The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has announced the finalists to win the 15th UNWTO Awards, which recognize inspirational projects having made an invaluable contribution to advance sustainable tourism. The nominees are praised for contributing to advance the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Initiatives from Canada, Colombia, India, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and the Philippines made it to the list of finalists for 2019’s UNWTO Awards, ranging from community-based tourism development and innovation-driven nature conservation to heritage tourism and promotion of accessible tourism.
For this edition the jury committee was made up of eight tourism experts from the public sector, private companies and universities:
- Ms. Diana Robino, Global Tourism Partnerships Lead, Mastercard
- Prof. Dimitrios Buhalis, Head of Department Tourism and Hospitality, Bournemouth University, United Kingdom (Affiliate Member)
- Mr. Eduardo Santander, Executive Director/CEO, European Travel Commission
- Mr. Istvan Ujhelyi, Vice-Chair of the Committee on Transport and Tourism, European Parliament
- Mr. Jae-sung Rhee, CEO, Seoul Tourism Organization (Affiliate Member)
- Ms. Judy Kepher-Gona, Founder & Director, Sustainable Travel and Tourism Agenda – STTA Kenya
- Professor Kaye Chon, Dean and Chair Professor Walter Kwok Foundation Professor in International Hospitality Management School of Hotel and Tourism Management, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Affiliate Member)
- Ms. Sally Davey, Director, Industry Affairs, Trip Advisor (Affiliate Member)
The UNWTO Awards recognize the contribution of public and private institutions, as well as NGOs, in the development of a more competitive, responsible and sustainable tourism sector that works towards achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and its 17 SDGs.
For the 15th year of the UNWTO Awards competition, a total of 190 applications from 71 countries were received in the three categories: Public Policy and Governance, Enterprises, and Non-Governmental Organizations.
List of Finalists (in alphabetical order):
UNWTO Award in Public Policy and Governance
- Tourism and Peace Programme, Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Colombia
- Love San Sebastián, Live Donostia, San Sebastian Turismo & Convention Bureau, Spain
- Sustainability Whale Watching Charter, SPET – Turismo De Tenerife, Spain
UNWTO Award in Enterprises
- Community Impact by V Resorts, V Resorts (under the aegis of Bliss Inns Pvt. Ltd.), India
- Fighting food waste at sea: 4GOODFOOD programme, Costa Crociere S.p.A., Italy
- Masungi Georeserve: Innovations for Conservation, Masungi Georeserve Foundation, The Philippines
UNWTO Award in Non-Governmental Organizations
- Embracing Our Potential, Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association, Canada
- Amuse Project, Fundacion Once, Spain
- Treadright Foundation Heritage Initiative, Treadright Foundation, Switzerland
World’s Most Disruptive Sports Tourism Start-Ups Celebrated at Global Tourism Economy Forum
The growing sports tourism sector took centre stage at the Global Tourism Economy Forum in Macau, SAR with the first ‘SPORTSTECH’ edition of the World Tourism Organization’s Tourism Tech Adventures initiative celebrating the most disruptive ideas and innovators from around the world. This served as the ideal backdrop to determine the winner of the 1st UNWTO Sports Tourism Start-up Competition, launched with the Barca Innovation hub of Football Club FC Barcelona and supported by the Qatar National Tourism Council.
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.
Within the framework of the Global Tourism Economy Forum, five finalists from the 1st UNWTO Sports Tourism Start-up Competition were invited to Macau for a special masterclass on pitching and attracting investment. The finalists faced-off in a “Start-Up Battlefield” following sessions focused on the future of sports tourism and the potential for disruptive technologies to create value for tourism.
UNWTO General-Secretary Zurab Pololikashvili, opened the Tourism Tech Adventure event, highlighting the United Nations agency’s strong support for innovation, said: “Tourism and sport create decent jobs, promote local culture and provide opportunities for SMEs and entrepreneurs. Sports tourism can also contribute to creating peace, sustainability and inclusiveness, building bridges between different countries and cultures. UNWTO welcomes innovation in this niche sector and congratulates all today’s finalists on their vision and determination.”
The other finalists that beat off strong competition from hundreds of start-ups from around the world to make it to Macau, were:
Flyfoot (Lebanon)- Fly-Foot is the first online
platform where football fans can book all- inclusive travel packages to watch
their favorite teams play with just a few clicks and fosters local football
Inclusive Society Led by Persons with Disabilities (Japan) – a travel agency specialized in adapting travel and sports to individuals with limited mobility to increase social inclusion.
Oevit (United States of America)- one-stop-shop solution for experience ecosystems. Oveit combines near field communication and biometric payments, audience engagement, loyalty programs, access control, registration and (e)ticketing.
WeFish (Spain)- Offers a fishing application which is interactive, simple and social – developed by fishers for fishers.
Regulation Catches up with Innovation: The Case of Short-Term Rentals
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has published the first systematic overview of how both national governments and local authorities are addressing and managing new business models in the accommodation industry. The so-called “sharing economy” has experienced significant growth over recent years and is poised to outpace the growth of traditional accommodation. Drawing on case studies from around the world, “New Business Models in the Accommodation Industry” analyses existing rules and regulations for the sector.
Drawing on 21 global case studies, the new UNWTO report notes that most of the measures implemented refer to areas of ‘fair competition’ and ‘consumer protection’, specifically measures related to taxation and registration and permits In comparison, measures relating to ‘planning and sustainability’, are less commonplace. At the same time, the report highlights the challenges destinations face in implementing rules and regulations, with a lack of local capacity and a lack of clarity over whose responsibility it is to monitor and regulate short-term tourist accommodation.
Commenting, UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “There are significantly more regulations than we thought and it is encouraging to see destinations taking the initiative. However, many challenges remain, including the practical implementation of rules and regulations relating to the short-term tourist rental market. Good governance and effective cooperation between the public and private sectors are key to successfully meeting these challenges.”
Case studies analysed for the “New Business Models in the Accommodation Industry” include European countries such as the Netherlands, Italy and Spain, which are home to some of the world’s most popular cities for tourists, as well as countries in the Americas such as Mexico and from across Asia as is the case of Japan.
The report was produced with the support of the Secretariat of Tourism of Mexico.
U.S. Moves Closer to World Tourism Organization with Landmark Meeting
A high-level delegation from the United States Department of State has met with head of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) as the country moves closer to rejoining the United Nations specialized agency for tourism.
Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Kevin Moley and Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs Manisha Singh were welcomed by UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili, following up on the announcement that the USA is exploring rejoining UNWTO, of which it is a founding member. The two parties enjoyed productive discussions as the terms of membership are being finalized.
This is the highest level visit of a US delegation to the UNWTO headquarters registered so far. In June of this year, the United States used the occasion of the UNWTO Executive Council meeting to confirm it is exploring the possibility of rejoining, stating that “the UNWTO offers great potential to fuel economic growth in the U.S. tourism sector, create new jobs for American workers, and highlight American travel destinations”.
UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashili underscored that “it is extremely encouraging that the United States has clearly signaled its intention to rejoin UNWTO and support tourism as a key driver of job creation, investments and entrepreneurship and safeguarding natural and cultural heritage the world over”.
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