Qatar Airways recently announced that it will partner with Qatar National Tourism Council (QNTC) to support a global start-up competition event hosted in Doha, an initiative led by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) inviting bright minds to pitch ideas toward accelerating Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) within the tourism industry.
The competition is aimed at global entrepreneurs whose ideas contribute toward the achievement of the United Nations 17 SDGs through state-of-the-art methods, governance structures and social impact initiatives, technological applications and other ways of chosen innovation. From July to October 2020, successful applicants are being selected based on pre-requisites such as innovative value-added solutions with the potential for international scalability. A final event is set to be held in Doha, Qatar in February 2021 with flights, transportation and accommodation being provided by Qatar Airways and QNTC for the finalists.
Qatar Airways recognises the vital role the tourism sector plays in the positive fulfilment of societies’ economic potential and cultural relevance. Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive and QNTC Secretary General, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “During these challenging times, it is essential for nations to provide platforms where entrepreneurs can realise innovative ideas that align with the current necessities of the worldwide market. As a company that is moulded strongly by tourism, we are determined to play our role in supporting the UNWTO through this competition, upholding sustainability and innovation at the heart of the global economic recovery. We look forward to welcoming these bright minds to Doha, with the anticipation that they can accelerate their vision toward a sustainable future.”
The United Nations World Tourism Organization Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashviki, said: “We are committed to strengthening our long-standing partnership with both Qatar Airways and the Qatar National Tourism Council. Thank you for supporting this competition, the Sustainable Development Goals and those entrepreneurs setting out to making tourism safer, more responsible and more sustainable. While the COVID-19 pandemic has taken an unprecedented toll on tourism, it also has made clear the important role tourism plays in every part of society. We commend the dedication of Qatar Airways to continuing to carry passengers safely throughout this time, and in the new reality that awaits us all.”
The national carrier of the State of Qatar will actively be involved in the competition finals, with a representative from the airline evaluating the participating start-ups through various competition phases, as part of the jury. The UNWTO will advocate the best ideas to its Member States, Affiliate Members and investors, providing winners with a unique networking and matchmaking opportunity.
Innovators are encouraged to apply through the competition’s website: https://www.unwto.org/sdgs-global-startup-competition before 10 October 2020.
A multiple award-winning airline, Qatar Airways was named ‘World’s Best Airline’ by the 2019 World Airline Awards, managed by Skytrax. It was also named ‘Best Airline in the Middle East’, ‘World’s Best Business Class’, and ‘Best Business Class Seat’, in recognition of its ground-breaking Business Class experience, Qsuite. It is the only airline to have been awarded the coveted ‘Skytrax Airline of the Year’ title, which is recognised as the pinnacle of excellence in the airline industry, five times. HIA was recently ranked ‘Third Best Airport in the World’, among 550 airports worldwide, by the Skytrax World Airport Awards 2020.
Qatar National Tourism Council’s mission is to firmly establish Qatar on the global map as a place where cultural authenticity meets modernity, and where people of the world come together to experience unique offerings in culture, sports, business and family entertainment. QNTC’s work is guided by the Qatar National Tourism Sector Strategy (QNTSS), which seeks to diversify the country’s tourism offering and increase visitor spending. Since launching QNTSS, Qatar has welcomed over 14 million visitors. The economic impact of the tourism sector in Qatar is becoming increasingly visible with the government designating tourism in 2017 a priority sector in pursuit of a more diverse economy and more active private sector.