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Transforming Tourism | UNWTO Unveils Startup Competition Winners

MADRID: Startups from around the world have been recognised for their contributions to sustainable and responsible tourism in the UNWTO SDGs Global Startup Competition.

Supported by the United Nations Innovation Network, the competition attracted some 10,000 initial proposals. This was narrowed down to 25 winners across 18 countries. Shortlisted finalists were judged according to criteria which included the potential of the startups to contribute to a specific goal, their ability to be scaled-up, and the maturity of both the product and the team behind it.

UNWTO’s selection of 25 winners from 18 countries for its startup competition highlights tourism’s widespread ability to contribute to the SDGs

The 25 winning startups, selected by a jury made up of leaders from across the tourism sector, offer distinct solutions for advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Americas led the way in submitting winning proposals, with nine of the competition winners coming from the region. Europe provided eight winners, Asia and the Pacific six, and Africa and the Middle East one winner each.

“The winners show the power of new ideas for transforming our sector”, said UNWTO secretary-general Zurab Pololikashvili in recognising tourism’s potential to contribute to all SDGs. He added: “By embracing innovation, we can realise this potential and build a better future for people and planet through tourism.”

Lisandro Menu-Marque, director-general of international business development for Globalia and Wakalua, said: “The collaboration of institutions, governments and corporations will help host and scale up many of these projects through the Wakalua Hub, to make tourism a much more sustainable, responsible and socially impactful sector, all with the support of the UNWTO.”

The winners and the SDG that the startup will help advance are as follows:

•SDG1 – No poverty- Etnica (Guatemala), • SDG2 – Zero hunger Ifarm Agritech (Kenya),• SDG3 – Good health and well-being  BlueDot (Canada),• SDG4 – Quality education Immersion India (India),• SDG5 – Gender equality  Sisterwave (Brazil), • SDG6 – Clean water and sanitation, ECOLOO Greentech Malaysia SDN BHD (Malaysia), Zero Mass Water (United States of America), • SDG7 – Affordable and clean energy  BeFC (France),Enexor BioEnergy (United States of America) Swimsol (Austria), • SDG8 – Good jobs and economic growth Clio Muse Tours PC (Greece),Community Homestay Network (Nepal), • SDG9 – Industry, innovation and infrastructure DefinedCrowd (United States of America),FREED GROUP (aka TravelFlan) (Hong Kong),• SDG10 – Reduced inequalities Travaxy – accessible travel (Israel),• SDG11 – Sustainable cities and communities  Metrica6 (Spain),Tobadaa (Egypt), SDG12 – Sustainable consumption and production Lumitics (Singapore),• SDG13 – Climate action ClimateTrade (Spain),Opus 12, Inc. (United States of America), Safety Line (France),• SDG14 – Life below water  Seven Clean Seas (Singapore),• SDG16 – Peace, justice and string institutions Impulse Travel (Colombia), • SDG17 – Partnerships for the goals Nibi (Colombia), Siliconbali (Portugal).

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