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The 2023 edition of the Sustainable Hospitality Challenge officially kicks off

The Hague, Netherlands 30th of March 2023: Hotelschool The Hague has announced the launch of the 2023 Sustainable Hospitality Challenge (SHC). This year’s edition will include for the first time, leading international architecture, technology and design universities who will be joining the participating top-tier hospitality institutions to form multidisciplinary student teams.


The Sustainable Hospitality Challenge (SHC) is a Hotelschool The Hague initiative that aims to enhance the evolution of sustainable hospitality, foster innovation driven by the leaders of tomorrow, and nurture talent on a global scale by bringing them close to industry organisations who want to reimagine the future of hospitality.


Over 40+ universities from around the globe, including returning champions, Cornell University, Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL), Toronto Metropolitan University, Hotel Institute Montreux, CY Cergy Paris Université, and Hotelschool The Hague, will be competing in this year’s challenge.


Paul Griep, founder of the SHC said:

“When looking at Cornell University’s winning 2022 concept, it is a perfect example of added value thanks to multi-disciplinary synergy. By seeking the support from aero-space engineers, architects and financial advisors, they were able to lift their winning project to the next level. Working with other disciplines in the 2023 SHC will allow innovation to be well integrated, complete and feasible. I am already seeing how bringing together students from different disciplines in this year’s challenge benefits the sustainable future of our industry and the planet. It will empower them to create the best, most innovative, and complete concepts. I welcome all multi-disciplinary teams to this year’s challenge and cannot wait to see what great concepts they have created. “


The challenge, founded in 2014 as the ‘Genio Worldwide Innovation Summit,’ has re-established itself to make sustainability its central theme, given the urgent relevance of the climate crisis to the hospitality industry. Presented by Hotelschool The Hague, The Sustainable Hospitality Challenge, together with their partners The Bench, The Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, and its main sponsor NEOM, is committed to building a more sustainable future.


Chris Newman, the Executive Director for Hotel Development at NEOM said: “We are delighted to support the Sustainable Hospitality Challenge once more in its mission to inspire and challenge the next generation of hoteliers to create innovative and sustainable concepts. We are looking forward to witnessing the inventive projects and creative solutions that the students will come up with."


Last year's edition of the Sustainable Hospitality Challenge had 'REMOTE' as its central theme. The winning team from Cornell University presented their concept “Nimbus”, an eco-resort in remote areas. By means of hot air balloons, Nimbus would bring economic opportunities to local communities while promoting sustainable tourism.


The theme of this year’s challenge will be: 'ONE WITH NATURE’, focusses on the urgent need to preserve and regenerate ecosystems. Primarily inspired by NEOM's respectful relationship with nature, this year’s challenge touches upon regenerative tourism.


NEOM is located in the Tabuk Province of north-western Saudi Arabia. It will cover 26,500km2 and extend 460 km along the coast of the Red Sea.

Built on a most ancient land, enhanced by world-leading design, immersive digital experiences and seamless travel. It will challenge and shape the possibilities of global travel in the years to come.


Griep also added saying:”last year, we got the opportunity to visit NEOM, and it was incredible to witness their focus on the preservation of its surrounding. Regenerative tourism and protecting nature are a clear golden thread that runs through all of their initiatives.”


The qualifications rounds will be held in March 2023, followed by the semi-finals in Amsterdam. The finals, in partnership with The Bench and The Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, will be held at the Future Hospitality Summit (FHS) in Abu Dhabi. Tickets and information for these events will be shared on LinkedIn, Instagram, and the challenge's website, www.thestudentchallenge.com.


“We’re very excited to host the finals of the Sustainable Hospitality Challenge at the Future Hospitality Summit again this year and we look forward to welcoming the finalists to Abu Dhabi in September. We have been blown away by the young talent over the past few years and I’m sure we’re in for a great final round again this year, especially with the introduction of the multidisciplinary teams. Architecture, design and technology are key drivers of innovation in hospitality and I’m excited to see what sustainable solutions they will be able to bring to our industry,” said Jonathan Worsley, Chairman of The Bench.


“The Sustainable Hospitality Challenge will certainly be one of the highlights of this year’s Summit. It is exciting to see these young bright minds come together to think of solutions for a more sustainable future for the hospitality industry. It’s wonderful to see teams bring together different elements of hospitality, including architecture, technology and design, as well as operations, to accelerate the journey towards Net Positive Hospitality.” – Glenn Mandziuk , CEO Sustainable Hospitality Alliance



“Change is the only constant for sustainability and innovation and the next generation of hospitality professionals are those who will push the envelope of innovation for all of us. Giving them a voice and decision-making powers to lead the change bottom-up will further disrupt our space and drive more change. This is why we have chosen to join and contribute to the student challenge and drive change with the youth talent from far and wide joining our ranks. Looking forward to the disruptive ideas they will share for a greener and more inclusive world.” Marloes Knippenberg, CEO of Kerten Hospitality.



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