The 4th Africa Youth in Tourism Innovation Challenge 2022 is open for entries

Johannesburg, Monday, 11 April 2022

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Africa Tourism Partners and its strategic partners, UNWTO and BDO South Africa have launched the 4th Africa Youth in Tourism Innovation Challenge 2022. This challenge is a key pillar of the Africa Youth in Tourism Innovation Summit scheduled to take place in Namibia and hosted by the Namibia Ministry of Environment, from 27-29 July 2022.

The 4th Innovation Challenge aims to empower African youth between the ages of 18 and 35 years by providing business partnerships, market access, networking & mentorship platforms and funding solutions from the global marketplace including UNWTO, Namibia Business enterprises, private sector, social entrepreneurs, start-ups travel, fintech entrepreneurs and ATP networks.

Innovation has and will continue to play a key role post the Covid-19 pandemic and as such, the Africa Tourism Innovation Challenge remains a distinctive platform that calls for innovative youth who are running innovative solution-driven projects that go beyond technology but are related to the travel and tourism industry to submit their projects for review and adjudication by a pre-eminent panel of adjudicators. As part of the program, shortlisted innovators are introduced to industry leaders and potential partners for mentorship and support. The winner of the Africa Tourism Innovation Challenge will receive a US$1,000 seed grant, whilst 1st & 2nd runners-up receive US$500, among several benefits.

Speaking during the announcement of the 2022 4th Africa Youth in Tourism Innovation Challenge, the Chairperson of the Innovation Challenge, Barry Clemens said: “Entrepreneurship and innovation are what moves industries and economies. The youth do not get enough support to fully drive their great innovative ideas to fruition. As such, these types of programs are essential to encourage and assist the development of ideas that have made it past the basic stage and ensure they come to a monetised stage and drive job creation and increase the tax base of a country which in turn improves opportunities for full communities”.

Ms. Natalia Bayona, Director of Innovation, Education and Investments at UNWTO stressed that empowering youth through entrepreneurship is one of the keys to creating more added value jobs and modernize the tourism model through innovation. “Only 5% of the worldwide unicorns are focused on tourism, so there is a strong opportunity to create new start-ups and grow in new niches such as gastronomy, wellness, events tourism & hospitality industry”.

One of the Innovation Challenge judges, Professor Keolebogile Motaung said, “Entrepreneurs change the world by solving big and small problems and creating jobs and skills development. They also contribute to the socioeconomic of the country. Hence having this program is very important.” The entry criteria of the Challenge include the vision, uniqueness, authenticity and rationale, evidence of innovation in travel & tourism or related industry challenges being solved in Africa, sustainability of the impact of the project on travel and tourism, local communities and/or related industries, timelines for the project, the kind of support required and provision of a demo/Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

Selected top 5 candidates will be required to present 5 minutes demo to the judges for selection of the winner, first and second runner up at the Africa Youth in Tourism Innovation Summit and Challenge scheduled for 27-29 July 2022 in Namibia. The Finals of the Innovation Challenge will be held in Botswana on the margins of the annual Africa Tourism Leadership Forum (ATLF) and Awards to be held in November 2022.

The 2021 and 3rd edition of the Africa Youth in Tourism Innovation Summit and Challenge was held in Accra, Ghana under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, the Ghana Tourism Authority in collaboration with Africa Tourism Partners, UNWTO and BDO. The event attracted over 200 physical delegates and above 1,600 online participants from across the globe.

Considering the above, a call is being made to all game-changers in innovation in Africa to enter the challenge. The deadline for submission is 25 May 2022. For more information, contact: [email protected]