1st UNWTO Global Tourism and Sports Startup Competition 2019

1st UNWTO Global Tourism and Sports Startup Competition 2019

Deadline: August 15, 2019

Are you a startup focussed on improving & innovating the Sports Tourism market? The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), in collaboration with Futbol Club Barcelona, presents the 1st UNWTO Sports Tourism Start-up CompetitionIt is a global initiative that aims to identify startups with the greatest potential to outline the future and promote sustainable innovation in the sports & tourism sector.

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism. As the leading international organization in the field of tourism, UNWTO promotes tourism as a driver of economic growth, inclusive development and environmental sustainability and offers leadership and support to the sector in advancing knowledge and tourism policies worldwide.

Prizes and Benefits

  • 20 selected start-ups will be shortlisted by a panel of international experts and stakeholders from the Sports & Tourism sectors (public and private sector, academia and civil society)
  • The 5 finalist start-ups will have the opportunity to pitch their idea to a panel of experts, governments, industry leaders and international investors who will attend the Mobile World Congress (MWC) to be held in Barcelona on 25-28 February 2019.
  • The winning company will have the possibility to make its mark on the international stage and increase the impact of its start-up with the help of FC Barcelona experts with a customized mentoring programme and the possibility of participating Barça Innovation HUB.
  • The winning company will have the opportunity to design a pilot project with FC Barcelona and implement it with the help of its network.


They are looking for startups with most disruptive ideas focused on solving real needs in the tourism and gastronomy sector with a responsible approach.

In particular, they are targeting startups that are:

  • In the Early Stage or Series A Stage
  • Both for-profit and non-profit
  • Natural or legal persons
  • Startups with a minimum viable product (MVP)
  • Startups with potential for scalability
  • Startups with a sustainable vision

Evaluation Criteria

The projects must be aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations and the introduction or adaptation of digital and technological elements, and focused on one (or several) of the following areas:

  1. Destination management or private management of solutions/products/services developed around Sports as Inclusive Tourism products.
  2. Supply-side configuration seeking balance between sustainable development and the profitability of the project, maximizing the positive impacts on the community and environment.
  3. Connection with the market and the user experience in all phases of the trip.
  4. New ways to use technology resources in sports and its involvement in developing Smart Cities.

The projects will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Innovation and disruptiveness: They are looking for startups with a project/product/service proposal that will disrupt the sector by introducing new concepts not yet identified in the gastronomic tourism industry
  • Potential impact and scalability: They are looking for startups with a sound business model that has the potential for scalability in another environment/market/region making it feasible to increase and grow its social, technological and economic impact.
  • Initially validated or tested business model: They are looking for startups in growth or seed stages that have tested their idea and have a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) tested in a real market.
  • Suitable and committed team: They are looking for startups that have an entrepreneurial team suited to the needs and characteristics of the project, with high motivation, interest and commitment to its development.
  • Partnership Readiness: They are looking for startups that have experience in the co-development of products/services and interest in accessing collaborations with partners in the sector.
  • Sustainability in the value proposition: They are looking for startups that integrate sustainability into the business model of the project, taking special care of the relationship between culture, heritage, gastronomy, tourism and economic growth.
  • Technological or digital component: They are looking for startups in which a technological or digital component is embedded in the business model.


Send them your project.

Click here to apply.

For more information, visit UNWTO Sports Tourism Start-up Competition.