The World's Largest Tourism
Startup Competition
Join us and transform the Tourism sector!


The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), in partnership with Globalia, is pleased to announce the 1st UNWTO Tourism Startup Competition, the world’s largest initiative dedicated to identifying the startups that will lead the transformation of the tourism sector!

Tourism is one of the best positioned sectors to drive inclusive growth, create jobs, reduce poverty, and foster sustainable development and peace. Accounting for 10% of the world GDP, tourism has a significant impact on exports, job creation, investment, development of infrastructure, and the promotion of social inclusion.

Moreover, given its cross-sectorial nature, tourism’s wide reach also stimulates entrepreneurship and growth of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), which along with start-ups, are an important driver of innovation and job creation. Furthermore, tourism engages all sectors to collaborate and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.
Join the largest movement of tourism startups driving impact in the industry.

In the wake of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we are looking for the most disruptive Startups that are transforming the way people travel and experience tourism.
Compete for the opportunity to network and pitch your disruptive solution to a jury of global tourism leaders, including top global investors and corporations, at high-level tourism events.

Apply Now

The Awards

Ten winners will receive:


The 20 runners-up will have the opportunity to pitch at the official celebrations of World Tourism Day (WTD), on September 27th 2018 in Budapest, Hungary.

The selected startups will receive a fully-sponsored trip to present their initiative to the jury, governments, industry leaders and international investors attending WTD.

In addition, participants will benefit from a master class on how to talk to investors, ways for scaling up companies, etc.


The 10 finalists will have sponsored participation at FITUR, the International Tourism Trade Fair, from 24 - 27 January 2019 in Madrid, Spain.

Be of one of 10 startups selected to pitch in front of potential investors, mentors and experts during FITUR 2019, the first of the world’s largest gatherings of tourism leaders. Receive a fully-sponsored trip and access to the four days of networking, mentoring and events. Connect to a network of over 200,000 participants from hundreds of countries.


The winning startup will receive the opportunity to design a pilot project with Globalia, Spain’s largest travel corporation. Work closely with Globalia’s brands including Air Europa (airline), Halcón Viajes (travel agencies), Travelplan (tour operator), Be Live (hotel chain), and Groundforce (airport handling) and more.


Scale your startup by participating in the first-ever Global Tourism Innovation Hub. Gain access to mentors, participate in acceleration programmes, and discover unique funding opportunities.

Runners-up and finalists will also benefit from:

  • 1-1 meetings with venture capital firms attending WTD and FITUR
  • Access to mentors and participation in training programmes.
  • Benefit from a unique global networking platform
  • Startup logos to be displayed on the website
  • International media coverage
UNWTO events
  • Successful startup applications may also be shortlisted to compete in the future Tourism Tech (Ad)venture Forums, which can be regional, local or thematic in scope.
  • Mentoring, networking and pitching opportunities will be provided to the selected startups at these forums.

Are you ready?

Apply Now

The Criteria

Your startup will be evaluated on the following criteria
We are looking for solutions with a global mindset and high scalability potential. We are looking for innovation and disruption in the tourism sector.

Potential impact

We are looking for startups with a strong and mature business model, financial returns and clear competitive advantages to develop their business on a global scale.

Business model

We will take into consideration founders’ resume and motivations, maturity of the business, alliances and partners, initial investments, internal organization and processes.

Team profile

We will have in consideration startups with a unique, disruptive and innovative solution. They must be able to collaborate in order to co-develop products or services, optimizing the use of existing resources and infrastructure in order to scale the product within Globalia.

Solution uniqueness & feasibility

Your services, business model and solutions should demonstrate scalability and sustainability in order to avoid or minimize environmental impact.

Scalability & Sustainability

Who can apply?

We are targeting Startups that:

Read the full terms and conditions here.

Projects should focus on one of the following key areas:
Future of Travel

Startups that are innovating the way we think about travel, promote travel and how we travel

Experience of Tourism

Startups that are developing innovative thematic tourism experiences, such as:

- Sports Tourism
- Gastronomy Tourism
- Adventure tourism

Environmental Impact

Startups that are reducing the negative impact that tourism has on the environment through innovations in technologies and processes

Community Development

Startups that are developing innovative tourism solutions that empower the local community through local economic growth, rural development and socio-cultural inclusivity

Sports and Tourism

Projects focused on preserving the cultural heritage of local communities through tourism. Projects can range from knowledge and experience exchange programs, resilience building, economic and social development, and more.

The Schedule


Ready to get started? Start your application below!


What is the UNWTO Tourism Startup Competition?
Why is UNWTO hosting this competition?
Who is eligible to apply to the 1st UNWTO Tourism Startup Competition?
How will my project be evaluated?
What expenses be covered to attend FITUR 2019?
What is UNWTO?
What is Globalia?
What is the World Tourism Day?
What are the terms and conditions?
Both for-profit and non-profit projects are eligible to apply. Startups in all stages of development are eligible to apply, though startups with a mature product/service and traction will be considered favorably. 


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With the support of:
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