Transforming the tourism sector in Latin America and the Caribbean

UN Tourism and the Development Bank of Latin America and the Caribbean (CAF) join forces in a momentous initiative to enhance the transformative impact of tourism, with a central focus on Green Projects. Our objective is to revitalize the industry by promoting innovation with a significant impact on sustainable infrastructure, reducing emissions and waste, but also in the social sphere, promoting rural and community tourism and generating new tourist experiences, all catalyzed by green projects in the sector.

In a dynamic world tourism scenario, we face a world where travelers’ expectations are rapidly evolving, tourism is calling for innovation to create tourist experiences that are not only memorable but also transform the way the world is explored. In this changing context, entrepreneurs and tourism companies must seek to exceed travelers’ expectations by applying new ideas and technologies.

Revealing the Challenge:

The relevance of this Challenge is highlighted by recognizing tourism as an essential driving force in the global economy and, more specifically, in the UN Tourism Region of the Americas, including Latin America and the Caribbean. During the period from January to July 2023, arrivals to the Americas reached 87% of 2019 levels, evidencing the resilience of the region1. Additionally, it is worth noting that for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) trends in the tourism sector in Latin America, according to the most recent report by UN Tourism in collaboration with fDi Intelligence of the Financial Times, between 2018 and 2022, 340 FDI projects in tourism were announced in the region, with a capital investment that amounts to USD 27.9 billion2 .

In this sense, innovation is relevant in the tourism sector to contribute to the transformation of the economy of rural communities and thus, in the same way, contribute to the reduction of emissions caused by the change in land use.

This Challenge seeks to support startups, enterprises, tourism companies, new entrepreneurs that promote through innovative projects, ensure the conservation and regeneration of the ecosystems and biodiversity of Latin America and the Caribbean to redefine how tourism can generate a positive impact, also having in mind that today tourists favor these offers when making their decisions about the destinations to visit.

The Challenge aims to strengthen the role of tourism in addressing local problems and to commit to greater ventures based on economic, social, and environmental sustainability.