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Tourism startups focus on innovation and sustainability

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The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), in association with Globalia, the leading tourism group in Spain and Latin America, has selected the finalists of the 2nd Global Tourism Startup Competition, an initiative that the two entities have been working on since 2018 when its first edition was held.

In the competition’s first two editions, Wakalua, the global tourism innovation hub powered by Globalia, in collaboration with the World Tourism Organization, has received proposals of nearly 5,000 startups from 150 countries. The countries with the highest number of projects submitted have been Spain, followed by India, the United States, Portugal, Nigeria and Colombia.

The second edition features startups in a more mature stage, with 10% having had more than EUR 500,000 in turnover in 2018. The finalists will present their projects at the Wakalua headquarters in Madrid. Seven will win awards in their respective categories.

Sustainability
Building on the success of the inaugural competition, this new edition continues to identify new companies that will lead the sector’s transformation. The aim and common denominator is to achieve a sustainable and profitable future through technology and innovation. This initiative is supported by partners such as Turismo de Portugal, Telefónica, Amadeus, Intu Costa del Sol, IE Africa Center and Distrito Digital Valencia, among others.

These partners will participate actively in the final decision and in the subsequent promotion, financing rounds and implementation of the pilot projects with the winners:

Categories
This annual competition is one of the flagship projects of Wakalua, the tourism innovation hub powered by Globalia in collaboration with the World Tourism Organization. Wakalua will host the winning startups for further development, providing support in order to establish links with leading companies in the sector. Innovation consulting firm Barrabés.biz is also a partner making this project possible.

Deep Tech, rethinking location and geolocation: With the backing of Amadeus, the aim in this category is to select the best startup that simplifies trips for customers or suppliers using location systems. Solutions that combine location data with artificial intelligence can be used to identify tourism regions, associate them with nearby airports, optimize, and offer opinion mining, among others.

Smart Mobility: In partnership with Telefónica, this category features projects that improve the quality of travel and that facilitate the mobility of users using any transport system. The objective is to reduce economic, environmental and time costs.

Smart Destinations: With the collaboration of Distrito Digital Valencia, solutions will be identified to improve the sustainability and profitability of destinations from the economic, environmental and socio-cultural perspectives by leveraging technology to help foster innovation and accessibility in an increasingly globalized world.

Disruptive Hospitality: Intu Costa del Sol will analyse companies that contribute to optimizing the total experience of travellers by combining the best solutions in the world of retail, shopping centres, food, leisure and hotels, so that, through personalized services and digital connectivity, every trip can be as efficient and effective as possible.

Rural Development: Globalia will place special emphasis on rural areas with the objective of transferring knowledge and innovation, and improving their viability and competitiveness. With the overall objective of promoting a shift towards an increasingly low-carbon economy, this category also seeks out companies devoted to risk management and animal welfare, as well as the restoration, preservation and improvement of ecosystems.

Innovative tourism solutions: Turismo de Portugal will present an award for the best innovation project outside the above categories.

Special award for sustainability: In addition, the UNWTO and Globalia will present a special sustainability award with the aim of giving more visibility to projects that are committed to more efficient and sustainable tourism.

Lastly, the IE Africa Center will recognize 2 projects in terms of social impact in Africa, awarding them with the Social Innovation Retreat scholarship, Sun Cycles Namibia and Enjoy Agriculture Senegal, presenting their initiatives. The winner of the Travel Tech 4 Good accelerator, in collaboration with the Tui Care Foundation and Enpact,  Halla Travel, will also present its startup.

Finalists by category:

Deep Tech:
Klustera (Mexico)
TravelX (India/USA)

Smart Mobility:
Eccocar (Spain)
Zeleros (Spain)

Smart Destinations:
Road.Travel (Russia)
Visualfy (Spain)

Disruptive Hospitality:
Hackpacking (Peru)
Questo (Romania)

Rural development:
i-likelocal  (Netherlands)
Rutopia  (Mexico)

Innovative tourism solutions:
HiJiffy  (Portugal)
LUGGit (Portugal)                 

Sustainability:
Adventure Junkies (Australia)
La Voyageuse (France)
Live Electric Tours (Portugal)
Pikala (Morocco)

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Tourism

DiscoverEU: 20,000 more young people will explore Europe in 2020

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Around 20,000 18-year-olds are set to receive a travel pass under the fourth and latest round of DiscoverEU, which attracted some75,000 applications from across Europe. These young Europeans, selected on the basis of established award criteria and specific Member State quotas, can travel between 1 April and 31 October 2020 for up to 30 days.

