UNWTO Tourism Startup finalists announced
Finalists for the 1st UNWTO Tourism Startup Competition have been unveiled, and all will present their projects during the Fitur International Tourism Fair in Madrid from 23-27 January.
The finalists, who were selected from among 3,000 projects from 132 countries, are:
- Awake (Colombia)
- By Hours (Spain)
- e-bot (Germany)
- The FreeBird Club (Ireland)
- Howazit (Israel)
- Kompas (UK)
- Pruvo (Israel)
- Refundit (Israel)
- Seevoov (Israel)
- Stay 22 (Canada)
The 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 has been organized by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in partnership with Globalia, the leading tourism group in Spain and Latin America. Presenting their projects at Fitur means the finalists will be not only be in the presence of global tourism leaders from the public and private sectors, but also potential investors.
Transforming the tourism experience
The competition sought innovative start-ups capable of transforming the way people travel and experience tourism, while adhering closely to the principles of sustainability (economic, social, and environmental).
Zurab Pololikashvili, the UNWTO’s secretary-general, said: “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.
“The key is to connect the public and private sectors collaboratively, thus creating opportunities to share ideas and projects.”
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.
Globalia’s CEO Javier Hidalgo said: “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.”
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.