Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing has announced that it is now accepting submissions for their Future of Tourism Challenge. In its third year, this pitch competition targets startups that are developing emerging technology that will streamline, enhance or augment the growing tourism sector of Dubai and the wider UAE.
Blockchain Race Heats Up
The Department of Tourism is in search of a shortlist of twenty applicants to pitch on stage at GITEX Future Stars, the city’s startup expo, in October. As Dubai draws closer to hosting millions of visitors for the upcoming Expo 2020, the race to find innovative solutions to support the tourist experience is heating up.
The competition seeks startups from four categories, Artificial Intelligence, Digital Ecosystems, Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality and blockchain. For the Future of Tourism blockchain category, Dubai Tourism is seeking “startups who can incorporate blockchain technology to the Dubai tourist experience with a particular focus on retail; the end goal being to increase tourist traffic and making it easier for tourists to shop.”
Commenting after the second edition of the Futurism Challenge, Yousuf Lootah, Executive Director – Tourism Development & Investments, Dubai’s Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing said:
“Through the Futurism Challenge, we are committed to nurturing technological innovation and pioneering thinking in the tourism and hospitality industry, offering a platform for entrepreneurs to succeed in the marketplace. Now in its second edition, Dubai Futurism competition will play an instrumental role in shaping the future of the industry, by giving emerging businesses an unrivalled opportunity to gain international recognition.”
The announcement of Dubai’s Future of Tourism Challenge is only the latest in the UAE’s push to integrate blockchain and other emerging technologies across the country’s government entities.
Dubai Embracing DLT
In April of this year, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, launched the Emirates Blockchain Strategy 2021, an initiative that aims to transfer 50 per cent of government transactions to the blockchain platform over the next three years. The government estimates the move will save AED 11 billion (nearly USD 3 billion) in routinely processed documents and transactions. Further, an estimated 398 million printed documents and 77 million work hours will be saved annually under this new plan.
Startups shortlisted to pitch for the Future of Tourism Challenge swill receive pitch training, flights as well as accommodations for the GITEX Technology Week in Dubai, from October 15th – 18th. Of these 20 finalists, four winning pitches will receive AED 50,000 (a sum just over USD 13,000) as well as the change to participate in a four week innovation lab.