The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), in collaboration with Basque Culinary Center (BCC), has launched the world’s first global gastronomic start-up competition.

The competition has put out a global call to start-ups or companies, mature or emerging, technological and non-technological, to come forward with innovative ideas that have the potential to revolutionise and integrate gastronomy into tourism, and inspire tourists with new ways and reasons to travel.

The collaboration is looking to identify new companies that will lead the transformation of the gastronomic tourism sector, identifying pioneering proposals, as well as challenges and projects that have the potential to catalyse innovations that can transform Gastronomy Tourism in the near future.

UNWTO Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili, said: “Innovation and tourism investments are not ends in themselves, but are means to promote better tourism products, improve tourism governance and harness its proven capability to foster sustainability, create jobs and generate opportunities.”

With the gastronomic tourism sector moving towards innovation and diversification of offerings, and becoming a vehicle that delivers culture and tradition through food and beverage experiences, it is increasingly becoming a resource that adds value and provides solutions for destinations seeking to stand out through unique product offerings.

“Education and innovation are essential for the development of sustainable gastronomic tourism,” said Joxe Mari Aizega, General Manager of Basque Culinary Center. “We are proud to once again team up with our partners at UNWTO in order to continue fostering entrepreneurship and innovation linked to gastronomy tourism through this initiative.”

The process of identifying start-ups has been entrusted to BCC Innovation through its Culinary Action! Programme, which has already accelerated nearly 50 start-ups through providing innovative, sustainable and high added-value solutions to the gastronomy value chain

Keen to lead the way?

Start-ups are invited to pitch business models related to sustainability, that respect the value chain, offer an authentic and coherent narrative, and add value to cultural and local heritage.

Winners will have the opportunity to present their projects at the 5th World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism, taking place in San Sebastián, Spain, on May 2 and 3, 2019, with the possibility of receiving mentoring and consulting from BCC experts of the accelerator Culinary Action! project!

For more information, visit Gastronomy Tourism Ventures.