Futurism Startup Challenge Launched to Scout Innovative Solutions for the Tourism Industry in Dubai

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Posted On : 08th, September 2018


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Startup Event

Futurism Startup Challenge Launched to Scout Innovative Solutions for the Tourism Industry in Dubai

08th, September 2018    -    Startup Event



Industry partners will come together to find and incubate the most promising entrepreneurs from around the world transforming the future of tourism.


Today, the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) and Union, with other industry partners including Atlantis Hotels, the creator of the first entertainment resort destination in the region, and Emaar Hospitality Group one of the region’s largest real estate developers, launched the second annual Futurism Challenge, a startup competition for companies transforming the tourism experience which will

culminate in a presentation at GITEX Technology Week.


With an effort towards discovering innovative solutions, facilitating further growth of the startup ecosystem, and in alignment with Dubai’s Tourism Vision 2020, to attract 20 million visitors per year by 2020, and the Dubai 10X initiative to support outside of the box thinking, the Futurism Challenge is calling on startups from the following emerging technology focus areas to apply to the competition and show how they can support and innovate tourism in Dubai:


Artificial Intelligence seeks startups who are proposing unique applications of AI technologies to provide a novel experience for hotel guests and tourists.


Digital Ecosystem , with partner Atlantis Hotels, seeks startups using technology that can capture guest feedback & testimonials on tourist experiences and suggest/upsell additional on-site activities for guests to share and partake in based on their responses.


Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality , with partner Emaar Hospitality Group, seeks startups leveraging AR and VR in ways that can showcase and assist in the visualization of past, present, and future Dubai tourist attractions and sites.


Blockchain Dubai Tourism seeks startups who can incorporate their 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.


Twenty of the applicants will be selected to compete onstage at GITEX. GITEX Future Stars is the Middle East and Africa’s largest startup conference of global tech entrepreneurs, international investors and influential corporate buyers. It is the biggest commercial sales platform for startups in the region taking place during GITEX Technology Week, the region’s foremost tech sourcing and networking event featuring the biggest governments and private sector organizations participation. Selected startups will have the opportunity to pitch their innovative solutions on stage, connect with the Challenge partners, and enjoy the greater GITEX Technology week offerings.


Four winners will be selected from those original twenty to participate in the four-week incubator and will receive a 50,000 AED cash prize. Future opportunities for partnerships, pilot programs and implementation of their technologies will also be a focus of the incubation period with the

program’s sponsors.


Commenting on 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. 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.”


Applications are now open for the Futurism Challenge. For full details, including the schedule and applications, visit the website


About Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) With the ultimate vision of positioning Dubai as the world’s leading tourism destination and commercial hub, Dubai Tourism’s mission is to increase the awareness of Dubai among global audiences and to attract tourists and inward investment into the emirate. Dubai Tourism is the principal authority for the planning, supervision, development and marketing of Dubai’s tourism sector. It markets and promotes the Emirate’s commerce sector, and is responsible for the licensing and classification of all tourism services, including hotels, tour operators and travel agents. Brands and departments within the Dubai Tourism portfolio include Dubai Business Events, Dubai Calendar, and Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment.


About Union

Union empowers startup ecosystems around the world. Our platform provides entrepreneurs, startup hubs and innovation teams with the best resources, networks and data architecture to transform their operations regardless of location. To learn more, visit Union.vc.

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