Berlin, 15 March 2021

Empowering social entrepreneurs in times of crisis – Launch of “Social Entrepreneurship Competition in Tourism”

  • Social Entrepreneurship Competition in Tourism is calling businesses with social impact from all over the world for applications
  • The competition focuses on crisis recovery and the sustainable future of the tourism sector
  • This year's competition is sponsored by the TUI Care Foundation and supported by UNWTO

The third annual Social Entrepreneurship Competition in Tourism has officially kicked off. It is the only competition worldwide 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 markets. With the current global challenges of the pandemic, the focus of this year’s competition will be on supporting social tourism entrepreneurs as they help the sector recover and shape a sustainable future for tourism in holiday destinations. Up to ten finalists will receive a ten-week programme of one-to-one and peer-to-peer support which will focus on successful pitching, human-centered design, business modelling and impact measurement.

Founded by Professor Dr. Claudia Brözel in 2019, the two previous competitions attracted applications from over 50 countries worldwide. This year’s competition is sponsored by the TUI Care Foundation in cooperation with UNWTO and the Social Innovation Academy (SINA), based in Uganda.

Professor Dr. Claudia Brözel said: “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."

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.

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) 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 programme 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.

Learn more and apply at

About 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 for the young generation and contribute to thriving communities all over the world. Connecting holidaymakers to good causes, the TUI Care Foundation fosters education and training initiatives to open up new opportunities and perspectives for young people, the protection of the natural environment in holiday destinations and sustainable livelihoods in thriving destinations where local communities can benefit even more from tourism. TUI Care Foundation works global and acts local – it builds on strong partnerships with local and international organisations to create meaningful and long lasting impact. The charitable foundation values transparency and the efficient use of funds. Therefore 100% of the donations go to destination programmes with all administration costs of the foundation covered by TUI. TUI Care Foundation was founded by TUI, the world’s leading tourism business, and is based in the Netherlands.

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 growth and the place to be for everyone passionate about the tourism industry. 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-organised 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.

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.