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Futurism Challenge to disrupt Dubai's hospitality sector

Dubai Tourism announces second startup challenge seeking ideas for technology in hospitality

The Futurism Challenge aims to find new ideas for the hospitality sector.
The Futurism Challenge aims to find new ideas for the hospitality sector.

Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing has opened nominations for its second annual Futurism Challenge, to support startups in the hospitality sector.

This year's challenge will see 20 selected companies pitching their ideas live during GITEX Future Stars in October, with the aim of winning a AED 50,000 prize ($13,600) and a chance to participate in an incubator program.

The competition is being held in partnership with startup platform Union, Atlantis Hotels, and Emaar Hospitality Group. The contest is in line with Dubai's Tourism Vision 2020, to attract 20 million visitors to the city per year by 2020, and with the Dubai 10X program to develop new ideas for government entities in the emirate.

This year's competition is looking for ideas using AI and blockchain, and will also include tracks to develop technology ideas for Atlantis Hotels to capture guest feedback and use this to improve selling of guest experiences, and AR and VR ideas for Emaar Hospitality Group.

Twenty applicants will be selected from global nominations to present live onstage during GITEX Future Stars. Four winners will be selected at the event, each winning a AED 50,000 prize, and a place on a four-week incubator program.

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. Last year's competition provided innovative startups with a global platform to showcase their thinking, with competitors going on to achieve further success. In line with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai's 10X initiative which encourages government entities to embrace disruptive innovation, we will continue to work tirelessly to achieve the targets set, facilitating further growth of the startup ecosystem in Dubai."

The Union team will promote the challenge to more than 75 startup hubs and investor groups globally to engage the startup ecosystem.

"Tourism is a critical industry for any city and government to constantly evolve. We're thrilled to partner with the Dubai Tourism team and to work with the startup ecosystem to source some of the most disruptive technologies and business models that are moving tourism forward," said Evan Burfield, CEO at Union. "The Union platform will power this competition from promotion through application selection and engage the participating startups throughout the competition with valuable resources, including mentor hours and peer connections."

More details on the competition are available here.