COVID-19 has brought the hospitality sector to its knees, slashing occupancy rates, halting expansion plans and putting upwards of 100 million jobs into question. As 2020 enters the second half of the year and everyone begins to think of how to move forward, Sommet Education and UNTWO are looking for new ideas to stimulate the industry’s recovery in a post-pandemic world.Applicants to the Hospitality Challenge are expected to think of how to promote inclusivity and sustainability in the sector, judged on their degree of disruptiveness, project maturity and potential of implementation, as well as viability, scalability, digitalisation, sustainability and potential to pull in investors.
The competition will focus on four categories: luxury travel, goods and services; hotels and hotel-related operations; food and beverage and smart real estate.UNWTO secretary-general Zurab Pololikashvili said: “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. 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.”
Sommet Education CEO Benoit-Etienne Domenget added: “This crisis presents us with an opportunity to reconcile visions of the world that have been too long opposed to invent the hospitality of tomorrow. We believe education is the foundation of a more hospitable world. Offering scholarships is a contribution to the recovery of the hospitality economy, by accelerating the personal development of talented people with creative views, supporting their vision and 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 members, affiliate members and strategic allies, as well as from representatives of Sommet Education, will then choose 30 finalists.
The 30 finalists will be eligible for full scholarships in 15 different programmes in Hospitality, Culinary and Pastry Arts Management, (Bachelors, Masters, MBAs) offered in the 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.