INNOVATION PROGRAMME

UNWTO Startup Competition

UNWTO Tourism Startup Competitions

The Startup Competitions are our flagship innovation programme.

They seek for the most disruptive projects that are changing the way people travel and how the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are reached all over the world. They provide an exceptional platform for great ideas to continue scaling up through gathering the entire global tourism ecosystem: Member States, startups, institutions, education centers, corporations and investors. This support is translated into mentoring, exposure to the sector and investments form our network.

There are two types of competitions: the generic ones, which solutions are widely spread through the tourism value chain, and the thematic ones, focused on a specific tourism product.

3rd Global Gastronomy Tourism Startup Competition

The UNWTO in collaboration with the Basque Culinary Center is launching the 3rd Global Competition for Gastronomy Tourism Startups.  We are looking for startups which utilize new technologies, promote sustainability, and positively impact local communities.

In addition to mentorship, investment, and educational opportunities provided to the winners, this competition provides an international platform to showcase your innovative gastronomy tourism startup. The top entrepreneur will have the chance present at the 7th UNWTO Gastronomy Tourism Forum, utilize the LABe-Digital Gastronomy Lab facilities, and more!

Apply by February 28, 2022 and propel your startup to the forefront of the international gastronomy tourism sector.

More information here!

UNWTO Global Rural Tourism Startup Competition

UNWTO Global Rural Tourism Startup Competition

The COVID-19 pandemic altered the way in which travelers want to experience the world. Tourists are looking for sustainable, safe, convenient, and flexible travel options. Domestic, rural and eco tourism have emerged as the most popular travel choices. As rural tourism expands, it is crucial that tourism benefits both tourists and the local communities. The rising demand for rural tourism experiences coupled with an increased importance placed on local community engagement has provided an opportunity for the economic, social and environmental revitalization of rural areas.

The UNWTO Global Rural Tourism Startup Competition challenges entrepreneurs to contribute both to the post-pandemic recovery and rural development. Winners will receive mentoring and support from the UNWTO and our partners as well as investment, scholarship, and networking opportunities. Finally, the winning startups will have the chance to present at the 24th UNWTO General Assembly in Marrakech Morocco.

Help us build more resilient rural communities through the UNWTO Global Rural Tourism Startup Competition! The final pitches will be presented in October, and winners will be announced in November of 2021.

More information here!

UNWTO SDGs Global Startup CompetitionUNWTO SDGs Global Startup Competition
(closed)

The largest innovation competition to accelerate the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Startups from all walks of life, from all over the world and all economic sectors are invited to participate.


More information here!

2nd UNWTO Gastronomy Tourism Startup Competition (powered by Basque Culinary Center)
(closed)

gastronomytourismventuresGastronomy tourism continues to be a top election for both national and international travelers. It is no more a trend but a robust tourism product. For this reason, UNWTO and BCC launched once again the 2nd UNWTO Gastronomy Tourism Startup Competition.

We encourage you to apply and help us accelerate tourism worldwide:

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1st UNWTO Rural Tourism Startup Competition
(closed)

In the wake of the year of Tourism and Rural Development, the UNWTO encourage Spanish entrepreneurs to come up with solutions for rural development challenges through tourism. The most impactful and innovative solutions will be awarded, as it is a top priority to make our world more sustainable.

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2019 competitions

2nd UNWTO Tourism Startup Competition (powered by Wakalua)
(closed)

The 2nd UNWTO Tourism Startup Competition gathered over 1700 applications from 150 countries, reaching 12 more nationalities than the previous edition. The format was based on 6 categories, such as: smart mobility, rural development, disruptive hospitality, smart destinations, deep tech applied to geolocalization, and innovative tourism solutions. Each of them was supported by a corporate partner who was actively involved in the selection process. Thus far, entrepreneurs have evolved towards more scalable business models, greater focus on the Sustainable Development Goals and disruptive solutions based on state-of-the-art technologies, highlighting the use of Cloud Front Backend Systems, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and Internet-of-Things. The Final was held in Madrid on 20 January 2020 and presented the winners of each vertical and the most exciting tourism insights from international experts.

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1st UNWTO Gastronomy Tourism Startup Competition (powered by Basque Culinary Center)
(closed)

This competition was designed to track the most innovative startups in gastronomy tourism, which merges the best of travelling with the intangible heritage of the destinations. It gathered over 300 submissions from 80 countries with finalists representing Italy, Spain, Israel, the Czech Republic and Japan. These finalists presented their proposals in San Sebastián, Spain on 3 May 2019 within the framework of the 5th UNWTO World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism.

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1st UNWTO Sports Tourism Startup Competition (powered by Barca Innovation Hub)
(closed)

This competition received over 100 initiatives from over 50 countries. Participants came up with solutions ranging from new technologies, community-based tourism development platforms, software initiatives and innovation-driven sports tech projects. Finalists made their pitches in the Tourism Tech Adventures: SportsTech Macau on 13 October, 2019.

 

2018 competitions

1st UNWTO Tourism Startup Competition (powered by Wakalua)
(closed)

This first edition was launched in the framework of World Tourism Day 2018 and gathered over 3,000 applications representing 133 countries. Its Final was held on the International Tourism Fair 2019 (Fitur) and its winning start-up was the Israeli-based Refundit, which got a funding of 25 € millions from Amadeus Ventures.