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UNWTO launches sports tourism startup competition |

Travel and Tourism

UNWTO launches sports tourism startup competition

Catherine Talavera - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is stressing the importance of the sports tourism sector as it eyes to further develop the tourism product.

“Increasing demand from tourists and the growing influence of sports on destinations’ popularity have combined to make sports tourism one of the segments with the greatest potential for socioeconomic development opportunities, attracting growing levels of government interest,” the UNWTO said in a statement.

In line with this, the UNWTO is partnering with the Barça Innovation Hub (BIHUB) with the support of the Qatar National Tourism Council (QNTC) to launch the first UNWTO Sports Tourism Start-up Competition.

“The initiative is designed to identify projects and innovations that can transform the sports tourism sector in the near future,” the UNWTO said.

The competition aims to look for start-ups with disruptive ideas focused on solving real needs and addressing knowledge gaps in the growing sports tourism sector.

“We are pleased to be partnering with the Barça Innovation Hub to harness the potential of sports tourism to stimulate creativity, innovation and sustainable growth,” UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili said.

“Through this competition, start-ups with disruptive visions can propose new ideas that will allow the sports tourism sector to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals,” he added.

A total of 20 start-ups will be shortlisted by a panel of international experts and sports and tourism stakeholders, drawn from the public and private sectors, academia and civil society.

The panel will then select five semi-finalists who will all be invited to Barcelona to pitch their ideas to sports experts, government representatives, tourism business leaders and international investors.

“We are very pleased to work with UNWTO to develop tourism in relation to the sports industry, a growing sector, and identify companies with the talents to help achieve this,” BIHUB director Marta Plana said.

“We want to make Barcelona the Silicon Valley of the sports industry and to use our experience as a tourist attraction, with the FC Barcelona museum the most visited in the Catalan region and more than 4 million people visiting our ground every year,” Plana added.

Visit for full information on the competition.

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