UNWTO initiative seeks to recover tourism

April 30, 2022 - 21:41

TEHRAN – The World Tourism Organization has called on start-ups to join its initiative named “Awake Tourism Challenge” aimed to help recover the global tourism sector.

Its global flagship competition is aimed to identify innovators who are advancing solutions to six different challenges, as well as contributing to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashviki has said: “The return of tourism is a chance to awaken its potential to transform lives. UNWTO is calling on startups everywhere to put forward their ideas for meeting the biggest challenges our sector is facing and for making tourism a champion of the Sustainable Development Goals.”

For the 2022 challenge, UNWTO will sharpen the focus on specific areas that can help the recovery of the tourism in a disruptive way, and which deserve extra attention right now, namely:

Community involvement: 80% of people living in ‘extreme poverty’ live in rural communities while domestic, rural, and eco-tourism have emerged as the most popular travel choices.

Green and blue economies: Tourism can be a source of economic opportunities and at the same time protect natural ecosystems.

Ecological and Sustainable Capital Creation: Sustainable capital has the potential to optimize resource usage, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide a competitive advantage for businesses.

Tourism Tech for Good: Advancements in technology have revolutionized the sector, especially since the start of the pandemic. Artificial Intelligence, crypto, blockchain, metaverse, and NFTs are welcome in this category.

Tourism Education: Despite representing 10% of the world’s jobs, there is a need for updated data and new tools for education and skills development.

Women Empowerment: Women tend to be concentrated in the lowest-paid and lowest-status jobs in tourism. Startups with a gender focus can be an important contributor to equality.

According to the UN body, applications are now open and will close on 31 June. The winning startups will be announced in October.


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