Coastruction in the Netherlands, Noytrall in Portugal, SmArt Tourism and Hospitality Consulting in Panama, WeavAir in Singapore and Kamatjona in Namibia. These start-ups are the 2023 winners of the "Awake Tourism Challenge" competition organised by the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).
The second cohort of the Awake Tourism Challenge has been selected. This competition on sustainable tourism organised by the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has just unveiled its 15 winners, including the start-up Kamatjona in Namibia. In front of several companies such as Coastruction in the Netherlands, Noytrall in Portugal, SmArt Tourism and Hospitality Consulting in Panama, the Namibian start-up created in 2019 seduced the UN jury for its digital solutions in terms of enhancing the wildlife and floral potential of the city of Windhoek.
“More than 2,000 applications from 120 countries around the world were evaluated based on their ability to contribute to the development of an inclusive, resilient and sustainable tourism sector. The selected start-ups have the capacity and flexibility to transform the sector by aligning it with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We will support them as they grow in size and influence,” says Zurab Pololikashvili, UNWTO Secretary-General.
The winners of the Awake Tourism Challenge will benefit from a series of training courses on the ecological transition at the UNWTO Online Tourism Academy (UNTWO), in addition to networking activities jointly financed by the Spanish multinational Ávoris, which specializes in mass tourism, particularly in Latin America, the American foundation Mastercard and the global technology giant Google via its Google for Startups platform, launched in 2011.
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For this 2023 edition, the UNWTO’s criteria focused on the green economy, the blue economy, women’s empowerment and “technology for monitoring the environmental impact of tourism activity”. While the award of the Namibian start-up Kamatjona honours Africa, sustainable tourism still has its obstacles on the continent. This is particularly true in North Africa, where horses and camels are still used to transport tourists around the pyramids. These animals suffer beatings, dehydration, under-nutrition and lack of care, according to a survey published in 2019 by the Asia branch of the association People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).