ISLAMABAD: United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has launched the second edition of its global flagship competition under the name of “Awake Tourism Challenge”. The competition will identify innovators who are advancing solutions to six different challenges, as well as contributing to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), said a press release issued here. Applications are now open and will close on June 30, 2022. The winning startups will be announced in October. For the 2022 challenge, UNWTO will focus on specific areas that can help the recovery of the tourism sector in a disruptive way, and which deserve extra attention right now, namely: community involvement, Green and blue economies, Ecological and Sustainable Capital Creation, Tourism Tech for Good, Tourism Education and Women Empowerment. Organized in collaboration with Wakalua, the first global innovation hub for tourism, powered by Ávoris, the competition also counts on the support of a number of major partners, including SPARK, the Innovation Hub of Les Roches from the Sommet Education group, and Ankh Impact Ventures (AIV), an impact-driven venture capital investment platform with gender and racial equity lens. UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashviki said: “The return of tourism is a chance to awaken its potential to transform lives. UNWTO is calling on startups everywhere to put forward their ideas for meeting the biggest challenges our sector is facing and for making tourism a champion of the Sustainable Development Goals.” The 12 most disruptive startups (2 for each of the Challenges) will be given support to scale-up. UNWTO will present the best ideas to its Member States, Affiliate Members, and investors, providing them with a unique networking opportunity. Additional benefits include the chance to pitch at a special UNWTO Demo Day and access to technological support and to the UNWTO Innovation network, as well as a curated mentorship programme with both one-on-one and group training sessions on key topics such as Intellectual Property, sustainability in business and leadership, possible seed funding for female Startup founders from Ankh Impact Ventures, and incubation for 3 months at the SPARK Innovation Lab.