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3rd Annual “Social Entrepreneurship Competition in Tourism” Launches

Supporting social tourism entrepreneurs in times of crisis

Berlin, 15 March, 2021 – The third annual Social Entrepreneurship Competition in Tourism was launched on 9 March at ITB Berlin NOW in partnership with the TUI Care Foundation.

The Social Entrepreneurship Competition in Tourism is the first and only worldwide competition focusing on social innovation and entrepreneurship in tourism and hospitality.

By giving social entrepreneurs from around the world access to expertise and international visibility, the competition aims to empower entrepreneurs and communities in travel destinations, accelerate their growth and provide them with access to market. Given the current global challenges due to COVID-19, the focus of this year’s competition will be on supporting social tourism entrepreneurs in their efforts to help the sector recover and shape a sustainable future for tourism in their destination.

Founded in 2019 by Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development (HNEE), ITB Berlin, Berlin Travel Festival and Travel Massive, upon the initiative of Professor Dr. Claudia Brözel, the two previous competitions attracted applications from over 50 countries around the world. In addition to the TUI Care Foundation, the 2021 edition is also supported by the UNWTO and the Social Innovation Academy (SINA), based in Uganda. SINA will provide mentoring and coaching for up to ten finalists, who will receive ten weeks of both one-to-one and peer-to-peer support, which will focus on pitch training, human-centred design, business modelling, and impact measurement.

Professor Dr. Claudia Brözel explains: “After successful competitions in 2019 and 2020, we’re thrilled to have gained three new partners in the TUI Care Foundation, the UNWTO and SINA that will each bring their networks and competence to this third round of the competition. Due to the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the worldwide travel industry, the 2021 focus of the Social Entrepreneurship Competition in Tourism will be on tourism recovery and the opportunities it creates to change business structures and restart with fresh ideas.”

Thomas Ellerbeck, Chairman of the TUI Care Foundation: "Empowering innovative entrepreneurs to tackle the pressing issues of poverty, gender equality and the climate crisis is the focus of this competition and reflects the mission of the TUI Care Foundation. The aim of the Social Entrepreneurship Competition in Tourism is to promote local entrepreneurial solutions to global challenges. The travel sector will return to its previous level of successful development once the pandemic is over – so now we have the chance to ensure that the industry will come back more sustainably and have an even more positive impact on local communities in destinations.”

ITB Berlin, Travel Massive and the Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development are supporting the competition for the third year in a row and are also part of the international jury.

Supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals

The structure of the competition follows the spirit of the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals and seeks to support the achievement of Quality Education, Gender Equality, Decent Work and Economic Growth, and Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure.

Specifically, the competition addresses point 8.9, which reads: “By 2030, devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products.”

Applications for the 2021 edition can be submitted in two categories (Launch Track for not yet implemented ideas and Growth Track to grow existing projects) and will be due by April 30, 2021. A special focus will be on in-destination solutions as related to the COVID-19 pandemic. A final evaluation will be conducted by an international jury, and an online award ceremony will take place in September 2021. Monetary and in-kind prizes will be awarded to the winners in both categories.

Previous Winners Tackle Both Global and Local Issues

In 2019, WeView, a virtual sightseeing platform secured first place in the Ideas category while Frutas y Verduras, a culinary program in Mexico supporting indigenous people and culture, topped the list of existing projects.

In 2020, Get Up and Go Colombia won in the Social Startups and Projects category with its initiatives in communities most affected by armed conflict in Colombia, while Change Through Traveling, a Brazil-based initiative creating a membership club that allows travellers to support communities in the lead-up to their trip, took first prize in the Ideas category.

Meet our previous winner at TravelMassive. Learn more and apply at

About the Partner Organizations

About the Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development

The Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development (HNEE) is an important driving force for sustainable development, both nationally and internationally. This contemporary-style campus university, situated in an extensive area of natural landscape not far from the city of Berlin, has 2,300 students from 57 different countries, as well as more than 260 employees engaged in research, teaching and other roles.

About ITB Berlin NOW

Since 1966, ITB’s mission has been to bring the global travel, tourism and hospitality industry together. ITB is an inspiration for business and the place to be for everyone passionate about the tourism industry. Engagement for social, environmental and economic sustainability has become an integral part of ITB Berlin since many years. Current requirements for leading events have encouraged ITB Berlin to create a digital platform which connects and empowers the global travel industry – ITB Berlin NOW (9-12 March 2021), the digital meet-up of the worldwide travel industry.

About SINA

Founded in 2014, SINA Social Innovation Academy) tackles failing education and resulting unemployment in Africa by creating self-organized and responsible learning spaces, where disadvantaged youth unleash their potential for positive change as social entrepreneurs.

About Travel Massive

Travel Massive is the launchpad for travel brands and destinations. Our community of 60,000 travel influencers and creators discover and share the best in travel, every day. Check the Social Entrepreneurship Chapter at TravelMassive

About the TUI Care Foundation

Building on the potential of tourism as a force for good, the TUI Care Foundation supports and initiates partnerships and projects which create new opportunities and contribute to thriving communities all over the world. Connecting holidaymakers to good causes, it supports education and training opportunities for young people; promotes the protection of the natural environment in holiday destinations; and helps local communities to thrive sustainably and benefit from tourism. The TUI Care Foundation works globally and acts locally - it builds on strong partnerships with local and international organisations to create meaningful and long-lasting impact. The TUI Care Foundation was founded by TUI, the world’s leading tourism business, and is based in the Netherlands.

About the UNWTO

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism. As the leading international organization in the field of tourism, UNWTO promotes tourism as a driver of economic growth, inclusive development and environmental sustainability and offers leadership and support to the sector in advancing knowledge and tourism policies worldwide.

Image credits: Social Entrepreneurship Competition in Tourism

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