5.4 Co-Designing Strategies for a Sustainable Future: UNWTO

This case study provides you with a comprehensive understanding of how innovation and start-up ecosystems can be a catalyst for sustainable development in tourism.

In this keynote, Natalia Bayona, Director of Innovation, Education, and Investment at UNWTO, highlights the importance of supporting innovation and thriving start-up ecosystems to lead a technology-driven sustainable tourism sector.

Innovation and Start-up Ecosystems

This case study provides you with a comprehensive understanding of how innovation and start-up ecosystems can be a catalyst for sustainable development in tourism.

In this keynote, Natalia Bayona, Director of Innovation, Education, and Investment at UNWTO, highlights the importance of supporting innovation and thriving start-up ecosystems to lead a technology-driven sustainable tourism sector.

Key takeaways:

  • Sustainability is not just an environmental issue but encompasses ethical issues, inclusivity and the economy.
  • Digitalisation represents an opportunity to educate and expand existing skillsets amongst your team in order to reach full potential.
  • Innovation is not just about the use of technology but about developing more efficient business models.
  • It is essential to support start-up ecosystems to grow as a technology-driven sustainable sector by connecting businesses with governments, ensuring investments and facilitating networking opportunities.

Natalia introduces the talk by sharing that if we work together on 5 priorities, we can successfully change tourism into a more sustainable sector.

The first priority is everything regarding sustainability itself. 40% of the Mediterranean's waste of 2020 was produced in August alone, the most important month for the European travel season. If we want tourism back again, the clear objective here would be to create new platforms to develop more segmented marketing in order to avoid such large crowds and actively combat over-tourism. Sustainability isn't just an environmental issue though, it involves ethics and inclusion: it's about working with communities in order to act as a driver for a better future and better tourism, creating new ways for investors to give back to the communities during uncertain times.

Digital tourism has to be paired with strong digital education: in this context, creating digital platforms allowing for growth is crucial. The UNWTO curated its own online academy with the belief of scaling the quality of education alongside empowering content and spokespeople to bring back information to add value. This initiative reflects the need to give opportunities that empower in order to develop a broader skill set within the industry.

Innovation is not just about the use of technology but about developing more efficient business models. Currently, only 5% of start-ups in the world specialise in tourism: the UNWTO aim is to help the tourism ecosystem and innovators to grow as a more efficient business model in a technology-driven sector. To achieve this, they run start-up competitions in over 150 countries, with over 15,400 participants. It's not just about participants though, it's about connecting with governments, ensuring investments, and networking.

Investments are part of the daily business when it comes to recovering tourism too. Financial support though has to be placed in businesses that provide a wider scope: if we want to enact the change we have to make sure to carry on that effect.

Finally, we must consider employment. The tourism and hospitality sectors provide plenty of jobs and opportunities to grow: here comes the challenge to provide workers with the right skills. The UNWTO aims to help train these people in order to widen their skillsets in fields such as data analytics and artificial intelligence.

In this keynote, Natalia Bayona, Director of Innovation, Education, and Investment at UNWTO, highlights the importance of supporting innovation and thriving start-up ecosystems to lead a technology-driven sustainable tourism sector.

Innovation and Start-up Ecosystems

This case study provides you with a comprehensive understanding of how innovation and start-up ecosystems can be a catalyst for sustainable development in tourism.

In this keynote, Natalia Bayona, Director of Innovation, Education, and Investment at UNWTO, highlights the importance of supporting innovation and thriving start-up ecosystems to lead a technology-driven sustainable tourism sector.

Key takeaways:

  • Sustainability is not just an environmental issue but encompasses ethical issues, inclusivity and the economy.
  • Digitalisation represents an opportunity to educate and expand existing skillsets amongst your team in order to reach full potential.
  • Innovation is not just about the use of technology but about developing more efficient business models.
  • It is essential to support start-up ecosystems to grow as a technology-driven sustainable sector by connecting businesses with governments, ensuring investments and facilitating networking opportunities.

Natalia introduces the talk by sharing that if we work together on 5 priorities, we can successfully change tourism into a more sustainable sector.

The first priority is everything regarding sustainability itself. 40% of the Mediterranean's waste of 2020 was produced in August alone, the most important month for the European travel season. If we want tourism back again, the clear objective here would be to create new platforms to develop more segmented marketing in order to avoid such large crowds and actively combat over-tourism. Sustainability isn't just an environmental issue though, it involves ethics and inclusion: it's about working with communities in order to act as a driver for a better future and better tourism, creating new ways for investors to give back to the communities during uncertain times.

Digital tourism has to be paired with strong digital education: in this context, creating digital platforms allowing for growth is crucial. The UNWTO curated its own online academy with the belief of scaling the quality of education alongside empowering content and spokespeople to bring back information to add value. This initiative reflects the need to give opportunities that empower in order to develop a broader skill set within the industry.

Innovation is not just about the use of technology but about developing more efficient business models. Currently, only 5% of start-ups in the world specialise in tourism: the UNWTO aim is to help the tourism ecosystem and innovators to grow as a more efficient business model in a technology-driven sector. To achieve this, they run start-up competitions in over 150 countries, with over 15,400 participants. It's not just about participants though, it's about connecting with governments, ensuring investments, and networking.

Investments are part of the daily business when it comes to recovering tourism too. Financial support though has to be placed in businesses that provide a wider scope: if we want to enact the change we have to make sure to carry on that effect.

Finally, we must consider employment. The tourism and hospitality sectors provide plenty of jobs and opportunities to grow: here comes the challenge to provide workers with the right skills. The UNWTO aims to help train these people in order to widen their skillsets in fields such as data analytics and artificial intelligence.