Vice-President Schinas, responsible for Promoting Our European Way of Life, said: “From April, 20.000 young people will experience a memorable European journey, discovering the EU. The fact that they will be sharing it with their peers and people in other countries will make this experience both enjoyable and unforgettable. They will also become part of a wider informal and inclusive network that explores what it means to discover our continent, its richness, diversity and solidarity.”

Commissioner Mariya Gabriel,responsible for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said: “Travelling through Europe and meeting young people from other countries enhances intercultural understanding, improves language skills and boosts self-confidence. Together with solidarity and volunteering activities, financed under the European Solidarity Corps, DiscoverEU is an invaluable initiative for informal learning.”

Successful applicants will now be contacted and can start arranging their trips. As a rule, they travel by rail; however, to ensure inclusive access across the continent alternative modes of transport, such as buses, ferries, or exceptionally, planes, are also an option. With the travel pass, participants also receive support and guidance on, for example, sustainable travel. The young people are aso invited to become a DiscoverEU Ambassador, and report on their experiences. They are also encouraged to contact fellow travellers on social media and share their stories.

All participants are invited to attend DiscoverEU meetups at various locations across Europe over the summer. Meetups deal with topics such as a sustainable green Europe -the DiscoverEU theme for 2020. Other activities include volunteering opportunities and the development of a green itinerary for the young travellers.

Background

The Commission launched DiscoverEU in June 2018 following a proposal from the European Parliament. The first three application rounds have given around 50,000 young people the opportunity to travel around Europe. For 2020, the European Parliament has earmarked €25 million for DiscoverEU. The next application round and further updates will be announced by the Commission on the European Youth Portal in due course.

Given the great interest generated by DiscoverEU, the Commission continuously works to improve the initiative, based on feedback from travellers and key stakeholders. So far, participants in the first rounds report DiscoverEU as a valuable and inclusive learning experience, contributing to civic engagement, personal growth and skills development. Travelling empowers young people and helps develop key competences such as language skills and inter-cultural awareness and sensitivity. Resilience, organisation skills and problem-solving also prove an asset. Furthermore, two-thirds of participants said that they would not have been able to finance their travel pass without DiscoverEU. For some participants, it was the first time they travelled on their own without their parents or guardians.

In May 2018, the Commission proposed to include DiscoverEU as an integral part of the future Erasmus programme for 2021-2027. Subject to agreement by the European Parliament and the Council, this would allow hundreds of thousands more 18 year-olds to benefit from the initiative over those seven years.

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UNWTO at FITUR 2020: Sustainability, Innovation and Accessibility to Take Center Stage

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The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) will place innovation and sustainability at the top of the agenda as it returns to the International Tourism Fair in Madrid (FITUR). At the 40th edition of the leading trade fair, the United Nations specialized agency will emphasizes the global tourism sector’s enduring resilience and status as a beacon of stability in times of political, economic and social uncertainty.

FITUR 2020 will see UNWTO build on its presence at the recent COP25 UN Climate Conference, where it highlighted tourism’s unique and cross-cutting ability to contribute to several of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

On the eve of FITUR (Monday 20 January), UNWTO will host its annual News Conference, setting out its accomplishments to date as well as its vision for the future, both during the 2020 UNWTO Year of Tourism and Rural Development and beyond. Also at the News Conference, UNWTO will present the latest data on global tourism numbers and trends, its first such report of the new decade.

On the opening day of FITUR (22 January), UNWTO will launch the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative, a landmark opportunity for tourism operators and destinations to establish themselves as global leaders in reducing plastic consumption and pollution. The initiative has already gained the support of major players within the sector.

Alongside the launch of the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative in Madrid at FITUR, UNWTO will also host the final of the second edition of its Tourism Start-Up Competition (20 January), identifying innovators who are disrupting the sector and making tourism more closely aligned with the SDGs. Additionally, alongside the ONCE Foundation, UNWTO will host its Accessible Tourism Destination (ATDs) Awards (22 January) to recognize destinations that are proactively opening themselves up to tourists of all abilities and backgrounds.

