Twistic and WeavAIR Win UN Tourism’s Global Startup Hospitality Challenge – Travel And Tour World

Over 120 entrepreneurs from almost 70 countries globally have showcased their projects in a UN Tourism and Infecar-sponsored startup competition, focusing on technological advancements and innovative solutions for the tourism industry, particularly in hotel services and new business models. This competition has successfully concluded by selecting ten global finalists and two winning startups, Twistic and WeavAIR.

These participants took part in the UN Tourism Tech Adventures on February 19 and 20, as part of DigiON, the Canary Islands Business Digitalization Show, held on the picturesque island of Gran Canaria, Spain. The event was a hub of innovation, where the startups pitched their ideas and interacted with leading figures in the industry, including Social Hub, Amadeus, Kerten Hospitality, the Hague School of Hospitality, Atlantis Tecnología y Sistemas, Minor Hotels, the TUI Group, and the Canary Islands Hospitality and Tourism Business Federation.

The aim of the challenge by UN Tourism and Infecar was to foster a transformative wave in the tourism industry, championing sustainability and innovation as key catalysts for change. The competition focused on uncovering solutions that could redefine the hotel industry and discover new business models, in a sector that reported a staggering US$1.4 trillion in international tourism revenue last year, attracting an estimated 1286 million international tourists.

For Natalia Bayona, Executive Director of UN Tourism: “From a pool of 120 startups from over 70 countries, the competition received technological and AI-driven solutions that are aimed at revolutionizing hotels and forging new sustainable business models. I would like to congratulate the 10 entrepreneurs that were selected as finalists and will be accompanied for further opportunities via our UN Tourism Innovation Network. They are vital within the ever-evolving hospitality sector, redefining the tourism landscape with their disruptive approaches!”

The finalists not only gained personalized support and mentoring from UN Tourism and its partners but also the opportunity to join the UN specialized agency’s Innovation Network in the tourism sector. Furthermore, in alignment with UN Tourism’s educational commitments, the finalists had the chance to receive scholarships for the Tourism Online Academy. This leading online education platform, hosting over 25,000 students from 150 countries, caters to the educational needs of those working in or aspiring to join the tourism industry.

Introducing the Top Startups

In the Digital Hospitality and New Business Models category, the Spanish enterprise Twistic emerged victorious. Twistic is on a mission to revolutionize the customer experience with innovations like mobile apps, digital signatures, and electronic tags. Finalists included the Czech startup Schulering, which has developed a professional platform fostering connections within the hospitality industry through education, and the American startup Everhost, aiming to make guests feel at home upon reaching their destinations. Also recognized were Sparkle Haze from the UAE, with its focus on leveraging big data and AI to enhance user experiences and ensure guest safety, and the Tunisian startup Ostel Flow, which provides cloud-based next-gen solutions.

In the Sustainability Impact category, Canada’s WeavAIR was highlighted for its commitment to business intelligence solutions and remote auditing utilizing satellite networks and IoT. The competition saw finalists like Senange Eco, a sustainability consultancy aiding companies in their journey towards Sustainable Development Goals; Hotels for Trees from the Netherlands, which plants a tree for every guest who opts out of daily room cleaning; the Spanish firm Effiwaste, dedicated to eliminating organic waste in the HORECA sector through SAAS measurement; and Purple Elephant Ventures from Nairobi, Kenya, a venture firm that conceives innovative sustainable tourism technology startups.

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