This program aims to find innovations that foster the development of the tourism workforce and environmental sustainability, including "the adoption of waste management measures through circular economy models."
IDB's innovation arm, the IDB Lab, will collaborate with the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) to reward ideas from the participating countries: Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.
According to a statement from the regional development bank, requests for financing for non-reimbursable technical assistance will be between $250,000 and $500,000, while in the case of loans, the amounts will be between $500,000 and $2 million.
One of the requirements for accessing the program, which will accept applications until July 31, is that applicants "must contribute at least 50% of the total project budget."
According to UNWTO, the tourism sector is "one of the most affected by the outbreak of COVID-19".
For the fifteen countries selected in this contest, the average contribution of the tourism sector to GDP is 16.4%, that is, tourism activity represents one out of every six dollars of GDP contribution.
Tourism is also 'vital' for employment in these countries, with an average contribution of 17.9%, and in exports, given that for eight of these fifteen countries it represents more than 20% of total exports.
"The crisis generated by COVID-19 offers an opportunity for the tourism sector and its closely related supply chains to embrace digital transformation and boost innovation ecosystems in the public and private sectors," added the IDB.