UNWTO Global Rural Tourism Startup Competition 2021: Apply by Jul 1: Expired

Applications are open for UNWTO Global Rural Tourism Startup Competition for the year 2021. The last date of registration is 1 July 2021.

Aim of the Competition

The competition aims to bring together all entrepreneurs who are deploying models that positively contribute to the planet, people and prosperity or technology that can be applied to the sustainable development of tourism in rural areas in its three pillars – economic, social and environmental.

It seeks the most disruptive ideas that will enable a change in the ways of travelling to and in rural areas as well as accelerating the diversification of tourism products, market access and improving the competitiveness of rural destinations, the valorization and preservation of natural and cultural heritage and their integration into the tourism value chain, social inclusion and the empowerment of women and youth and the sustainable management of these destinations.

Eligibility

This competition is aimed at projects at an early stage of development, and will have four categories of competition: the innovation category and the social innovation category. The requirements for participation are the following:

  • Innovative/disruptive nature identified
  • Scalability potential within the business
  • Validated or tested business model
  • Market penetration
  • Entrepreneur/promoter team: Suitability of the promoter team, motivation and interest
  • Commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals
  • Relevance to the topic

In addition, other selection requirements will be evaluated, such as:

  • Market and sector: Market potential; interest of the project
  • Sustainability: an attribute that should be implemented in the services, business model, and solutions
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Social innovation: transformation potential and potential to promote social inclusion and equality by channelling and expanding the benefits of tourism among the economy and communities, empowering and improving the socioeconomic conditions of the project environment to contribute to the well-being of the residents
  • Economic impact: potential for inclusion and development of the value chain, competitiveness and enhancement of rural tourism destinations in the market, opening up to new source markets and improving their positioning and promotion
  • Environmental impact: potential to help minimize the impacts caused by activities related to tourism development, protect natural resources and contribute to the fight against climate change
  • Impact on the governance and management of the destination: potential to strengthen governance and contribute to the sustainable management of rural tourism in the destination, improve the measurement and monitoring of tourism and favour decision-making and collaboration with the private sector and local communities

The representative must be a natural person, of legal age and with the legal capacity to enter into contracts. The representative must not have been convicted by a final sentence for fraudulent crimes with a penalty equal to or greater than six months, as long as he/she has not extinguished criminal responsibility.

Participants who, originally or eventually, fail to meet any of these requirements may be excluded from the acceleration programme, losing all eligibility to receive any service and without the right to claim anything from the UNWTO.

Categories

The entrants in this competition will be divided into four categories:

PEOPLE – Leaving no one behind: Legal persons that are developing and promoting a project with a large transformative and social innovation component with the potential to promote social inclusion and equality by channelling and expanding the benefits of tourism among the economy and communities, empowerment and improvement of socio-economic conditions of the project environment to contribute to the well-being of residents, as well as projects with potential to improve the governance and sustainable management of rural tourism in the destination

PLANET – Building Back Better: Legal persons that are developing and promoting a project with a large transformative and environmental innovation component: potential to help minimize the impacts caused by activities related to tourism development, protect natural resources and contribute to the fight against climate change

PROSPERITY – Creating Opportunities to Grow: Legal persons that are developing and promoting a project with a large transformative and economic innovation component for the development of the value chain, competitiveness and enhancement of rural tourism destinations in the market, opening them up to new source markets and improving their positioning and promotion

PROPULSION – Deep Tech for rural development: Legal persons that are developing and promoting a project centred around the use of new technologies or innovations for competitiveness and enhancement of rural tourism destinations through the application of new technology.

About Participants

The competition is open to all entrepreneurs, whether individuals or legal entities, of legal age and with the legal capacity to enter into a contract.

Projects must be aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations, with the introduction of technological elements, and with a focus on one (or more) of the following areas:

  • The management of destinations or the private management of solutions / products / services developed around or for tourism in rural environments
  • The configuration of the supply side, seeking a balance between sustainable development and the profitability of the project, and maximizing its positive impacts
  • The connection with the market and the user experience in all phases of the journey.
Important dates

The companies that best fit the requirements established in the categories below will be selected. The deadline for
submitting projects will begin on 6 April 2021 and will end at 00:00 CET on 1 July 2021.

The tentative calendar is as follows:

  • Launch of the competition: 31 March 2021
  • Deadline for candidatures: 1 July 2021
  • Presentation of finalist companies on the online platform: 15 August 2021
  • Announcement of the winning startups: October 2021
Registration

Interested candidates can register via this page.

Prizes
  • People – Leaving no one behind:
    The two winning projects will be eligible to attend the General Assembly
    Participation in the UNWTO pilot project “Best Tourism Villages of the World”
    Becoming part of the UNWTO innovation network
  • Planet – Building Back better:
    The winning projects will be eligible to attend the General Assembly
    Participation in the UNWTO pilot project “Best Tourism Villages of the World”
    Becoming part of the UNWTO innovation network
  • Prosperity – Creating Opportunities to Grow:
    The winning projects will be eligible to attend the General Assembly
    Participation in the UNWTO pilot project “Best Tourism Villages of the World”
    Becoming part of the UNWTO innovation network
  • Propulsion – Deep tech for rural development
    The winning projects will be eligible to attend the General Assembly
    Participation in the UNWTO pilot project “Best Tourism Villages of the World”
    Becoming part of the UNWTO innovation network.

Click here for the official notification of UNWTO Global Rural Tourism Startup Competition 2021.

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