will identify and support those that contribute to the recovery and future of the tourism sector through the development of innovative tourism products. 

In 2019, Morocco received 12,9 million international tourist arrivals, accounting for half of the tourist arrivals in North Africa, and a total of 8,2 million dollars in international tourism receipts, with 25 million overnight stays. The Moroccan tourism sector is a very important source of jobs which counted for 565.000 jobs in 2019, counting for 7% of the GDP.

Morocco received 3,7 million international arrivals in 2021, more than 34% compared to 2020. So far, in the first six months of 2022, Morocco has received 4 times (+200%) as many international tourists as in the same six months of 2021, but 27% below the same months of 2019. In the month of June 2022, arrivals in Morocco were only 2,5% below 2019 levels, meaning they almost reached pre-pandemic values. These figures reflect a rapid recovery in Morocco’s inbound tourism.

By promoting connections among the actors that form part of the tourism entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem, the UNWTO aims to generate employment and business opportunities to recover Moroccan tourism.

To start your application, the startup must select one of the following categories:

Category 1: Innovation in blue economies – Life below water

Morocco is one of the world's top destinations for water sports (surfing and kitesurfing), capitalizing on the mythical spots of the Atlantic corridor. The offered experiences revolve around the discovery of water sports pleasures and are mainly declined in aquatic activities, such as surfing, kitesurfing, windsurfing, and relaxation activities such as yoga retreats by the sea.

In this category, we are looking for solutions that contribute to the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of the ocean ecosystem.

Category 2: Innovation in natural heritage - Life on Land
Sub-category: Nature, trekking & hiking
Sub-category: Desert & Oasis Adventure

Morocco’s dynamic landscape offers mountains, oasis/palm groves, lakes, valleys, and natural parks, anchored in a transversal approach of sustainable tourism (e.g. sports and cultural activities, local population immersion, and ecolodges). The experiences related to this theme revolve around trekking/slowtrek, nature and discovery of wide-open spaces, exclusive stays/experiences in the heart of nature, new outdoor activities, mindfullness and yoga retreats.

In addition, Morocco offers authentic desert getaways, alongside the links of the value chain (guides/agencies, tours, non-glamping trendy accommodations, animation, etc.) to improve and enhance the experiences of road trips, rallies or trekking. The related experiences are mainly road-trips (including rallies & marathons), homestays in the desert, creating unforgettable and magical experiences in the desert.

Category 3: Innovation in cultural heritage - Preservation through cultural innovation

Morocco has a diverse and rich cultural heritage, with strengthened medinas, Berber earthen houses, kasbahs, but also a very rich gastronomy and a wonderful craft industry. We are looking for startups that can discover the potential of unexploited tourism products through the rehabilitation and the revaluation of material heritage (medinas, ksours and kasbahs) and new activities.

Category 4: Sustainable Urban Futures instead of Innovation in urban tourism

To consolidate and complete the city-break offer with animation, festivity, culture, and outdoor activities of the Kingdom's main urban tourism destinations, we are looking for startups that present sustainable and SMART features that can assure Moroccan cities are accessible, resourceful and diverse.

MAYO 27 LANZAMIENTO
25 November 2022
Launch in the Thematic Session of the UNWTO Executive Council
MAYO 27 – JULIO 31 CANDIDATURAS March 2023
Deadline of the applications.

March 2023
Selection and announcement of the preselected candidates
AGOSTO PRESENTACIÓN PITCHES UNWTO
April - June 2023 (tbc)
(2 days before the final event) Acceleration and Mentorships by experts in the field
CONTINUO IMPACTO
April - June 2023 (tbc)
Tourism Tech Adventures Morocco Pitch of the finalists Round tables and Thematic Sessions
AGOSTO PRESENTACIÓN PITCHES UNWTO
2023-2024
Impact:
Personalized support for winning startups

The purpose of the competition is to capture the attention of a large number of startups, tour operators, and entrepreneurs from the Kingdom of Morocco from across the tourism value chain to facilitate the selection of those that are most relevant to the challenge we are addressing.

The business must offer an innovative solution that is legally based in Morocco.

In addition, the competition will require the following requirements to participate:

The projects must be aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations and preferably also allow for an introduction or adaptation of digital and technological elements, and focused on one (or several) of the following areas:

  • Be innovative/disruptive in nature providing value-added solutions;
  • Harnessing the impact of new technologies;
  • Alternative and complementary business models to harness the economic impact of tourism in destination(s);
  • Smart and innovative solutions for sustainable experiences;
  • Entrepreneur/promoter team: Suitability of the promoter team, motivation, and interest;
  • Startup in Seed Stage or Early Stage (have a minimum viable product or an idea that is ready to be developed and funded);
  • Emphasize the promotion of gender equity (and female empowerment), digitalization, environmental preservation, local communities, and youth leadership;

More information and the Terms of Reference.

  • Invitation of the winners to pitch at the UNWTO Tourism Tech Adventures Morocco (March – TBC);
  • Mentorship and pitch training by UNWTO and Partners;
  • Access to 90+ Venture Capitalists, Top Corporations, and 150+ Countries;
  • Become a Member of the UNWTO Innovation Network;
  • Scholarship opportunities for the Tourism Online Academy;
  • Access to acceleration programmes (TBC)
 

Ecosystem collaborators

Plug and play
Le circle de L'innovation
HWS
EBF
 

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 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.

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 UNWTO Top Startups

 

About the Société Marocaine d’Ingénierie Touristique (SMIT):

The Moroccan Agency for Tourism Development – SMIT is a government institution created in 2008 by the Moroccan government in order to implement the development strategy of the tourism product in Morocco. In order to make the Moroccan tourism product more attractive, SMIT provids support and assistance to investors and local communities through a range of actions and incentives. Capitalizing on its extensive knowledge of the Moroccan market and on its knowledge of the needs of development of each region, SMIT offers qualitative, tailored solutions to the development of natural and cultural assets, to promote the development of a unique product that stands out from the international offer.
Through the identification of the right concept for each destination, SMIT aims to shape the Moroccan tourism landscape, while extending the socio-economic advantages to each component of the industry's value chain and ensuring equity between territories.

Related links

Previous UNWTO startup competitions
SMIT

HUMAN STORIES
 

HUMAN STORIES

SDGs

Human stories reflecting the benefits of tourism travelling beyond tourism

Sustainable

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Women

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Youth

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Rural development

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Innovation

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Education

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Share your story

HUMAN STORIES SDGs Human stories reflecting the benefits of tourism travelling beyond tourism Sustainable Women Youth Rural development Innovation Education Innovation Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.