This competition is a collaboration between the UNWTO and the Basque Culinary Center. It aims to identify challenges and projects that can drive innovation in the Gastronomy Tourism sector. The competition provides several benefits for participating startups, including mentorship, customized support, potential investment opportunities, inclusion in the UNWTO Innovation Network, scholarships for the Tourism Online Academy, and more. The competition is open for applications until June 6, 2024.


  1. New Technologies: Startups that are developing and promoting a startup with a high technological component to provide solutions or new services related to the Gastronomic Tourism sector.
  2. Local Impact: Startups that are developing and promoting a project with a high component of transformation and social improvement in its area of implementation and that are attached to the Gastronomic Tourism sector.
  3. Sustainability and Waste: Startups that are developing and promoting a project with a high component of sustainability and/or food waste management related to the impact generated by tourists.


  • Delving into the Gastronomy Tourism Sector
  • Innovation: The degree of innovation or disruptiveness in the sector on a global scale is considered, with no requirement for a technological component.
  • Social Impact of the Startup: The focus is on addressing unmet social needs in various areas, such as promoting employment for young and/or vulnerable individuals, combating depopulation, addressing aging populations, and promoting gender equality. Tangible indicators are used to measure these impacts.
  • Traction: The startup’s ability to transform its local environment and effect societal change is evaluated. This includes improving the social conditions of the beneficiary groups and/or promoting their recognition in society.
  • A Tested MVP: The startup should have a product or service prototype that has been tested and validated, with results that have already been measured or are measurable.
  • Potential Business Impact: The potential for scalability/financial return and/or the development of competitive advantages for the business in the short to medium term is assessed.
  • Value Capture through Collaboration with the Startup: The startup should be capable of agile implementation in the short to medium term for co-development of products/services. This includes optimizing the use of existing resources/infrastructure and the ability to scale the product.
  • Committed Team: The team should have explicit knowledge about the area of action and a positive assessment from a public or private organization regarding the execution of the project.
  • Adherence to the Sustainable Development Goals: The startup should demonstrate a link to the priority Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and provide tangible social impact metrics.


  • Mentoring by UNWTO and top partners
  •  Tailored support for your startup
  •  Investment opportunities
  •  Form part of the UNWTO Innovation Network
  •  Scholarship opportunities for the Tourism Online Academy
  •  Opportunity to present your startup at the 8th UNWTO Gastronomy Tourism Forum in San Sebastián, Spain (October 2023)
  •  Use of a space in the LABe- Digital Gastronomy Lab facilities for 6 months.
  •  Participate as a finalist company in the corresponding edition of Culinary Action! – On the road, the first foodtech startup competition in roadshow format.
  •  Advanced Plan of the GOe Digital Community for 6 months, which is the first digital community within the 360º gastronomy sector.



Launch 6 October 2023
Deadline for applications 6 June 2024
Announcement of finalist startups on webpage 6 September 2024
Announcement of winners and pitch session 9th UNWTO World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism



Get ready for your application:

To apply, fill out the Application form in English.

To know more about the challenge and the Terms and Conditions, please visit the following link  https://www.unwto.org/unwto-awake-tourism-challenge

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