UNWTO Awake Tourism Challenge

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UNWTO Awake Tourism Challenge

A global call for entrepreneurs working to accelerate sustainability.

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Tourism is resilient. While it has been one of the most impacted sectors by global crisis, it has also demonstrated its potential as a major force of recovery.

Now, with an accelerated digital transformation and technology adoption throughout the tourism value chain, the sector stands out as a leader for responding to the toughest challenges.

At the same time, youth has proven its capacity to come up with technology, social impact, and sustainability solutions. However, they need concrete support to keep their energy and unleash all their projects’ benefits.

For this reason, UNWTO calls for a joint effort amongst stakeholders and launches the Awake Tourism Challenge seeking to find the most innovative startups that are working to advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

 

We are awake and ready to go, are you?

Apply Now!

 
UNWTO
SDG
SDGs

​Format

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Startups from all walks of life, from all over the world and all economic sectors are invited to participate if meeting the following criteria:

  • Be innovative in nature providing value-added solutions
  • Be sustainability-driven
  • Be scalable: to have potential for international growth and potential to be applied in corporations and destinations (countries, regions)
  • Be an Early Stage or Series A startup
  • Introduction or adoption of digital and technological elements
  • Have a tested pilot and business plan
  • Have been accelerated before
  • Have a full-time team including at least 2 members under 35 years. Gender balance will be also considered.

All ways of innovation are welcome: technology, social impact and sustainability solutions.

SDGs

UNWTO has identified 6 challenges that that will act as the categories for this programme. As there might be projects able to contribute to more than category, the one in which the positive impact is expected to be stronger should be selected.

  1. Local community involvement: 80% of all people living in ‘extreme poverty’ live in rural communities1 while domestic, rural and eco-tourism have emerged as the most popular travel choices. With a focus on communities, the sector has a great potential to stimulate local economies and improve the economic conditions of low-income and vulnerable populations.
  2. Green and blue economies: tourism can be a source of economic opportunities at the same time of protecting natural ecosystems by developing its operations with sustainable infrastructure through more efficient energy, water, and waste management systems.
  3. Ecological and Sustainable Capital Creation: sustainable capital has the potential to optimize resource usage, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and also provide a competitive market advantage for businesses. At this point, green investments and sustainable financial mechanisms can boost tourism potential to achieve the SDGs.
  4. Tourism Tech for Good: advancements in deep technology have revolutionized the sector, especially since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, by simultaneously improving customer experience and increasing quality of life and wellness for societies, including topics such as accessibility, inclusion, poverty alleviation. Artificial Intelligence, crypto, blockchain, metaverse, NFTs are welcomed in this category.
  5. Tourism Education: despite representing 10% of the world’s jobs2 before Covid-19, tourism has faced a challenge in terms of skills development. Indeed, almost 20%3 of the employed people in selected tourism industries in the European Union had less than primary and lower secondary education in 2018. Furthermore, currently there is no continuous measurement or updated data on skills development and its contribution to creating added value jobs, which are fundamental to advance in this agenda.
  6. Women Empowerment: while employing the largest number of women4 in most regions of the world, they yet tend to be concentrated in the lowest paid and lowest status jobs in the sector. Startups with a gender focus can be an important contributor to equality.

1 De La O Campos et alia, 2018 in World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). (2020). Recommendations on Tourism and Rural Development – A Guide to Making Tourism an Effective Tool for Rural Development.
2 World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). (2019). World Tourism Day 2019. Retrieved fromhttps://www.unwto.org/world-tourism-day-2019
3 Eurostat. (2019). Tourism creates jobs for women and young workers. Available at https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/products-eurostat-news/-/EDN-20190927-1
4 World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). (2019). Global Report on Women and Tourism – Second Edition. Retrieved from https://www.e-unwto.org/doi/book/10.18111/9789284420384

SDGs

Participating startups will be assessed according to their:

  • Contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals
  • Ease of value capture via collaboration with the startup
  • Potential business impact
  • Maturity of the product/technology
  • Maturity of the team and the organization
  • Partnership readiness
SDGs

Benefits for winning startups include but are not limited to:

  • Sponsorship provided by Wakalua to pitch at the UNWTO Demo Day (venue and country tbc);
  • Application through the YouNoodle platform, which facilitates introduction and growth opportunities for startups;
  • Access to 90+ Venture Capitalists, Top Corporations and 150+ Countries;
  • Become a Member of the UNWTO Innovation Network;
  • Curated mentorship and acceleration programme from our partners;
  • Membership at the Startup Campuses;
  • Potential pilot project with private sector collaborators and institutions;
  • Potential seed funding;
  • Incubation services in Les Roches Spark Innovation Center, including 3 months accommodation in Crans-Montana, provided by the Sommet Education group.
SDGs