Looking ahead to the event, UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “For 40 years, FITUR has served as a key focal point for sector leaders, bringing the public and private sectors together to drive tourism forward. Now as we look to the future, I am confident that FITUR will once again produce ideas and concrete plans needed to ensure tourism can become an increasingly important part of the sustainable development agenda. As we begin 2030, the global community has just 10 years to realize our ambitious climate and development goals, and the tourism sector needs to face up to its large responsibility and recognize its unique power here.”

For the first time, on the evening before the start of FITUR, UNWTO will host a high-level Gala Dinner, with guests of honor to include His Majesty, King Felipe VI of Spain, heads of state and private sector leaders.

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Travel Trend Expectations for the 2020s

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Single apps for all travel needs, passport free travel, and mobile app check-in are the top three ‘new travel norms’ expected by travelers in the next decade, according to new research by Agoda, the world’s fastest growing digital travel platform.

With the continued advancement of technology, revolutionary travel apps, and better connectivity, people expect a lot more from their travel experience in the next decade.  Specifically, Southeast Asians half of all respondents in Indonesia (56%), Singapore (54%), Malaysia (53%), Taiwan (50%), the Philippines (48%) and Thailand (48%) considering this the norm in the next decade. This compares to only a third of people in the United Kingdom and the United States (33%).

One in two South East Asians also view mobile app check in, allowing guests to skip the registration queue, download their room access key and go straight to their rooms, as the norm in the 2020s, with Singaporeans (54%), Filipinos (53%), Malaysians (58%) and Thais (49%) most expectant of this trend.

Meanwhile, Singapore (50%), Vietnam (47%), Philippines (45%), China (44%) and Australia (41%) are the top five origins most likely to see a future with passport-free travel.  In the UK and US, they are less expectant of this advancement with only 1 in 5 expecting it to be the norm within the next decade.

Technology has already made such a positive impact on how and where people travel as innovative technologies, like those developed at Agoda, give travelers instant access to millions of hotels and home properties around the world with real time pricing and availability.

“It is a technology golden age for travelers, as technology is developed to simplify the way anyone, anywhere can search, book and pay for flights, hotels or holiday accommodation. The 2000s was defined by the mouse and the computer, putting online travel booking just a click away.  The 2010s, was defined by the smart phone and app, and put a travel agent in the pocket of every phone owner, and the 2020s will be defined by the power of data and Machine Learning (AI). This will enable companies like Agoda to provide personalized, more relevant recommendations to make booking travel even easier,” explains Timothy Hughes, Vice President of Corporate Development at Agoda. “Asian travelers, in particular, are enthused by, and expectant of, technology developments that enhance and simplify their travel experience.  Asian based companies are now leading the world in technology adoption and development to achieve this. I expect to see Asia press ahead with that lead in the 2020s – especially in areas such as video and augmented reality, improved mobile services with more chat and voice solutions, and payments to help bring the “unbanked” online”.

Globally, people want to increase travel, but also to make eco-friendlier travel choices

Universally, people want to increase the amount of travel they undertake in the 2020s.  Exploring more of their own country is cited by 40% of respondents globally, while international travel more often is anticipated at 35%.

What’s also interesting, in the context of global narratives on climate sustainability, is the trend that more than a quarter want to make more eco-friendly travel choices in the next decade.  Travelers from Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia are most keen to make eco-friendlier

choices perhaps more aware than others with the recent closure of Maya Bay in Thailand, and the Boracay rehabilitation program in Philippines, and thus travelers want to do their bit even when on holiday.

Travelers in the 35-44 and 55+ age groups are most likely to want to explore their own countries and territories more (40% and 42% respectively), with those from China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, The Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, US and Vietnam choosing domestic destinations within their top three wishlist destinations for the coming decade.

Meanwhile Korean and Japanese travelers see themselves taking more solo trips in the next decade. Taiwanese and Indonesians would prefer taking a sabbatical or gap year.

