In June 2020, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and Sommet Education launched the Hospitality Challenge. A challenge designed to identify ideas and personalities capable of accelerating the recovery of the tourism sector at the time of the pandemic caused by COVID-19.
The initiative received almost 600 entries from around the world. The top 30 finalists will receive a full scholarship for master’s, MBA, and graduate courses, as well as specializations in 30 different Hospitality, Cooking, and Pastry programs. These programs take place in the internationally recognized institutions of the Sommet Education Group: Glion Institute of Higher Education, Les Roches, and École Ducasse.
The scholarships aim to accelerate the personal development of talented personalities who will be the “builders” of Hotelaria do Amanhã. Bringing the registered projects to life and increasing their chances of impacting the tourism sector has been driving this challenge. The three most enterprising projects among the 30 winners will receive starting capital from Eurazeo, the leading global investment group to which Sommet Education belongs.
Of the 600 entries, about 40% were sent from the Americas, followed by Europe (30%), Africa and the Middle East (both 20%), and Asia and the Pacific (more than 10%).
The Hospitality Challenge focused on four categories. The Hotels and Hotel Related Operations category was the most popular, receiving around 40% of all proposals, followed by the Luxury Travel, Goods and Services category (35%), the Food and Beverages category, right afterward (15%) and, finally, the Smart Real Estate category (10%).
The disaggregation of the different categories demonstrates a strong interest in improving the operation of hotels through their social impact, with many projects aimed at reducing unemployment and better managing teams
Among the four categories, four trends emerged that reveal current concerns: waste reduction and sustainability, jobs and education, security, and experience in the travel sector, as well as revenue and productivity.
Almost 50% of the projects meet Goal 8 of Sustainable Development – Decent Work and Economic Growth. Many projects also offer new perspectives on the response to COVID-19.
A large number of high-quality projects promote inclusion and sustainability to reinvent Hotelaria do Amanhã also present new ideas for the tourism sector. Allowing tourism, hospitality, and travel to continue to contribute to the global socio-economic recovery.
World Tourism Organization and Sommet Education would like to thank all participants, innovators, and entrepreneurs for their enthusiasm and contributions to the Hospitality Challenge, and congratulate the 30 selected finalists.
WTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “Tomorrow’s tourism must embrace new ideas, new voices, and all the diversity that the sector has to offer. This competition highlights the best that tourism and hospitality at a global level has to offer. It shows how innovators from around the world can keep tourism and travel at the forefront of sustainable development and as an engine of positive change for all”.
Benoît-Etienne Domenget, CEO of Sommet Education, adds: “We are excited to receive so many diverse talents at our institutions in the coming year. The variety of backgrounds and profiles will be a source of creativity and will bring new perspectives to everyone”.