Get ready for your application:

  1. Keep in mind the category you will apply for
  2. Read the Terms & Conditions of the Competition
  3. Read the questions in the Application form
  4. Make an attractive pitch deck in English (no more than 15 slides)
  5. List your web page, social media users and contact information
  6. Once you have all of them ready, fill out the Application form in English and submit it

Once you have all of them ready, fill out the Application form in English

SDGs

Timeline

 

Launch

21 April 2022

 

Deadline for candidatures

15 October 2022

 

Announcement of winning startups

January 2023

 

Pitching round for winners

Tbc 2023

SDGs
 

After the competition

Derrick Gakuu

Ifarm 360
Derrick Gakuu
Co-founder and CTO
Ifarm Agritech
Kenya

Winner of the category SDG 1 – Zero poverty

“We won the International FAO Innovation Award for Sustainable Food Systems 2021”.

Winner of the category SDG 5 – Gender equality

“I had the opportunity to launch my platform in the Spanish market. Now I am based in Madrid and I am working to keep my business growing”.

sisterwave
Jussara Pellicano
Founder and CEO
Sistwewave
Brazil

Jussara Pellicano
Robert Grajewski

enexor/
Robert Grajewski
Senior Vice President
Enexor BioEnergy
USA

Winner of the category SDG 7 - Affordable and clean energy

“We closed a Series A funding round of USD 10 million led by BorgWarner and Halliburton Co”.

Winner of the category SDG 10 – Reduced inequalities

“We have gotten worldwide interest for our product and we were selected to the Microsoft AI for Good Program”.

Travaxy
Lioz Amar
Founder and CEO
Travaxy
Israel

Lioz Amar
SDGs
 

Partners 2022

Sdgs

In collaboration with:

wakalua-logo

Main partners:

Spark
Les Roches

Airline Partner

Qatar Airways
qatar
Air Europa

Destination partner:

Singapore Tourism Board

Partners:

KPMG
Mastercard
IE
Telefonica
Wayra
Amadeus
Google for Startups
Clarkemodet
MentorDay
Finnova
Logo Startup Europe Awords
Future food Institute
Forca
BBVA
IDB
IDB Lab
The Valley
Nest - Tourism Innovation Center Portugal

UNWTO Tourism Ambassadors

UNWTO Tourism ambassadors

UNWTO’s Ambassadors for Sustainable Tourism are drawn from the worlds of sport, entertainment, business, gastronomy and more. All leaders in their respective fields, they volunteer their time and their voices to amplifying the message of tourism for sustainable development and equal opportunity. Over recent years, the number of Ambassadors has continued to grow to reflect the sector’s significance and diversity.

Sports
Didier Drogba

Didier Drogba

Football player 
Leo Messi
Vicente del Bosque

Vicente del Bosque

Football manager 
Diego Simeone

Diego Simeone

Football manager 
Fernando Hierro

Fernando Hierro

Football player 
Iniesta

Andrés Iniesta

Football player 
Iker Casillas

Iker Casillas

Football player 
Viacheslav Fetisov

Viacheslav Fetisov

Ice hockey player 
Michel Salgado

Míchel Salgado

Football player 
Gastronomy and Wine
Gino Sorbillo

Gino Sorbillo
 

Chef  
Juan Mari Arzak, Elena Arzak

Juan Mari Arzak, Elena Arzak

Chef  
Ana Roš

Ana Roš
 

Chef 
Pilar Rodriguez

Pilar Rodriguez
 

Chef 
Maria Margarita A. Fores

Maria Margarita A. Fores
 

Chef
Paco Roncero

Paco Roncero
 

Chef
Ramon Freixa

Ramon Freixa
 

 Chef
Javier Ruiz de Galarreta

Javier Ruiz de Galarreta
 

 CEO ARAEX Grands Spanish Fine Wines
Ana Ros © Photo Suzan Gabrijan
Juan Mari and Elena Arzak © Photo Sara Santos
Business Leaders
Kelly Craighead

Kelly Craighead

Businesswoman 
Pierfrancesco Vago

Pierfrancesco Vago

Businessman 
Yavuz Selim Yukselir

Yavuz Selim Yukselir

Businessman 
Aliko Dangote

Aliko Dangote

Businessman
Alejandro Bulgheroni

Alejandro Bulgheroni

Businessman
Dr. Michael Frenzel

Michael Frenzel

Businessman
Pansy HO

Pansy HO

Businesswoman
Nodar Giorgadze

Nodar Giorgadze

Businessman
Frank Ranieri

Frank Rainieri  

Businessman
Michael Frenzel © Photo Wirtschaftsforum der SPD e.V./ Marco Urban
Arts, Design & Culture
Giorgio Armani

