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.
2nd UNWTO Tourism Startup Competition (powered by Wakalua)
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.
1st UNWTO Gastronomy Tourism Startup Competition (powered by Basque Culinary Center)
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.
1st UNWTO Sports Tourism Startup Competition (powered by Barca Innovation Hub)
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.
1st UNWTO Tourism Startup Competition (powered by Wakalua)
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.