Deadline: 15 October 2022

Tourism is resilient. While it has been one of the most impacted sectors by global crisis, it has also demonstrated its potential as a major force of recovery.

Now, with an accelerated digital transformation and technology adoption throughout the tourism value chain, the sector stands out as a leader for responding to the toughest challenges.

At the same time, youth has proven its capacity to come up with technology, social impact, and sustainability solutions. However, they need concrete support to keep their energy and unleash all their projects’ benefits.

For this reason, UNWTO calls for a joint effort amongst stakeholders and launches the Awake Tourism Challenge seeking to find the most innovative startups that are working to advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.


Startups from all walks of life, from all over the world and all economic sectors are invited to participate if meeting the following criteria:

  • Be innovative in nature providing value-added solutions
  • Be sustainability-driven
  • Be scalable: to have potential for international growth and potential to be applied in corporations and destinations (countries, regions)
  • Be an Early Stage or Series A startup
  • Introduction or adoption of digital and technological elements
  • Have a tested pilot and business plan
  • Have been accelerated before
  • Have a full-time team including at least 2 members under 35 years.
  • Gender balance will be also considered

All ways of innovation are welcome: technology, social impact, and sustainability solutions.


  • Local community involvement
  • Green and blue economies
  • Ecological and Sustainable Capital Creation
  • Tourism Tech for Good
  • Tourism Education
  • Women Empowerment


Benefits for winning startups include but are not limited to:

  • Pitch at a UNWTO Demo Day
  • Curated mentorship programme including one-on-one and in-group sessions focused on Intellectual Property (IP), sustainability, business and leadership.
  • Connection to the UNWTO Innovation Network for meeting public and private stakeholders to explore funding and piloting opportunities.
  • Potential matchmaking with partners to scale up the startups, including investors, corporations and governments.


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