Giorgio Armani

Fashion Designer  
Pino Sagliocco

Pino Sagliocco

Music promoter  
Placido Domingo

Placido Domingo

Opera singer
Dr. Zahi Hawass

Eliza Jean Reid

First Lady of Iceland
Eliza Jean Reid

Zahi Hawass

Egyptologist
Magic System

Magic System

Musical band

UNWTO 2021: A Year in Review

2021: Tourism United, Resilient and Determined

2021: Tourism United, Resilient and Determined

2021 has been a year of learning and adapting for tourism. It has proven that only by working together can the sector overcome challenges and embrace opportunities.

Gathering the global tourism community and developing concrete actions, UNWTO has led tourism’s response with the vision of not only restarting, but doing so in a more inclusive, innovative and sustainable way.

Jan


January - March

As global tourism faced up to a second year of unprecedented crisis, UNWTO began 2021 by counting the cost so far. At the same time, however, the emergence of vaccines brought hope. The Global Tourism Crisis Committee met to explore what this meant for safe travel and the restart of tourism, while the announcement of the winners of the UNWTO Global Start-up Competition recognized the role culture and creativity will play in tourism’s restart and recovery.  

Feb


April - June

Collaboration and innovation were the focusat the start of the second quarter. UNWTO partnered with IATA on a new Destination Tracker to give both tourists and destinations clear, impartial and trusted advice. And a new Start-up Competition was launched to find the best ideas for accelerating rural development through tourism. In May, the launch of the Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO generated significant interest from Members in every global region. 

Mar 2021


July - September

As destinations in Europe welcomed tourists back for the peak summer season, UNWTO highlighted the role of digital solutions for the safe restart of the sector. But UNWTO also looked ahead, to a more sustainable future, working with key partners to reduce plastic waste and consumption across every part of the sector. Together, we celebrated World Tourism Day around the theme of Tourism for Inclusive Growth, a message of solidarity and determination that was echoed on a global scale.

April 2021


October - December

The final quarter of 2021 began with cautious optimism as UNWTO’s Barometer showed signs of improvement in tourist arrival numbers during the summer season in the northern hemisphere. A new partnership with Netflix will bring the message of tourism as a driver of opportunity to a massive global audience, while in November, UNWTO was tourism’s voice at COP26 and signatories to the landmark Glasgow Declaration keep growing. Finally, against the backdrop of the UNWTO General Assembly, the programme of work for the coming biennium was approved and 77% of Members voted to secure a second mandate for the Secretary-General from 2022-2025.

Growing and Moving Forward

UNWTO brings together political leaders from across the globe to deliver a strong, coordinated response. Governments, destinations, fellow UN agencies and international organizations met at key international events joining efforts to rethink tourism. Institutional coordination has proven crucial to find the solutions that build a smarter, greener and safer tourism.

Leaving Nobody Behind

The pledge to ‘leave nobody behind’ means nobody should miss out: Not now as we support the sector in the face of crisis, and not in the future as tourism starts again. Tourism is a proven driver of equality and opportunity. And that’s why we turn words into actions, delivering guidelines and action plans, to ensure everyone can enjoy the opportunities tourism brings.

A Shared Vision

Advancing the transformation of the tourism sector, partnerships are the only way forward. In 2021, UNWTO signed agreements with international organizations and the private sector to step our vision for the future of tourism: innovation, education, sustainability, green investment, rural development.

From business as usual to Covid-19

UNWTO 2021

Looking to the future

24th UNWTO General Assembly

24th UNWTO General Assembly | Contact

30 November - 3 December 2021, Madrid - Spain

UNWTO coordinators

Ms. Zhanna Yakovleva

Chief of Cabinet
Office of the Secretary-General

 cose@unwto.org  +34 91 567 8100

Ms. Yolanda Sansegundo

Conference Services Specialist
Conference Services

 ysansegundo@unwto.org  assembly@unwto.org  +34 91 567 8188

Host-country coordinators

Mr. Javier Fernández González

Deputy Director General of Cooperation and Tourism Competitiveness
State Secretariat for Tourism

 asambleaOMTmadrid@mincotur.es  +34 91 732 6456

Ms. Teresa Gancedo Nieto

Chief, International Relations Area
State Secretariat for Tourism

 mtgancedo@mincotur.es  asambleaOMTmadrid@mincotur.es  +34 91 732 6503
24th session of the UNWTO General Assembly

24th session of the UNWTO General Assembly | About Madrid

30 November - 3 December 2021, Madrid - Spain

Climate: In November and December, the average temperature in Madrid can range between 10ºC during the day and 3ºC at night. Winters in Madrid are cold and dry. However, completely clear days are very typical, so it is possible to enjoy sunny weather at midday.

