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The Future of Sustainable Hospitality announces finalists for the 2023 challenge

Hotelschool The Hague’s Sustainable Hospitality Challenge (SHC) is thrilled to announce the finalists for this year’s competition, marking an exciting milestone in the evolution of the Challenge. Building upon the success of previous editions, SHC has expanded its reach by inviting design, architecture, and technology universities to participate alongside leading hospitality schools from around the world. The jury, consisting of esteemed C-level industry decision-makers and high-level executives, diligently reviewed numerous innovative concepts submitted by these renowned institutions.

The 2023 Sustainable Hospitality Challenge winner will not only have the opportunity to travel to the extraordinary premises of NEOM but will also be granted a remarkable opportunity. The winner will receive an invitation to attend the prestigious World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Global Summit in Rwanda, Africa. This global conference serves as a platform for industry leaders to gather together with key government representatives to shape the future of travel and tourism, making it an extraordinary privilege for the SHC winner.

The Sustainable Hospitality Challenge, initiated by Hotelschool The Hague, has become a prominent catalyst for sustainable innovation in the hospitality industry over the past seven years. It has grown into a globally recognized, knowledge-based initiative, garnering support from renowned hospitality brands, global project developers, and smart cities alike.

Under the theme of 'One-with-Nature,' inspired by our leading sponsor, NEOM’s, respectful relationship with nature and aim to preserve 95% of its land and sea. Students were tasked with developing solutions that embrace sustainability and cater to the evolving needs of modern travelers. NEOM's visionary support inspired students from all participating universities who have attendedthe event, which was further bolstered by the partnership of Sustainable Hospitality Alliance and The Bench.

Following rigorous qualifying rounds involving more than forty top-tier global hospitality institutions, the semifinals showcased twentyoutstanding entrants. From this pool of exceptional talent, five winners have emerged to compete in this year's finals, representing the pinnacle of sustainable hospitality excellence:

1. Cornell University

2. The Culinary Institute of America & The Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc)

3. Politecnico di Milano

4. Hotel Management School Maastricht & Münster School of Architecture

5. Hotelschool The Hague & Nanyang Technological University Singapore

These finalists have presented truly sensational concepts that exemplify their dedication to creating a sustainable future for the hospitality industry. Notably, this year's challenge has expanded to include technology, engineering, and design universities, resulting in comprehensive and ready-to-incubate deliverables and solutions that will drive a lasting sustainable impact on the industry. The finals will take place at the prestigious Future Hospitality Summit in Abu Dhabi. This global platform will provide an unparalleled opportunity for the finalists to showcase their ideas to industry leaders and investors.

Paul Griep Director of Industry and Alumni Relations and Founder of the SHC, expressed his enthusiasm after the final round of the semi-finals, stating:

"The outcome of today was amazing, the level has increased tremendously to the point that jury members were willing to literally ready to invest in the student’s projects. In this edition, we have included the design, technological, and architecture universities and had amazing results."

The SHC was also honored to have Sophie Galharret, Vice President of Sustainability at Sofitel MGallery Emblems, joining this year as an esteemed jury member. Sophie shared her excitement about this year’s competition, stating:

“Today, I was really impressed by the projects presented by the students, it was not just only reducing the impact on the environment or nature, but the students had great ideas on regeneration and presented very concrete concepts that could be easily applied in our hospitality industry. Very valuable, very feasible, congratulations.”

SHC’s long term supporter and partner Sustainable Hospitality Alliance (SHA) was also represented in the jury by Patrick O'​ Meara, Head of Business Development at SHA. Patrick stated:

“Serving on the judging panel for the Semi-Finals of the Sustainable Hospitality Challenge was an enormous privilege and offered me two important school days. I learned much from the experience, not least that we truly live in a world that is ‘phytigal’ – the blending of the physical and the digital. As different as the semi—finalist entries were as concepts and in approach, they share the important common themes of experiential learning and community-building and all were infused with a fierce ambition and optimism. If this powerful cohort of future hospitality leaders have their way, hospitality in its essence will be about learning, contributing, being truly additive and collaborative, for planet, its people and the places where it is privileged to operate. The five finalists are indeed privileged to go forward to make their case to be the most visionary, compelling and inspiring concepts to be At One With Nature, as this year’s these suggests.”

The CEO of the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance (SHA), Glenn Mandziuk, will partake in the Finals in Abu Dhabi as a distinguished member of the jury.

At its core, the Sustainable Hospitality Challenge is committed not only to making significant sustainable contributions to the future of hospitality but also to enriching the personal journey of each student involved. This endeavor serves as a testament to the power of collaboration and the drive for positive change among the next generation of leaders.

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