UNWTO competition for startups seeks ideas to accelerate rural tourism

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UNWTO competition for startups seeks ideas to accelerate rural tourism
Tue April 06, 2021

The World Tourism Organization initiative will select the best ideas that will help rural communities recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic

The Global Competition for Rural Tourism Initiatives will also support entrepreneurs and businesses that can help rural communities seize the economic and social opportunities that will emerge as tourism resumes.

The United Nations specialized agency has registered a growing interest in unique and authentic travel experiences, including outdoor and nature tourism. With this trend expected to accelerate as tourism resumes, competition from startups is looking for ideas that will help ensure rural communities are in the best position to benefit. The competition will also seek ideas that will help build resilience in rural communities.

The Competition aims to support rural tourism as a key tool to fight depopulation, promote inclusion and reduce regional inequalities in income and development as part of UNWTO's special focus on tourism for rural development.

Applications are now open for four categories:

  • People - Leave no one behind: Projects that encourage the creation of jobs and opportunities, promote gender and youth empowerment, and create opportunities for vulnerable groups in rural areas.
  • Planet: rebuilding better Projects related to the promotion and protection of natural resources, including addressing the impact of tourism on climate change, us, and the consumption of waste and resources.
  • Prosperity- growth opportunities Startups that provide innovative solutions through new business models, instruments that promote access to financing, markets and marketing for tourism in rural areas.
  • Propulsion of rural technology - Implementation of new technologies to promote tourism and development in rural areas.

The deadline for applications is July 1, 2021. The winners will be invited to participate in the UNWTO General Assembly, to be held in Marrakech, Morocco, in October. 

The new competition builds on the success of UNWTO's search for the best startups in Spain. That initiative saw more than 150 projects submitted for consideration, and the winners received mentoring and support from the Spanish Government and Google. For this global edition, UNWTO welcomes National Geographic Travel as its media partner. It also has the support of key institutional collaborators, namely Air Europa and Wakalua as Travel Partners together with Amazon Web Services Activate, HèPic, Impact Hub, the International Trade Center, Fademur, the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge. from Spain, NEST. Portugal, Telefónica Open Future and the TUI Care Foundation.


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