The 1st UNWTO Tourism Startup Competition is a pioneering initiative that has identified emerging companies at the forefront of the transformation of the tourism sector and the promotion of innovation ecosystems through tourism. It is organized by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in partnership with Globalia, the leading tourism group in Spain and Latin America. The 10 finalists will present their projects within the framework of the Fitur International Tourism Fair (23-27 January 2019, Madrid, Spain) with the presence of global tourism leaders from the public and private sectors, as well as potential investors.
The competition sought innovative startups capable of transforming the way people travel and experience tourism, while adhering closely to the principles of sustainability (economic, social, and environmental).
“For the first time, we have positioned tourism in the global innovation agenda, a well-deserved place that reflects the weight and socio-economic impact of tourism,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili. “The key is to connect the public and private sectors collaboratively, thus creating opportunities to share ideas and projects,” he added.
Each project’s uniqueness, viability, potential impact, business model and scalability, along with the profile of the team, were the criteria for selecting the 10 finalists.
“We have jointly created this pioneering public-private collaborative model in tourism as a global tourism group and we are delighted to spearhead this action alongside the World Tourism Organization, working together to lead the transformation of the tourism sector and fostering the global innovation ecosystem and its entrepreneurs,” said Globalia CEO Javier Hidalgo.
The finalists are notable for proposing innovative projects that redefine the way people plan trips or live tourism experiences, while promoting sustainability and community participation. All this is combined with the application of technology to revolutionize business models and the management of companies in the sector.
Following the model applied on World Tourism Day, the winner will have the opportunity to carry out a pilot project with the Globalia Group and the finalists will have access to the leading actors in the world tourism sector.
An innovative competition
Globalia and the World Tourism Organization have entrusted this initiative to Barrabés.biz, an innovation consultancy with over 20 years of experience in creating, connecting and activating entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystems.
The technological platform chosen to manage the competition was YouNoodle, a pioneering Silicon Valley firm that specializes in innovation and entrepreneurship competitions at the global level.
Globalia is the number one tourism group in Ibero-America, with a turnover of over 3.689 billion euros in 2017. With a presence in more than 20 countries and 15,000 employees, Globalia provides services to all sectors of the world of tourism. It comprises a number of independent companies that are leaders in their markets, including Air Europa (airline), Halcón Viajes (travel agencies), Travelplan (tour operator), Be Live (hotel chain) and Groundforce (airport handling), among others.
Additional reporting by UN WTO