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Les Roches collaborates with UN Tourism for groundbreaking “Plug and Play” AI contest

Les Roches Marbella campus

Les Roches, one of the world’s leading hospitality schools, has announced its collaboration with UN Tourism for the “Plug and Play” contest, a unique initiative under the UN Tourism Artificial Intelligence Global Startup Competition. This contest seeks to harness the transformative power of AI and deep technologies to enhance sustainable tourism for the benefit of people, the planet, and prosperity.

As international travel rebounds to nearly 90% of pre-pandemic levels, the tourism industry is on the cusp of a technological revolution. AI’s pivotal role in reshaping tourism is underscored by its ability to enhance personalised travel experiences, optimise operational efficiencies, and promote sustainable practices. Recognising this potential, Les Roches is proud to contribute to this endeavour through its SPARK innovation sphere.

Les Roches, renowned for its innovative approach to hospitality education, will host a two-month acceleration program at SPARK, its innovation hub, spanning both its campuses in Marbella, Spain, and Crans-Montana, Switzerland. This program is designed to support the most promising startups selected through the Plug and Play contest, providing them with unparalleled resources and mentorship.

Les Roches Marbella campus

Joceline Favre-Bulle, Director of Integrated Services, Innovation & Institutional Relations at Les Roches, said: “Les Roches is thrilled to collaborate once again with UN Tourism on another groundbreaking initiative. Our commitment to innovation and sustainability aligns perfectly with the goals of the Plug and Play contest. We are excited to support and accelerate the next generation of startups that will shape the future of tourism through AI and deep technologies.”


The program includes:

  • Access to 90+ Venture Capitalists: Startups will have the opportunity to connect with top investors, facilitating funding and growth.
  • Global Exposure: Participants will engage with top corporations and gain visibility across 150+ countries.
  • Curated Mentorship: A tailored mentorship program will guide startups through the complexities of scaling their innovations.
  • Pilot Projects: Potential collaborations with private sector entities and institutions to pilot their technologies.
  • Exclusive Opportunities: Participation in the Silicon Valley Summit and access to the Plug and Play network, including talent and portfolio synergies.


The contest kicked off with the application launch last week, and will be followed by a webinar in July for participants. Applications close on 30th July, with winners to be announced in September. The grand finale will take place in November, featuring the final pitch event.


The Plug and Play contest seeks innovations in various categories:

  • People and Skills: Startups that address education, health, and gender equality, making tourism a force for positive social change.
  • Green Tourism and Travel Solutions: Innovations that combat climate change, embrace sustainable energy, and preserve ecosystems.
  • Market Innovators: Solutions driving responsible consumption, sustainable urban development, and innovative tourism infrastructure.


Now, startups worldwide are encouraged to apply if they are innovative, sustainability-driven, scalable, and possess a tested pilot and business plan. The Plug and Play contest welcomes all forms of innovation, from new methods and processes to governance models, social impact initiatives, and advanced technologies.


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