Kyoto scoops #1 spot as the world’s most desired destination to visit in the 20s

Asia dominates the global travel wishlists destinations for the next decade, as travelers from both Asia and the West showcase a growing curiosity for Asian treasures like Kyoto (Japan) famed for its Shinto shrine, Kyoto is an eclectic blend of culture, food and history, followed by Bangkok, (Thailand) and Bali, (Indonesia).

Travelers in Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam and Malaysia want to cross off their own capital cities from their travel lists. Meanwhile, South Korea, the UK, and Australian travelers are the only one who don’t choose a domestic destination on their wishlists for travel in the next decade.

American and British travelers alike are most excited about visiting New York in the coming decade, with New York also a top three choice for travelers from Australia, Japan and South Korea. Both Malaysian and Indonesian travelers would like to visit Makkah by 2030.

MARKET INSIGHTS – AGODA RESEARCH REVEALS TRAVEL TREND EXPECTATIONS FOR THE 2020S

CHINA

Next Decade of Travel

  • 48% of Chinese travelers see using a mobile phone app to check into their hotel room as the norm.
  • China is top five for seeing Passport-free travel as a reality.
  • 25% of Chinese tourists would like to make more eco-friendlier choices in the next ten years.
  • Kyoto tops travel wishlist for Chinese travelers in the 2020s. This is followed by Shanghai (#2) and then Bangkok (#3).
  • 43% of Chinese travelers want to explore more of their own country in the coming decade, while 38% want to travel more internationally.

SINGAPORE

Next Decade of Travel

  • 54% of all Singaporeans expect to be able to check into hotel rooms using their mobile phones as the norm, as well as a single app for all their travel needs.
  • 25% of Singaporeans would like to make more eco-friendly choices when traveling.
  • Zurich tops wishlist for Singaporeans in the 2020s. This is followed by Kyoto (#2) and

Osaka (#3) both of which are in Japan.

  • 53% of Singaporeans would like to travel more internationally in the next decade.

AUSTRALIA

Next Decade of Travel

  • 44% of Australian travelers see using their mobile phones to check into hotels as the norm while 39% expect to use a single app for all their travel needs.
  • Australians are in top five to see Passport-free travel become a reality.
  • 17% of travelers from Australia want to make more eco-friendlier travel choices in the coming decade.
  • London tops wishlist for Australians in the 2020s.This is followed by New York (#2) and then Bangkok (#3).
  • 40% of Australians would like to travel more internationally in the next coming decade, 25% would like to spend more time in Australia, and 21% would like to take more solo trips.
  • Interestingly, Australian travelers have London as one of their three top destinations for travel, British travelers have Sydney.

PHILIPPINES  

Next Decade of Travel

  • 53% of Filipino travelers expect to check into hotels using their mobile phones as the norm while 48% expect to be able to use a single app for all their travel needs.
  • 35% of travelers from Philippines aim to make more eco-friendlier travel choices in the next decade.
  • The capital city of Manila tops wishlist for Filipino travelers in the 2020s. This is followed by Seoul (#2) and Kyoto (#3).
  • 45% of travelers from Philippines would like to explore more of their own country in the coming decade while 39% would like to travel more internationally.

UK

Next Decade of Travel

  • 45% of British travelers expect checking into hotels using their mobile phone as the norm.
  • 28% expect to make all their travel bookings using a single app.
  • 17% of travelers from UK aim to make more eco-friendlier choices when traveling in the next decade.
  • New York tops wishlist travelers from the UK in the 2020s. This is followed by Sydney (#2) and Kyoto (#3).
  • 36% British travelers would like to explore more of their own country in the coming decade while 24% would like to travel more internationally.
  • Interestingly, Australian travelers have London as one of their three top destinations for travel, British travelers have Sydney.

USA

Next Decade of Travel

  • 42% of Americans expect to check into hotels using their mobile phones as the norm while 29% expect to use a single app for all their travel needs.
  • 12% of Americans want to make more eco-friendlier choices when traveling in the next decade.
  • New York tops wishlist travelers in the US in the 2020s. This is followed by London (#2) and Sydney (#3).
  • 38% of Americans would like to explore more of their own country in the next decade, while 26% would like to travel more internationally

Malaysia

Next Decade of Travel

  • 58% of Malaysians expect to be able to use their mobile phones for hotel check-ins as the norm, while 53% expect using a single app for all their travel needs.
  • 36% of Malay travelers would like to make more eco-friendlier choices when traveling.
  • The capital city of Kuala Lumpur tops wishlist travelers in Malaysia in the 2020s. This is followed by Makkah (#2) and then Bali (#3).
  • 43% of Malaysians would like to travel more internationally in the next decade, while 40% would like to explore their own country more.

