UNWTO, Globalia unfold first worldwide competition for tourism startups

The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has partnered Globalia on a new initiative that is aimed at providing funding for small scale and startup businesses in tourism that are innovative based and transformational in nature. Globalia is the leading tourism group in Spain and Latin America. This world’s first and largest initiative is devoted to identifying new companies that will lead the transformation of the tourism sector. In order to find the best projects, the call for competitors will be launched in 164 countries.

The objective of the programme is to select the best solutions and the most disruptive projects. The search will focus on finding pioneering proposals for implementation of emerging and disruptive technologies, as well as on startups based on new business models, such as the circular economy. In this regard, one of the pillars of this competition is to give visibility to projects that are committed to enhancing sustainability in tourism. For this, UNWTO and Globalia have enlisted the innovation consultancy firm Barrabés. biz, which boasts more than 20 years’ experience in the creation, connection and activation of entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystems.

To broaden the scope of the competition and facilitate the registration of interested startups, the programme will be implemented through the digital platform YouNoodle, a leading Silicon Valley company in the startup evaluation space at the global level. “Innovation and tourism investment are not ends in themselves; they are means to develop better tourism products, to improve the governance of tourism and to make the most of the proven sustainability of tourism, by creating jobs and generating opportunities,” said UNWTO Secretary General, Zurab Pololikashvili. On his part, Globalia Chief Executive Officer, Javier Hidalgo, confirmed his company’s support for this new initiative emphasising that “as a global tourism group, we want to offer the winners the opportunity to work with us and transform the sector together.”

To be eligible to participate in this global competition, startups must present business models that are related to at least one of four main areas: The future of travel; The tourism experience; Environmental impact; and Community development. The projects will be evaluated according to five criteria: uniqueness and viability of the solution, potential impact, business model, scalability and team profile.

A jury will evaluate the entries and select the best projects as semifinalists will be announced in September 2018 while the winners of this competition will have the opportunity to be part of the leading companies in the tourism sector. Interested participates are to log unto:www.unwto. org. Applications are already opened and will close on September 3. The World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and IE Business School have signed a pact to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in the tourism sector, with emphasis on the role of academia within tourism innovation. IE Business School, Spain is one of the world’s leading executive education centres. UNWTO has invited IE Business School to provide its support in the framework of UNWTO´s new strategy on innovation and digital transformation.

The school is expected to give the global tourism body strategic support to execute projects, expand and disseminate knowledge about innovation and entrepreneurship in tourism. “We are delighted to be able to count on the reputation and international experience of IE Business School going forward”, said UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili on the new partnership. “With their academics, experts, international networks and extensive teaching and research experience, they will be actively participating in our specialized forums, as well as in the development of knowledge in the framework of innovation and entrepreneurship in tourism,” he added.