Finalists projects descriptions (in alphabetical order)


UNWTO Award for Innovation in Public Policy and Governance

MiBarrio - Mercado de Hacienda Applied Research Project, Ente de Turismo del Ministerio de Modernización, Innovación y Tecnología  del  Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, Argentina (no website)

The MiBarrio initiative represents an excellent example of urban planning strategy aimed at improving the livelihood of the communities through tourism development. The extensive screening of the different neighborhoods allowed the city of Buenos Aires to identify less touristic urban areas and develop, in collaboration with the local inhabitants, new tourism products to specifically tackle the economic and social issues faced by the inhabitants. The resulting tourism experiences contribute to give a voice to the communities enhancing their unique identity while fostering social inclusion, entrepreneurship as well as the economic development of the area.

Longmen Grottoes “Internet + Longmen” action plan, Management Committee of Longmen Grottoes World Cultural Heritage Park, China (No website)

The “Internet + Longmen” action plan was launched three years ago to further enhance the beauty of UNESCO World Heritage Grottoes of Longmen, one of the finest examples of Chinese Buddhist art. The sophisticated incorporation of technological elements such as intelligent application center contributed to the creation of a more pleasant experience for the visitor and raise awareness on the necessity to preserve the richness of the cultural site. The Longmen Grottoes site is the first “Internet + Smart scenic area” in China and is in line with the smart tourism development plan developed by the China National Tourism Administration.  

Tourism training talent (TTT), Turismo de Portugal, Portugal -

The Tourism training talent (TTT) programme implemented by the national Portuguese tourism organization represents an excellent example of capacity building programme developed to prepare the future generations of tourism workforce. The comprehensive training programme is strategically built around the National Tourism Plan and takes into consideration the future needs of the sector. This project contributes to the improvement of the competitiveness of the sector and to the positioning of Portugal as a leading tourism destination.


UNWTO Award for Innovation in Enterprises

Great Plains Conservation: Conserving and Expanding Natural Habitats, Great Plains Conservation and the Great Plains Conservation Foundation, Botswana/Kenya

Great Plains Conservation owns and operates nine luxurious, sustainable safari camps and products across Botswana, Kenya and soon Zimbabwe, conserving nearly one million acres of land outside of national parks and employing almost 600 people. All profits are invested back into supporting the conservation of the wildlife through the implementation of direct conservation actions and the engagement of local community.

Conservation and Livelihoods: Community managed Ecotourism at Mangalajodi,  Mangalajodi Ecotourism trust, India

Mangalajodi, a picturesque village located in northeast India at the borders of a vast wetland, is home to over 200 of birds´ species. Once associated with poaching of birds, the villagers stand today as true defenders of wildlife thanks to a coordinated effort in implementing a solid awareness campaign on the importance of preserving natural species and the benefits associated with wildlife tourism.

Community and Resilience: two villages tackle depopulation, Valle dei Cavalieri, Italy

The Valle dei Cavalieri community-based cooperative was created to counter the depopulation of the village of Succiso in Italy, whose population passed from over 1,000 inhabitants in the 1950s to 64 inhabitants some years ago. Thanks to the strong involvement of the community, innovative and authentic tourism attractions were developed resulting in the development of the tourism activity and the enhancement of the unique cultural identity of the village. 

Three-Pillar Innovation Initiative, Balesin Island Club, Philippines

Launched in 2012, the Balesin Island Club was designed to function in perfect harmony with nature, as demonstrated by its strategy which was intentionally developed around the three pillars:  the use of technologies to achieve sustainable practices, a sustainable consumption of resources and the local community empowerment. The integrated eco-friendly planning, along with the various campaigns and actions led by the hotel represent a successful example of an entity committed to promoting sustainable tourism.


UNWTO Award for Innovation in Non-Governmental Organizations

Educating and empowering local communities for sustainable Tourism futures, The Sumba Hospitality Foundation, Indonesia

The Sumba Hospitality Foundation is initiating a sustainable tourism development plan for Sumba through the concept of full boarding permaculture school and green hotel for underprivileged Sumbanese youth providing vocational education, focusing on practical and soft skills, nurturing environmental awareness and cultural identity and empowering local communities to promote responsible tourism.

Connecting community, local friends, and visitors to a unique experience and happiness,, Indonesia is a booking application that offers unique tours of the local communities in the Solo and Central Java area. These offers are not only unique but also contribute to job creation, preserve the community’s heritage, environmental landscape, and the sense of well-being that is felt by locals. The tours are designed and conducted by the locals who are now become active players through this scheme as they receive 93% of revenues that derived from this initiative.

IT.A.CÀ – Migrants and Travelers, Festival of Responsible Tourism, Associazione YODA, Italy

IT.A.CÀ is the first festival in Italy dedicated to responsible tourism involving about 250 organizations working in the fields of responsible tourism. The festival is composed of more than 300 free events such as guided tours and itineraries, workshops, meetings and seminars, 0 km lunches, expositions, and concerts.        

Strengthening Community Tourism in the Sierra Gorda, Grupo Ecologico Sierra Gorda, Mexico

During 30 years of community work, Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda has developed nature-based solutions to generate opportunities for numerous communities that live in the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve, the last well-preserved natural area in Central Mexico. This project operates in an integral way, encouraging the formation of ecological citizenship through the Community Environmental Education Program. The initiative aims at preserving the integrity of the ecosystems and enhance the natural beauty of the scenic scene through the empowerment of landowners


UNWTO Award for Innovation in Research and Technology

EarthCheck Building Planning and Design Standard (BPDS), EarthCheck, Australia

BPDS sets out a holistic sustainability framework that enables undertaking an integrated assessment of the expected environmental, social, cultural and economic performance of a project. Projects that adopt the BPDS can quantifiably demonstrated significant operational cost reductions, regenerative environmental outcomes and positive social and cultural values. The benchmarking and certification software at the core of this initiative is leading the way in the sustainability movement within the tourism sector.

EVisitor - Croatian national tourist information system, Croatian National Tourism Board, Croatia

eVisitor is a unique online information system that provides insight into tourist traffic and accommodation capacities (commercial and non-commercial) in Croatia. It generates statistical reports and marketing indicators in real time (i.e length of stay, location, gender, age, country of residence, type of facility, destination, etc), which enables more efficient monitoring of tourist traffic and revenues, allowing better control over the collection of accommodation fees creating a synergistic effect of all Croatian tourism stakeholders and contributes to ensuring their competitiveness.

Smart Tourism System (STS), SEGITTUR, Spain

Smart Tourism System (STS) is a crucial element in the Smart Destinations project as it allows different data sources to be analyzed, selected according to the destination’s needs, and for information to be gathered, processed, and analyzed, transforming it into knowledge. The STS offers the necessary information for the decision-making process of companies and administrators at the destination.