March 29, 2023

The 2023 edition of the Sustainable Hospitality Challenge officially kicks off

The Hague, Netherlands, 29 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), Ryerson 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:

“As part of our continued efforts to foster innovation in hospitality, this year’s challenge is proud to announce the participation of leading international institutions across academic fields to form multidisciplinary student teams. Some of the design and technology institutions include, TU Delft, HongKong Polytechnic, Milano Politec and many other top tier global universities”

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 a region in northwest Saudi Arabia on the Red Sea being built from the ground up with 95% of its land and sea protected for nature. Once completed, NEOM will include hyperconnected, cognitive cities, entertainment venues and tourist destinations.

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,

“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 is always one of the highlights of our 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” Glenn Mandziuk, CEO Sustainable Hospitality Alliance