Winners of global tourism start-up competition announced

 Saturday, February 20, 2021 

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Tourism start-ups from across the world have been recognised for their unique contributions to sustainable and responsible tourism in the UNWTO SDGs Global Start-up Competition.


The competition, which was supported by the United Nations Innovation Network, attracted some 10,000 initial proposals. From these, the jury chose 25 winners from 18 countries, highlighting the array of tourism talent in every global region and its widespread ability to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Shortlisted finalists were judged according to criteria which included the potential of the start-ups to contribute to a specific Goal, their ability to be scaled-up and the maturity of both the product and the team behind it.


The 25 winning start-ups, selected by a jury made up of leaders from across the tourism sector, offer distinct solutions for advancing the SDGs. The Americas led the way in submitting winning proposals, with nine of the competition winners coming from the region. Europe provided eight winners, Asia and the Pacific six, and Africa and the Middle East one winner each.


“The winners show the power of new ideas for transforming our sector,” said UNWTO Secretary-General ZurabPololikashvili in recognising tourism’s potential to contribute to all Sustainable Development Goals. He added: “By embracing innovation, we can realise this potential and build a better future for people and planet through tourism. I congratulate them all and look forward to seeing these start-ups grow and deliver positive change.”


Globalia is a key ally of UNWTO in its shift to lead the positive transformation of the sector, working together to identify and promote innovation through several competitions over recent years.


The winning start-ups will now be given expert support and backing to develop further, including through guided mentorship programmes from Amadeus, Google, IE University and FarCo, and tailored mentorship sessions from Mastercard and ClarkeModet.


The winners will also be invited to take part in a pitching event, to be hosted by Wakalua within the framework of Spain’s International Tourism Fair (FITUR). Another pitching event will take place at the Tourism Tech Adventures Forum, due to be held in Qatar in collaboration with Qatar Airways and Qatar National Tourism Council, another partner for the project.

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