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The Sustainable Hospitality Challenge global initiative launches its 2022 Case

‘Remote’ is at the heart of this year’s innovation-driven concept

A global student competition launched by Hotelschool The Hague has created a bridge between today’s hospitality industry leadership and the next generation of hoteliers who apply innovation in addressing the industry’s evolution during a tough global competition of top-tier universities.

The Sustainable Hospitality Challenge (SHC) was founded in 2014 under the name Genio Worldwide Innovation Summit. Due to its relevancy for the hospitality industry, the challenge has re-established itself by making sustainability its central theme. The Sustainable Hospitality Challenge is giving participating students from top-tier universities the opportunity to contribute to bettering the planet and their industry by establishing innovative and sustainable solutions. They are given the incredible opportunity to present on a global stage in front of the biggest industry leaders, who can turn their ideas into real projects.

As Paul Griep, founder of The Sustainable Hospitality, explains:

“This is the largest hospitality student challenge focused on sustainability. Our mission is similar to the World Solar Challenge where ideas and solutions presented by the students are adapted and used in the real world. If we want to make a difference, we need to work with the next generation. So, by creating a bridge between the next generation and the current leaders of the industry we can pave the way towards a more sustainable future. “

With over 40 participating universities from around the globe, and over 20 nationalities represented, The Sustainable Hospitality Challenge, together with their partners Bench, The Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, Hotelschool The Hague and its main sponsor NEOM, are committed to building a sustainable future.

Wolfgang Neumann, Chairman of The Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, adds:

“Over the past eight years,out of the box the Sustainable Hospitality Challenge has given bright and hungry students from top universities a platform for innovation. Year on year I have been inspired together with many other senior industry leaders to embrace the unknown and not to get entrenched in the art of the possible.”

This year, The Sustainable Hospitality Challenge is proud to announce a theme that will inspire students to think even more out-of-the-box and create innovative, ingenious, sustainable solutions. With our sponsor NEOM at the forefront of sustainable innovation in Saudi Arabia, this year’s case will align with this impressive undertaking.

This year’s case has been created with the support of the SHC ambassador Marloes Knippenberg (CEO Kerten Hospitality), Chris Newman (Executive Director of Hotel Development at NEOM), Colin Abercrombie (Strategy Director of Hotel Development at NEOM), Carlos Martin-Rios (Associate Professor of Management at École hôtelière de Lausanne) and other industry executives.

Chris Newman, NEOM’s Executive Director of Hotel Development, said: “The Sustainable Hospitality Challenge aligns beautifully with the vision and ethos of NEOM. It is a challenge that focuses on developing and encouraging the next generation of young pioneering hospitality professionals. This year’s challenge especially supports NEOM’s core principles of sustainability, community, livability, technology, and nature. We are very proud to be the lead sponsor and are very excited to see the innovative and inspirational ideas that will be developed over the course of the next few months.”

Colin Abercrombie, Strategy Director of Hotel Development at NEOM, added: “We are deeply committed to the challenge, to the ambitious plans that are in place to develop it further, and to supporting and nurturing the student teams. We offer a huge ‘thank you’ to Paul and Stella for their amazing energy, drive and vision in making this happen.”

Marloes Knippenberg, CEO of Kerten Hospitality – an ESG Lifestyle mixed-use operator, which has integrated ESG in all of the Group’s processes, said: “The evolution of this challenge is simply remarkable. From a student activity behind closed doors, this is now becoming the most relevant global industry sustainability competition that has direct relevance on all stakeholders involved. This generation is the future, and their future is our responsibility, the simple reason for me to put in the time, effort, and dedication. I am very driven to help the initiative grow – a responsibility we all share. At Kerten Hospitality, where ESG is part of our DNA, we are looking forward to a greater competition of the minds this year.”

The Sustainable Hospitality Challenge (SHC) is delighted to announce the theme of the 2022 Case:


This year’s Sustainable Hospitality Challenge aims to further inspire, challenge, and motivate students to create innovative sustainable concepts.

The theme Remote is primarily inspired by the recent partnership with NEOM, the major sponsor. NEOM, an accelerator of human progress and a vision of what a new future might look like, is a region in northwest Saudi Arabia on the Red Sea being built from the ground up as a living laboratory – a place where entrepreneurship will chart the course for this new future.

For the 2022 Case, participating students will be able to choose between two dimensions:

1. A sustainable hospitality concept in a remote area: The NEOM hospitality concept of 2030

2. Social sustainability in a remote area: The NEOM society of 2030

This year, over 40 top-tier universities from around the globe representing all continents will be competing in The Sustainable Hospitality Challenge.

Qualifications are being held this month, followed by the semi-finals in Amsterdam. Tickets and information for these events will soon be shared on LinkedIn, Instagram and The finals, in partnership with Bench and The Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, will be held on the main stage at the Future Hospitality Summit (FHS) in Dubai.

Jonathan Worsley, Chairman & CEO of The Bench said: “After a successful collaboration at AHIC last year, we are delighted that the Sustainability Hospitality Challenge has chosen our stage once again to present their finals in Dubai. One of our six themes this September at the Future Hospitality Summit (FHS) is ‘The Future of Sustainability & Innovation’ – and the SHC is a perfect fit! We look forward to welcoming the finalists at FHS Middle East 2022.”

To stay informed about The Sustainable Hospitality Challenge and the innovative solutions created by the next generation of hoteliers, visit, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Stella van Toor

General Manager SHC

+49 176 70058382

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