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UNWTO Invites Ideas for 1st Global Gastronomy Tourism Startup Contest

Have an interesting idea on how to pair gastronomy and tourism in order to inspire travelers to travel more? Submit your ideas now in the 1st UNWTO Gastronomy Tourism Startup Competition launched by the World Tourism Organization and affiliate member, the Basque Culinary Center (BCC).

Startups are invited to pitch business models focused on gastronomy and tourism that are related to sustainability, respect the value chain, offer an authentic and coherent narrative, and add value to cultural and local heritage.

© Maria Theofanopoulou

Photo © Maria Theofanopoulou

The competition is the first and largest initiative in the world aimed at identifying the best solutions and projects that contribute the most to the sector through pioneering proposals in the implementation of emerging and disruptive technologies, as well as emerging companies or startups.

The five finalists will have the opportunity to present their projects at the 5th World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism to be held on May 2-3, in San Sebastián, Spain. The winning company will receive personalized consulting and mentoring from BCC experts and together design and implement a pilot project while also being able to participate in the accelerator of the Culinary Action! program.

According to the UNWTO, “gastronomy as a component and vehicle of culture and tradition, is an indispensable resource that adds value and provides solutions for destinations that seek to stand out through unique product offerings”.

“Innovation and tourism investments are not ends in themselves, but are means to promote better tourism products, improve tourism governance and harness its proven capability to foster sustainability, create jobs and generate opportunities,” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili.

For more information on the terms and conditions of the contest go here.

Based in San Sebastián in Spain’s Basque Region, the BCC was founded in 2009 by Mondragon University and a group of Basque chefs as a training, research and innovation project aimed at developing the culinary sector, while linking cooking with management, science and other disciplines.

“Education and innovation are essential for the development of sustainable gastronomic tourism. At Basque Culinary Center, we support entrepreneurship and the development of new business projects to ensure the future of the sector,” said Joxe Mari Aizega, general manager of BCC.

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