The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and Sommet Education are calling on career climbers and switchers, entrepreneurs and innovators to put themselves forward for the joint “Hospitality Challenge”. The initiative, which closes at the end of the month, will grant 30 scholarships for world class education programmes that will allow winners to develop themselves and their projects and so help drive tourism’s recovery.
Around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought tourism to a standstill. Now, as the sector restarts, UNWTO is welcoming applications from individuals with ideas capable of accelerating recovery while promoting inclusivity and sustainability. With the competition closing on 30 August, the United Nations specialized agency has issued a final call for applications from both established tourism professionals and those new to the sector.
“The tourism sector is a source of employment for many millions. Jobs in tourism provide opportunity, empowerment, and equality, including for women, youth and people living in rural communities,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili. “As we restart tourism, the time is right to rethink hospitality, and to identify and implement new ideas to make the sector more inclusive and sustainable. The UNWTO Hospitality Challenge will do just this.”
Sustainability and scalability key priorities
Selection criteria include the degree of disruptiveness, project maturity and potential for implementation, as well as viability, scalability, digitalization, sustainability, and the potential to attract the interest of investors. The competition will focus on four different categories:
- Luxury travels, goods and services
- Hotels and hotel related operations: small to medium sized properties, family businesses
- Food and Beverage: restaurants, Catering, delivery services and retail
- Smart Real Estate: small to medium sized properties and family businesses
“Education is the foundation of a more hospitable world,” said Benoit-Etienne Domenget, Chief Executive Officer at Sommet Education. “Offering scholarships is a contribution to the recovery of the hospitality economy, by accelerating the personal development of talented people with creative views and to support their vision to revamp hospitality.”
The competition is open now and will close at the end of August. A Selection Committee made up of an international network of investors, entrepreneurs and experts from UNWTO Member, Affiliate Members and strategic allies, as well as from representatives of Sommet Education, will then choose 30 finalists.
The finalists will be eligible for full scholarships in 15 different programmes in Hospitality, Culinary and Pastry Arts Management, (Bachelors, Masters, MBAs) offered in the world-class academic institutions of Sommet Education: Glion Institute of Higher Education in Switzerland and London, Les Roches Crans-Montana in Switzerland, Les Roches Marbella in Spain and École Ducasse in France. Among the 30 winners, the top three most innovative entrepreneurial projects will be granted funding to support their initial development from Eurazeo.