SECOND EDITION FINALISTS of Global Tourism Start-up Competition, 2019, has been selected. It is an initiative by World Tourism Organisation, UNWTO, in collaboration with Globalia, a leading tourism group in Spain and Latin America. They are dedicated to identifying start-ups that will drive the transformation of the world tourism sector. Second year running, it is UNWTO’s world largest start-ups completion in tourism, boosted by Wakalua, a global tourism innovative hub.

The global tourism sector is being position to lead in inclusive growth, jobs creation, poverty reduction, and enhancement of sustainable economic development. Tourism sector accounts for 10% of the world’s GDP.  The potentials in global tourism will significantly impact on investments, development of infrastructure, exports, job creation and promotion of social inclusion.

Tourism’s cross-sectoral nature, is seen as having high capacity that will stimulate entrepreneurship. It will grow micro, small and medium enterprises, MSMEs, which start-ups are being motivated to take advantage, so as to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals, SDG, of United Nations.

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 start-ups for further development. Provide support in order to establish links with leading companies in the sector. Innovation consulting firm, Barrabés.biz, is also a partner in making the project possible.


The competition’s first two editions, by Wakalua, powered by Globalia, collaborating with World Tourism Organization, received proposals from nearly 5,000 start-ups, from 150 countries. The countries with the highest number of projects submitted are Spain, followed by India, United States, Portugal, Nigeria and Colombia.

The two organisations have been working on the project since 2018, when the first edition was launched. The second edition features start-ups 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, Wakalua headquarters, in Madrid. Seven will win awards in their respective categories.

NIGERIA is one of the most beautiful and tailor-made tourists destinations in the world. It has huge and scintillating tourism potentials. Some of the tourists destinations ranked highest tourist attractions. Yet, several other tourists destinations in the country are either, undiscovered, under-developed or undeveloped.


Wakalua will host the winning start-ups for further development. It will provide support to links the winning start-ups 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:  This category has the backing of Amadeus. The aim of this category is to select the best start-up 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:  In 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: In this category, 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: In this category, Globalia, the powering company, 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.

Finally, IE Africa Center will recognise two projects in terms of social impact in Africa.  They will be awarded  “Social Innovation Retreat Scholarship”, Sun Cycles Namibia, and, Enjoy Agriculture Senegal, presenting their initiatives.  The winner of Travel Tech 4 Good accelerator, in collaboration with Tui Care Foundation and Enpact, Halla Travel, will present its start-up.