Gastronomy Tourism Startup Competition

Innovation to transform gastronomy tourism

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), in collaboration with the Basque Culinary Center, presents the First Global Gastronomy Tourism Startup Competition.


Identify challenges and projects, and catalyzing innovations that can transform the Gastronomy Tourism sector in the near future.


Validate and Test: 20 selected startups will be shortlisted by a panel of international experts and stakeholders from the gastronomy tourism sector.

Pitch and connect: 5 selected startups will have the opportunity to pitch their ideas to a panel of experts, governments, industry leaders and international investors on the 5th edition of the World Forum on Gastronomy tourism in Spain, 2-3 May 2019

Accelerate and incubate: The winning company will have the possibility to make its mark on the international stage and increase the impact of its startup with the help of BCC experts with a customized mentoring programme and the possibility of participating in the business accelerator Culinary Action.

implement an international pilot project: The winning company will have the opportunity to design a pilot project with the Basque Culinary Center and implement it with the help of its network


How do we evaluate projects?

The projects must be aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations and the introduction or adaptation of digital and technological elements, and focused on one (or several) of the following areas:

  • Destination management or private management of solutions/products/services developed around gastronomy as gastronomic tourism products.
  • Supply-side configuration seeking a balance between sustainable development and the profitability of the project, maximizing the positive impacts on the community.
  • Connection with the market and the user experience in all phases of the trip.
  • The integration of sustainability in the project´s business plan, specifically the conservation of local ingredients and the relationship between culture, heritage, gastronomy, tourism and economic growth

The projects will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Innovation and disruptiveness
    We are looking for startups with a project/product/service proposal that will disrupt the sector by introducing new concepts not yet identified in the gastronomic tourism industry
  • Potential impact and scalability
    We are looking for startups with a sound business model that has the potential for scalability in another environment/market/region making it feasible to increase and grow its social, technological and economic impact.
  • Initially validated or tested business model
    We are looking for startups in growth or seed stages that have tested their idea and have a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) tested in a real market.
  • Suitable and committed team
    We are looking for startups that have an entrepreneurial team suited to the needs and characteristics of the project, with high motivation, interest and commitment to its development.
  • Partnership Readiness
    We are looking for startups that have experience in the co-development of products/services and interest in accessing collaborations with partners in the sector.
  • Sustainability in the value proposition
    We are looking for startups that integrate sustainability into the business model of the project, taking special care of the relationship between culture, heritage, gastronomy, tourism and economic growth.
  • Technological or digital component
    We are looking for startups in which a technological or digital component is embedded in the business model.

Who can apply?

  • Startups in the Early Stage or Series A Stage
  • Both for-profit and non-profit
  • Natural or legal persons
  • Startups with a minimum viable product (MVP)
  • Startups with potential for scalability
  • Startups with a sustainable vision

CLICK HERE for more info


March 5, 2019
Program dates May 2 - May 3, 2019
Organizer UNWTO
Website Visit website
Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Congo, Democratic Republic of the, Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Northern Africa, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Sectors Food production