ITB Berlin: Recognising social entrepreneurship in tourism

Published on : Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Making way for creative concepts: this year, together with leading partners, ITB Berlin is again sponsoring and overseeing the international Social Entrepreneurship Competition in Tourism. In addition to Hochschule für nachhaltige Entwicklung Eberswalde (HNEE) and Travel Massive, the TUI Care Foundation, UNWTO and Social Innovation Academy (SINA) from Uganda are now involved for the first time. The competition is the only one of its kind to specifically focus on innovation and social entrepreneurship in tourism worldwide.

Its aim is to strengthen the role of socially oriented entrepreneurs, to encourage greater networking around the world and to provide important support for all those promoting sustainability and social justice in tourism. The challenges they face are massive, particularly in these times of the coronavirus pandemic. The aim of the competition is to make a decisive contribution to rebuilding the industry while developing strategies for local solutions for tomorrow’s tourism. Entrepreneurs still have until 30 April 2021 to submit their applications.

“The competition encourages entrepreneurs to develop products and services that promote inclusion, sustainability and social justice in tourism. Following the success of the 2019 and 2020 competitions we are delighted to have secured two new partners in SINA and the TUI Care Foundation“, said Prof. Dr. Claudia Brözel, who originally launched the competition and lectures at Hochschule für nachhaltige Entwicklung Eberswalde (HNEE).

“After Covid the travel industry will be sure to have radically changed“, said Dr. Martin Buck, senior vice president, Travel & Logistics, Messe Berlin. “That is a great opportunity to make lasting changes in the tourism industry. With this competition we want to give smaller companies a chance to make a noticeable impact and help shape tomorrow’s world of travel with sustainable and local solutions.“

Since its debut in 2019 applications have been received from more than 50 countries around the world. Winners have included the WeView platform and Frutas y Verduras, a fresh produce campaign from Mexico. In 2020, Get Up and Go Colombia won the competition with a programme that supports populations living in areas under armed conflict with tourism projects. The jury also honoured Change Through Traveling, an initiative from Brazil.

In terms of content the competition is based on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. The main focus is on Quality Education, Gender Equality, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure. With 2030 in mind, the spotlight is especially on strategies for promoting sustainable tourism and creating jobs while taking local cultures and products into account.

The awards include prizes and money and are presented in the categories Launch Track, for ideas that have yet to be implemented, and Growth Track, for already existing companies that are still on course for growth. The jury is made up of representatives from ITB Berlin, Travel Massive, HNEE, the TUI Care Foundation, UNWTO and the Social Innovation Academy (SINA). In 2021 their focus is above all on ideas and concepts for local solutions during the coronavirus pandemic. The final selection will take place in September, when the winners will receive their prizes at a virtual awards ceremony.

ITB Berlin has a long tradition of supporting sustainable tourism. Thus, the World’s Leading Travel Trade Show is a long-standing supporter of socially responsible tourism, which includes environmental protection and campaigning for the rights of women, children and the LGBT+ community. More information on ITB Berlin’s CSR activities can be found here: Your contact is Rika Jean-Francois, CSR commissioner for ITB Berlin.

A strong network of partners and sponsors

In 2021 the competition is being sponsored by the following partners: the
TUI Care Foundation , UNWTO Hochschule für nachhaltige Entwicklung Eberswalde , ITB Berlin the Social Innovation Academy (SINA) and Travel Massive.

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