UNWTO announced the launch of 1st UNWTO Sports Tourism Start-up Competition

 Monday, June 17, 2019

To transform sports tourism in the near future the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in collaboration with Barça Innovation Hub (BIHUB) and with the support of Qatar National Tourism Council (QNTC) has announced the launch of the 1st UNWTO Sports Tourism Start-up Competition.


Sports tourism has the greatest potential for socioeconomic development opportunities due to the increasing demand from tourists and the growing influence of sports on destinations’ popularity.


It is expected that there will be disruptive ideas coming alive through the competition that will solve ideas focused on solving real needs and addressing knowledge gaps in the growing sports tourism sector.



A a panel of international experts and sports and tourism stakeholders will be shortlisting 20 start –ups that will be drawn from the public and private sectors, academia and civil society.


On the competition’s website the shortlisted start-ups will be announced and the panel will the pick the five semi-finalists who will be invited to Barcelona to pitch ideas to sports experts, government representatives, tourism business leaders and international investors.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili as he opened the competition said that he was pleased to be partnering with the Barça Innovation Hub to harness the potential of sports tourism to stimulate creativity, innovation and sustainable growth. Through this competition, start-ups with disruptive visions can propose new ideas that will allow the sports tourism sector to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals.




He thanked BIHUB for their vision and collaboration and, as they move towards the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.The winning ideas will also be considered for implementation in Qatar as a part of partnership which is gearing up to host the FIFA World Cup 2022.



His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, Secretary General of QNTC, commented that at QNTC they believe sporting events have a unique power to bring people of the world together, and that is also why sports tourism is a key focus area in our tourism vision.
He was looking forward to see the innovative ideas that will come through the inaugural Sports Tourism Start-Up Competition and hope that one of them will come to life in Qatar.



Marta Plana, Director of BIHUB was very pleased to work together with UNWTO to develop tourism in relation to the sports industry, a growing sector, and identify companies with the talents to help achieve this.

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