II Competición mundial para Startups de Turismo

The World Tourism Organization and Globalia launch the 2nd Global Tourism Startup Competition

Proposals from around the world will begin arriving 13 September at Wa-kalua, Globalia’s tourism innovation hub.

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has joined Globalia, a leading tourism group in Spain and Latin America, to launch the UNWTO Global Tourism Startup Competition for the second year in a row. After the success of the first edition, in which nearly 3000 companies participated, the largest startup competition has returned to the world stage to identify the latest companies who will lead the transformation of the sector.

The new call for proposals was launched as part of the 23rd General Assembly of the UNWTO (10-13 September, St. Petersburg). The presentation saw participation from the General Secretary of the UNWTO, Zurab Pololikashvili, and the CEO of Globalia, Javier Hidalgo.

“With this competition we are exploring new terrain in tourism, innovation, entrepreneurship and sustainable development. We have succeeded in bringing together the most relevant stakeholders in the progress of our sector and its relevance on a global scale”, said Zurab Pololikashvili.

Hidalgo also emphasised the collaborative effort of this second edition, featuring renowned partners such as Telefónica, Amadeus, Intu and Distrito Digital Valencia. “Wakalua will help us to foresee a bright, sustainable, and profitable future. It will help us to promote a circular economy and foster social development. Globalia knows that the tourism of the future will not be the same as the tourism of yesterday. It needs to be better for our planet, for our kids, and the environment. This competition will help us to achieve those goals through technology and innovation” said Globalia’s CEO.  

The new partners will actively engage in promoting the project’s five categories in addition to choosing the best solutions and most disruptive projects based on new business models.

Smart mobility

In partnership with Telefónica, we’re looking for projects that improve travel quality and facilitate user mobility on any transport system. The aim is to reduce economic, environmental and time-related costs.

Smart Destinations

In this category, and with the collaboration of Distrito Digital Valencia, we are searching for solutions that help us to improve the sustainability and profitability of the destination from an economic, environmental and socio-cultural perspective, where technology helps to promote innovation and accessibility in an increasingly globalised world.

Deep Tech, rethinking localisation and geolocation

Together with Amadeus, we want to attract startups that offer a unique value proposition to travellers and travel companies through localization systems. We will be focusing on concepts that simplify the trip thanks to data extracted through AI-based localization. They can be used to identify tourist regions, link them to nearby airports, extract data on image, text or video localization, optimise urban routes, analyse perceptions about locations and much more.

Disruptive hospitality

In collaboration with Intu, we are searching for new or already established companies from all over the world to help us achieve a world-class experience in the global resort of the future. We want every tourist visit to be as efficient as possible.

Rural development

 Globalia will make a special effort to provide solutions for the forestry, agricultural and rural sectors, aiming to help bolster the transfer of knowledge and innovation and improve viability and competitiveness. This category also seeks companies that work in risk management, animal welfare and the restoration, preservation and improvement of ecosystems, with a continuous focus on promoting the change towards a more decarbonised economy.

Furthermore, the UNWTO will award a special sustainability prize, whose goal is to lend visibility to projects that are committed to more efficient tourism.

This annual competition is a major project from Wakalua, Globalia’s tourism innovation hub, which will guide the winning companies towards further development and help them to interact with leading companies in the sector. The UNWTO and Globalia have the support of the innovation consultancy firm for this project.

In the first call, 20 startups in 12 countries reached the semifinals and finals held in Budapest and Madrid, respectively. The tax return company Refundit, was the winner and Globalia, as a financial partner, also invested in Freebird together with Portugal Ventures, established a joint venture with Tripscience and launched a pilot with Pruvo.

The call for proposals for the 2nd UNWTO Tourism Startup Competition will be launched worldwide and will end on 15 November. The winners will be announced on 21 January 2020 during a gala event held within the framework of the Madrid International Tourism Fair (Fitur).  For more information and registration materials, visit