Press Release


Wakalua, the First Global Tourism Innovation Hub, Launched by Globalia in Collaboration with the UNWTO

Location: 
Madrid, España
PR No.: 
PR19005
22 Jan 19
  • Its main objective is to support and discover startups and innovative projects that aim to transform the tourism sector

Madrid, Spain, 22 January 2019. The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in collaboration with The Globalia group, has launched Wakalua, the first global tourism innovation hub. After the success of the first and largest worldwide call for tourism startups, the 1st UNWTO Tourism Startup Competition, the leading tourism group in Latin America and Spain, has once again partnered with the UN agency responsible for leading tourism as a vehicle for sustainable development, to give life to one of its most ambitious projects, with an emphasis on sustainable innovation. 

Wakalua was created to support and discover startups and innovative projects, in order to co-create initiatives involving the different actors of the sector, and collaborate in the transformation of the tourism sector. The company that wins the 1st UNWTO Tourism Startup Competition and the rest of the finalists will be the first "residents" of this hub, where they will have the opportunity to bring their innovative projects to life. Wakalua is located in Barrabés Growth Space, the space that innovation consultancy Barrabes.biz (which is also collaborating in this pioneering idea-development centre) has devoted to startups and open innovation projects.

The launch event, which took place today at Barrabés Growth Space, was attended by UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili and Globalia CEO Javier Hidalgo, as well as a large contingent of tourism ministers from many of the countries that will be present at the International Tourism Fair (Fitur).

"For me and my team, it is a source of great satisfaction to see how Wakalua has finally come to life and to witness this moment alongside the UNWTO, which has been a tremendous companion on this journey. Undoubtedly, this is a historic moment that will mark a new era in the sector, foster its growth and promote its sustainable development through tourism innovation," said Javier Hidalgo. "Wakalua was created with the aim of becoming a collaborative space at the international level, which will give rise to innovation projects related to all the factors that make tourism one of the most dynamic sectors of the world economy."

"Thanks to the collaboration between the UNWTO and Globalia, with the inestimable support of Barrabés, we have placed tourism on the innovation map, where it deserves a special position because it is at the forefront of innovative business models, supply-and-demand relationships and job-creation.  It is one of the few sectors that grows year after year around the world and is uniquely resilient," said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili.

The winner among the 10 finalist projects of the 1st UNWTO Tourism Startup Competition will be announced tomorrow during an event to be held within the framework of Fitur.

 

Contacts:

UNWTO Communications Department

Tel: (+34) 91 567 8100 / Fax: +34 91 567 8218 / comm@unwto.org

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