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The tourism industry has been devastated by the COVID-19 health crisis. There has been continued widespread economic impacts of the need for social distancing and the numbers of travelers both international and domestic are a small percentage of what they were just a year ago. To help recover from this situation new solutions and innovative ideas will be needed and utilized correctly. That is why the World Tourism Organization started the Healing Solutions for Tourism Challenge in March of 2020. The challenge consists of a global call to reach the most disruptive startups, entrepreneurs, innovators and existing technologies to mitigate Covid-19 impacts on tourism through health, economic and destination recovery solutions. It is intended to be a step forward for Sustainable Development in a crisis situation, providing support to travelers, businesses and authorities.
The challenge focused on four of the SDGs, good health and well-being, decent work and economic growth, innovation, and partnerships. The target audience for the challenge was startups, entrepreneurs and innovators from all over the world with ready-to-implement solutions to drive the Covid-19 impacts in tourism. Methods, processes, governance structures, social impact initiatives, new technological applications, existing technologies, among other ways of innovation are applicable.
Participants should meet the following criteria:
- Being innovative in nature and provide value-added solutions
- To have a tested pilot and business plan
- To have been accelerated before
- To have potential to be applied in many countries
There were three categories and four regions in the competition. The three categories were healing for people, healing for prosperity, and healing for destinations. The regions were Africa, Americas, Europe, and Asia & the Pacific.
UNWTO received over 1,000 applications from over 100 countries for the Healing Solutions for Tourism Challenge, launched to identify the most disruptive startups, entrepreneurs and drive solutions to mitigate COVID-19’s impact on tourism.
Associate Professor Eric Hawkinson of the Department of Global Tourism was one of the 5 finalists selected from the Asia Region and has been recognized as a top innovator in digital solutions for the tourism industry moving to the future. His project, called ARientation, is an augmented reality platform for learning and engagement. ARientation is an immersive learning platform that is free, easy to use, and doesn’t look to take all your data. It’s designed to be a simple, fast and easy way to create augmented environments for teaching and learning. Eric started the project in 2015 as a part of his continued research and development in immersive learning environments. Since then the project has been deployed in various community projects, universities, K12 schools, and tourism destinations around Asia and the world. Eric hopes to use the project as a way to promote ideas of data collection and privacy as augmented and virtual reality get even more aggressive in collecting personal information.
You can also watch video presentations from all the finalists in Asia on the UNWTO YouTube site: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LmQlKbh9ND4
Along with being listed and recognized by the World Tourism Organization, the UNWTO has forwarded Eric’s project along with the other finalists to 150+ ministers of tourism around the world, been presented to the UN Secretary-General, and given access and connection to the UNWTO Innovation Network.
デジタルツーリズムの研究開発プロジェクトに取り組む国際貢献学部グローバル観光学科エリック・ハーキンソン准教授が、UNWTO（世界観光機構）のHEALING SOLUTIONS FOR TOURISM CHALLENGEでアジアファイナリストに選出されました。
新型コロナウイルス感染症の影響で大きなダメージを受けた観光産業。この状況を打破するため、UNWTOは新たなソリューションと革新的なアイデアを募り、2020年3月にHEALING SOLUTIONS FOR TOURISM CHALLENGEをスタートしました。