The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and Save the Children Dominican Republic have launched a new challenge to promote the development of educational ideas and experiences through the tourism sector in Central America and the Caribbean.
The challenge seeks innovative and technological proposals in ‘Early Stage’ development that offer new educational opportunities through the tourism sector. The challenge has two categories:
- New technologies: People or startups that promote the use of technology to provide solutions to the tourism and education sector.
- Local impact: People or startups that promote transformation and social improvement, and that belong to the tourism and education sector.
According to Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization, Zurab Pololikashvili, “tourism is a leading provider of opportunities for young people throughout Central America and the Caribbean, and innovation and new technologies can help us reach more young people, allowing them to benefit as tourism returns to the region.”
“For our organization, the launch of this challenge represents a unique opportunity to capitalize on the potential of the tourism sector in our country and the region, thus generating innovation in favor of childhood education with a high social impact,” says Juan Tomás Díaz, President Save the Children Dominicana.
Tourism for the SDGs
Projects must be aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the United Nations. Additionally, they must be framed in one (or several) of the following areas:
- The management of destinations or the private management of solutions/products/services developed around and education as tourism and education products;
- Seeking a balance between sustainable development and the profitability of the project, maximizing its positive impacts.
- The connection with the market and the user experience in all phases of the journey.
Applications are open until 25 June, 2022. The winning projects will be selected based on several criteria, such as the degree of innovation, and its viability and sustainability. The winners will be invited to the Tourism Tech Adventure in the Dominican Republic that will take place in November 2022.
Tourism education for empowerment
Tourism is one of the largest sectors in the world, accounting for more than 4% of direct global GDP in 2019. In the Americas, the contribution of tourism to regional GDP fell from 3.4% to 1.6% during the pandemic. Central America and the Caribbean represent 4.8% of global international arrivals, and reflect the potential in all tourism sub-sectors, and their needs for good training and education.
After the effects of COVID-19, this sector is reinventing itself to achieve more responsible, innovative and accessible tourism. The pandemic has also disrupted education systems around the world, highlighting that digital learning must become an essential service available to all. This means that all children and young people have access to first-rate digital solutions that facilitate personalized learning and open the doors to a better future.
UNWTO supports digital education and innovation initiatives promoted by Startups and small and medium-sized enterprises, which will play a leading role in the revival of tourism in the coming years.