Thailand

Next Decade of Travel

  • Almost half, 49% of Thais anticipate using their mobile phones to check into hotels as the norm, making them one of the highest expectant of this trend.
  • 39% expect to be able to use a single app for all their travel needs.
  • 32% of Thai travelers wish to make more eco-friendlier choices when travelling.
  • The capital city of Bangkok tops wishlist for Thais in the 2020s. This is followed by Kyoto (#2) and then Phuket (#3).
  • 36% of Thai travelers would like to explore more of their own country in the next decade, while 30% would like to travel more internationally.

Taiwan

Next Decade of Travel

  • 50% of Taiwanese travelers expect to use a single app for all their travel needs, while 44% anticipate checking into hotels using their mobile phones to be the norm.
  • 21% of Taiwanese aim to make more eco-friendlier travel choices in the next ten years.
  • The capital city of Taipei tops wishlist of travelers in Taiwan. This is followed by Kyoto (#2) and then Amsterdam (#3).
  • 48% of travelers from Taiwan would like to travel more internationally in the next decade, while 37% would like to explore more of their own country.
  • 29% of Taiwanese travelers would like to take a sabbatical from work or a gap year.

Indonesia

Next Decade of Travel

  • 56% of Indonesian travelers expect a single app to book all travel needs to be a reality in the next decade, while 47% anticipate checking into hotels just by using their mobile phone.
  • Another 39% aim to make more eco-friendlier choices when traveling, making Indonesians one of the highest potential leaders of this change with 26% being the average.
  • Interestingly, Bali tops wishlist of travelers in Indonesia. This is followed by Makkah (#2) and then Borobudur (#3).
  • 39% of Indonesians would like to explore more of their own country.
  • 29% of Indonesians wish to take a sabbatical or gap year.

Vietnam

Next Decade of Travel

  • 43% of travelers from Vietnam expect to check into their hotels using just their mobile phone as the norm.
  • 47% of Vietnamese surveyed want to see Passport-free travel to become a reality, becoming them the highest-ranking country for this travel trend.
  • 36% of Vietnamese travelers would like to make more eco-friendlier choices when traveling.
  • Interestingly, Ho Chi Minh city tops wishlist of travelers in Vietnam. This is followed by Kyoto (#2) and then Bangkok (#3).
  • 49% of Vietnamese travelers would like to explore more of their own country in the coming decade, while 41% would like to travel more internationally.

Japan

Next Decade of Travel

  • 34% of travelers from Japan expect to check into hotels using just their mobile phones as the norm.
  • 24% of Japanese travelers anticipate driver/buggy service to be available at airports, becoming the highest expectant market for this travel trend.
  • 7% of Japanese travelers would like to make more eco-friendlier travel choices
  • Interestingly, Kyoto city tops wishlist of travelers in Japan in the 2020s. This is followed by Paris (#2) and then New York (#3).
  • 62% of Japanese travelers would like to explore more of their own country, while 23% would like to travel more internationally.
  • 18% of Japanese travelers would like to take more solo trips.

Korea

Next Decade of Travel

  • 47% of Korean travelers expect to check into hotels using just their mobile phones as the norm, while 40% expect to book all their travel needs using a single app.
  • 19% of Koreans aim to make more eco-friendlier choices in the next decade.
  • New York city tops wishlist of travelers from Korea in the 2020s. This is followed by Barcelona (#2) and then Brisbane (#3).
  • 48% of Korean travelers expect to travel internationally more often, while 42% wish to explore more of their own country.
  • 22% of Koreans would like to take more solo trips in the coming decade.

About the travel data

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Singapore PTE Limited. Total sample size was 16,383 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 12 December 2019 and 18 December 2019. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of adults in the respective countries (aged 18+).

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