Official language: Spanish

Madrid local time (winter): GMT +1

Local currency and exchange rates: The official currency of Spain is the euro (EUR). The applicable exchange rate in November 2021 is approximately USD 1.16 to EUR 1. Banks are open from Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Throughout Madrid there are foreign exchange offices that are clearly indicated. There is also a currency exchange service at hotels. The city has numerous ATMs, and shops accept major credit cards.

Electricity: The electric current in Madrid is 220 volts, 50 Hz AC. Outlets take round pins. In any case, most hotels have adapters for special plugs. Participants should ensure that their electrical devices (computers, mobile phone chargers, razors, etc.) work with this voltage or, if not, use transformers and batteries that allow different voltages.

Credit cards, shopping and tipping

There are ATMs throughout the city, and in the vast majority of establishments it will be possible to pay for goods and services with a credit card (in the metro you can pay with a card, but not in the urban bus network).

Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted types of card, while American Express and Diners are less commonly accepted. Information regarding possible commissions for using credit cards in Spain should be consulted with the issuing bank, because transaction fees will depend on the entity managing the corresponding bank account.

Almost all establishments accept card payments, although some require a minimum charge (between 5 and 10 euros). Also, before getting into a taxi when not carrying cash, the driver should be asked if the taxi is equipped with a card payment terminal. There are different applications such as Free Now through which it is possible to request a taxi and pay with a card using it.

The concept of tipping in Madrid is directly related to customer satisfaction regarding the treatment received. Tipping continues to be considered in its original meaning as being “voluntary” and at the discretion of the consumer, at least among the national clientele, and the personnel of the service sector are well aware that nothing is taken for granted.

In some restaurants it is customary to charge an additional 2 to 3 euros for serving bread or a small appetizer - which the establishment is obliged to disclose, and can be rejected if not desired - but, in general, what the customer decides is respected when it comes to expressing appreciation for the friendliness and quality of the service in the final bill.

This custom extends to other tourism services in which there is some type of personal treatment, such as hotels, taxis, beauty salons or hairdressers.

It should be noted that all establishments include the price of the service, but in hotels and restaurants it is common to see “VAT not included” on the menu. This means that a 10% surcharge will be added to the price of what was consumed.

Health regulations and precautions: It is not necessary to be vaccinated against any disease in order to travel to Spain.

COVID-19 situation:

See updated information at: https://cnecovid.isciii.es/covid19/

If you need a PCR test for your return flight, ask at the reception of the Convention Center of the Madrid Marriott Auditorium hotel. They will inform you about the location of the mobile laboratory and its opening hours during the days of the Assembly.

Medical services: Madrid has a good network of health centres (primary care services) and hospitals.

Reference hospital:
Hospital Universitario La Paz
P.º de la Castellana, 261, 28046 Madrid
Emergency services: 24 hours
Tel.: +34 917 27 70 00

Reference hospital near the Hotel Madrid Marriott Auditorium (Event venue):
Hospital del Henares
Av. De Marie Curie, 0, 28822 Coslada, Madrid
Emergency services: 24 hours
Tel.: +34 911 91 20 00

Useful telephone numbers:

Emergency: 112
Police: 091 or 112
Ambulance: 112
Fire: 112

Callers can request to speak in English, German, French or Spanish.

In the event of any emergency during the days of the General Assembly, you can also contact the UNWTO Security Officer: Mr. Antonio García. Tel.: +34 699976040.

Local transport rates:

The fare for the taxi ride between the airport and the city ranges between 20 and 30 euros. The price of a single local bus ticket ranges from €1.50 to €2 and tickets for 10 trips can be purchased for €12.20.

Tourism information

In Spain
Tourism information for Spain

In Madrid
Tourism in the Community of Madrid
Tourism in the city of Madrid

UNWTO 24 General Assembly
24th session of the UNWTO General Assembly

24th UNWTO General Assembly | Procedure for proxies

30 November - 3 December 2021, Madrid - Spain

In light of the currently evolving situation of the COVID-19 pandemic and the related worldwide restrictions of gatherings, the access to the venue of the session is limited to the Head of Delegation plus 2 persons.

