UNWTO Announces Winning Tourism Startups of ‘Awake Challenge’
The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) recently announced the winners of its “Awake Tourism Challenge”, a competition aimed at recognizing startups that can contribute to the development of a sustainable, inclusive and resilient tourism sector.
The contest, which was the second edition of the UNWTO Global Startup Competition, attracted over 2,000 entries from 120 countries, with the majority of submissions coming from Europe, the Americas, and Africa.
The competition’s jury selected 30 finalists and then 15 winners, who were recognized for their innovative services and high customer value, high levels of youth engagement, and local community involvement.
The winning startups
The challenge’s list of winners include: Coastruction (the Netherlands), Noytrall (Portugal), SmArt Tourism and Hospitality Consulting (Panama), Quantum Temple (USA), Socialbnb (Germany), Instituto de Accesibilidad (Spain), Kamatjona (Namibia), Baahdy & Birdy (Norway), WeavAir (Singapore), r3charge (Germany), Impact Innovations Institute (Armenia), NomadHer (South Korea), Murmuration (France), Evelity by Okeenea Digital (France) and Accessible Qatar (Qatar).
“The winners of the UNWTO Awake Tourism Challenge all have the potential to help build a more inclusive and resilient sector and we look forward to supporting them as they grow in size and influence,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili.
The winning startups will receive several benefits, including an incubation period of three months at SPARK Crans-Montana, the Innovation Hub of Les Roches from the Sommet Education group. During this period, the startups will have access to mentorships, networking activities, a VR lab, digital studio, and a dedicated co-working space.
In addition, the startups will also receive scholarships for the UNWTO Tourism Online Academy and be included in the UNWTO Catalogue of top innovators, among other benefits.
The competition was organized in collaboration with Wakalua, a global innovation hub for tourism, and received support from a number of renowned tourism experts and partners, including SPARK, Amadeus, IE University, and the Singapore Tourism Board.
Innovation has been a main priority for UNWTO over the past five years, with the organization holding 23 competitions and challenges, as well as nine Tourism Tech Adventures and creating an innovation network of over 11,500 stakeholders from various parts of the tourism sector.