UNWTO aims to boost tourism’s contribution to sustainable development, unveils new startup contest

The UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has announced the launch of a new Startup Competition as it looks to identify innovators with the power to further tourism’s contribution to sustainable development.

As the United Nations specialised agency for tourism, it has been guiding the sector’s efforts to contribute to the achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including through the Tourism 4 SDGs online platform. Now, as the global community faces just 10 years to reach this ambitious agenda for people and planet, tourism’s unique ability to advance several of the SDGs is more relevant than ever.

This competition will rally all sectors around efforts to achieve the SDGs and place innovation and sustainability at the heart of global economic recovery. Against the backdrop of the high-level political forum on sustainable development, held under the auspices of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), it has launched the SDGs Global Startup Competition.

Organised in partnership with Wakalua, the innovation hub of leading tourism group Globalia, the competition has strong private sector backing, with the Advanced Leadership Foundation, Amadeus, Amazon Web Services Activate, BBVA, ClarkeModet, The Far Co, Globant, Google, IE University, Mastercard, Mentor Day, Plug and Play and Telefónica as lead promoters of innovation.

UNWTO secretary-general Zurab Pololikashviki said: “This competition will rally all sectors around efforts to achieve the SDGs and place innovation and sustainability at the heart of global economic recovery.”

The competition is not only open to innovators within the tourism sector. Startups of every kind, from all over the world. The 17 most disruptive startups (1 for each of the SDGs) will be given support to scale-up and make a real difference to the future of destinations. Applications are now open and will close on 20 September 2020. The winning startups will be announced in November.

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