If a Full Member is unable to participate in the General Assembly, it can be exceptionally represented by a member of another State’s delegation, provided it submits a formal letter or fax signed by the competent authority designating the individual who will represent it and, if applicable, giving him/her the power to vote on its behalf. Please note that, unless the items for which the power to vote is given are clearly specified, it will be understood that the delegate has full powers to cast a vote on behalf of the government he/she is representing by proxy on any agenda item.
Furthermore, it should be noted that the General Assembly, at its twentieth session, adopted resolution 633(XX), which stipulates the following regarding mandates for representation:

  • A mandate for representation can be given only in exceptional circumstances, duly explained in writing by the State giving the mandate;
  • The Credentials Committee will assess the validity of these explanations;
  • Only one mandate for representation may be given to a delegate representing another State;
  • A mandate for representation may not be given to the Head of Delegation of another State; and
  • The mandate for representation is valid for the whole session of the General Assembly.

The General Assembly, at its twenty-first session in Medellín, Colombia, in 2015 (resolution 649(XXI)) decided the following:

  • The Credentials Committee will consider as invalid credentials in breach of the principle of secrecy of the vote;
  • Once the Report of the Credentials Committee is issued, no further credentials or proxy letters will be considered by the Committee except:
    • When the Committee itself has invited the Full or Associate Member concerned to regularize its credentials or its proxy; and
    • When a State whose credentials have been accepted by the Committee does not have a representative for the remaining part of the session for reasons duly explained in writing by the State giving the mandate; in such case, the Committee will assess the existence of the exceptional circumstances justifying the proxy;
  • The Chairs of the Regional Commissions will verify that the credentials and proxy letters comply with the applicable rules.
Model proxy letter
UNWTO 24 General Assembly
24th session of the UNWTO General Assembly

24th UNWTO General Assembly | Submission of credentials and identification papers

30 November - 3 December 2021, Madrid - Spain

In light of the currently evolving situation of the COVID-19 pandemic and the related worldwide restrictions of gatherings, the access to the venue of the session is limited to the Head of Delegation plus 2 persons.

The names of the delegates of Full Members and Associate Members, of the observers of Affiliate Members and of the invited representatives of the United Nations and other international organizations, both intergovernmental and non-governmental, shall be communicated to the Secretary-General, if possible, at least fifteen days before the session of the Assembly opens. (Rule 12(1) of the Rules of Procedure of the General Assembly).

The credentials of the delegates of Full Members and Associate Members, issued by the competent authority of the State, shall be handed to the Secretary-General, if possible, at least one day before the session of the Assembly opens. (Rule 12(2) of the Rules of Procedure of the General Assembly).

It should be pointed out that, ever since the tenth session of the Assembly, only formal letters or faxes bearing the signature of the competent authority are considered valid credentials. Please note that since the twelfth session of the General Assembly, only credentials from Heads of State or Prime Ministers, Ministers of Foreign Affairs or Ministers responsible for tourism of the respective State or his/her equivalent are regarded as valid. Further, credentials can be accepted only if written in any of the working languages of the General Assembly or if an appropriate translation is attached. Please refer to the model credential letter (Annex 1).

Identification papers of the observers of Affiliate Members and invited representatives of intergovernmental and non-governmental international organizations to attend as observers shall be handed to the Secretary-General, if possible, at least one day before the session of the Assembly opens. (Rule 12(3) of the Rules of Procedure of the General Assembly)

Model credentials letter
To facilitate the work of the Credentials Committee, delegations are kindly requested to submit a scanned copy of their credentials at least fifteen days in advance by e-mail to Ms. Shirin El Tayan (Protocol Officer) at seltayan@unwto.org, and to submit the original upon their arrival in Madrid prior to collecting their identification badges.

Seating arrangements

Delegations will be seated in the plenary meetings in English alphabetical order, beginning with the Member that is hosting the session of the General Assembly.

UNWTO 24 General Assembly
24th session of the UNWTO General Assembly

24th UNWTO General Assembly | Online Registration

30 November - 3 December 2021, Madrid - Spain

In light of the currently evolving situation of the COVID-19 pandemic and the related worldwide restrictions of gatherings, the access to the venue of the session is limited to the Head of Delegation plus 2 persons.

Registration for the Assembly session will be carried out online until Monday, 22 November 2021. The participation form is available here.

The online registration platform will be collecting all necessary information regarding the participation in the conference, airport pick-up, visa information and technical visits.

Accreditation badges are issued to specific individuals and are not transferable. Participants should keep their badge and ID with them at all times during their stay in Madrid. The badge is the only document confirming a participant’s General Assembly accreditation that can be used to gain access to the venues of the different events.

Participants can collect their accreditation badges at the registration desk located in the Hotel Marriott Auditorium (venue of the event). The registration desk will be open starting Monday, 29 November.

UNWTO 24 General Assembly