#UNWTO launches inaugural Sports Tourism Startup Competition

Tourism Tech Adventures
World’s Best Sports Tourism Start-Ups Celebrated At Global Tourism Economy Forum in Macau

The growing sports tourism sector has taken centre stage at the Global Tourism Economy Forum in Macau, with the first ‘SPORTSTECH’ edition of the World Tourism Organization’s Tourism Tech Adventure initiative celebrating the best ideas and innovators from around the world

As the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) reports that rising numbers of tourists are travelling for sports or wellbeing, the competition was launched the with aim of identifying supporting start-ups that excel in a number of ways, including their potential for scaling-up and ability to help contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Read more +

Sport and Tourism
Sports and Tourism

  • Sports tourism is one of the fastest-growing parts of the global tourism sector. This includes travel for spectator sports, to compete in professional or amateur sports or to enjoy sport as a leisure activity.
  • UNWTO is committed to growing sports tourism and using it as a driver of sustainable economic growth. Sports tourism can also help advance several of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including those relating to peace, decent work and cities.
  • UNWTO has named several sporting figures Ambassadors for Tourism. These include Lionel Messi, Andrés Iniesta and World Cup-winning football manager Vincente del Bosque.

UNWTO Sports Tourism Competition

  • The 1st UNWTO Sports Tourism Start-up Competition is an initiative committed to innovation and promotion of entrepreneurship in sports.
  • The purpose of this competition has been to capture the attention of a large number of startups in the sector and to facilitate the selection of those that are most relevant to the Sports Tourism sector.
  • The winner today will be selected based on various criteria, such as the degree of disruptiveness and maturity of the product, its viability, scalability, sustainability and its interest for potential investors
  • The 1st edition of the competition received over 100 initiatives from over 50 countries. Finalists were selected from all over the world, with solutions ranging from new technologies, community-based tourism development platforms, software initiatives and innovation-driven sports tech projects; all contributing to the advancement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

UNWTO and Innovation

  • • In 2018, UNWTO launched the 1st UNWTO Tourism Start-Up Competition. This received more than 2,000 applications from more than 100 countries.
  • A 2nd Tourism Start-Up Competition has now been launched. Interest is expected to be even greater this time.
  • Also in 2018, UNWTO launched the 1st Gastronomy Startup Competition with the Basque Culinary Center and now in 2019.
nternational tourism up 4% in first half of 2019, World Tourism Organization reports
International tourist arrivals grew 4% from January to June 2019, compared to the same period last year, according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer published ahead of the 23rd World Tourism Organization General Assembly. Growth was led by the Middle East (+8%) and Asia and the Pacific (+6%). International arrivals in Europe grew 4%, while Africa (+3%) and the Americas (+2%) enjoyed more moderate growth.

Destinations worldwide received 671 million international tourist arrivals between January and June 2019, almost 30 million more than in the same period of 2018 and a continuation of the growth recorded last year.

Growth in arrivals is returning to its historic trend and is in line with UNWTO’s forecast of 3% to 4% growth in international tourist arrivals for the full year 2019, as reported in the January Barometer.

So far, the drivers of these results have been a strong economy, affordable air travel, increased air connectivity and enhanced visa facilitation. However, weaker economic indicators, prolonged uncertainty about Brexit, trade and technological tensions and rising geopolitical challenges, have started to take a toll on business and consumer confidence, as reflected in a more cautious UNWTO Confidence Index. Read more +

UNWTO and Barça Innovation Hub Launch Global Sports Tourism Start-up
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in collaboration with Barça Innovation Hub (BIHUB) and with the support of the Qatar National Tourism Council (QNTC), has announced the launch of the 1st UNWTO Sports Tourism Start-up Competition. The initiative is designed to identify projects and innovations that can transform the sports tourism sector in the near future.

Increasing demand from tourists and the growing influence of sports on destinations’ popularity have combined to make sports tourism one of the segments with the greatest potential for socioeconomic development opportunities, attracting growing levels of government interest. The 1st UNWTO Sports Tourism Start-up Competition, launched by UNWTO and BIHUB, with the support of QNTC, is looking for start-ups with disruptive ideas focused on solving real needs and addressing knowledge gaps in the growing sports tourism sector.

In all, 20 start-ups will be shortlisted by a panel of international experts and sports and tourism stakeholders, drawn from the public and private sectors, academia and civil society. The shortlisted start-ups will be announced on the competition’s website. The panel will then select five semi-finalists who will all be invited to Barcelona to pitch their ideas to sports experts, government representatives, tourism business leaders and international investors. Read more +

UNWTO and Barça Innovation Hub Launch Global Sports Tourism Start-up Competition