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2021 APEC app challenge registration opens

Issued by the APEC Secretariat

The 2021 APEC App Challenge is now inviting talented software developers and designers from 21 APEC member economies to bring forward ideas and innovation that support the revival of the tourism sector.

The annual coding competition will be held virtually from 14 May to 6 June. Participating teams will be challenged to build new mobile or web tools to help prepare the APEC region for a resumption of travel and promote a safe and trustworthy travel environment.

“APEC policymakers are currently deliberating measures and protocols to carefully get ready to reopen borders and safely allow the movement of people,” said Dr Rebecca Sta Maria, Executive Director of the APEC Secretariat. 

“It’s also as important for us to look at ways where we can promote safe travel, build back confidence and encourage people to start traveling again when the time is right,” she added.

As the host of APEC 2021, New Zealand is focusing on bringing member economies together to ensure effective and bold responses to the pandemic and advance inclusive and sustainable recovery in the region under the theme of "Join, Work, Grow. Together."

“The resumption of the cross-border movement of people is a critical enabler for the travel and tourism sector as well as trade and services,” said Vangelis Vitalis, Chair of 2021 APEC Senior Officials. “While officials are working on how to facilitate the safe reopening of borders, we value innovative technology recommendations from youth across the region on ways to reinvigorate the sector once we are allowed to travel.”

Register now: 2021 APEC App Challenge – Getting People Moving Again

In the APEC region, tourism holds great significance in terms of economic growth, job creation, regional cooperation and trade, small businesses support as well as innovation. 

Prior to the pandemic, the travel and tourism sector employed 64.5 million people and contributed USD1.6 trillion to the region’s gross domestic product (GDP). However, the COVID-19 pandemic has shattered the tourism sector globally, with recent data showing an 87 percent decrease in international tourist arrivals in January 2021 as compared to 2020. 

“While health and safety concerns remain paramount, we are seeing positive signs that people want to travel again,” said Scott Beaumont, President, Asia Pacific at Google. “We now need to equip the travel and tourism sector in Asia Pacific with the right tools to capture the opportunities available when it is safe for travel to resume.” 

“This year’s challenge seeks creative solutions that will help travelers understand their options in the post-COVID period and discover travel that they can trust, that they believe can be undertaken safely and at the same time provide travelers with flexibility,” added John Karr, Senior Director for Technology Programs at the Asia Foundation. 

Interested developers and designers should submit their registration before the deadline of 14 May 2021. Eligible teams must be comprised of two (minimum) to six (maximum) individuals, all of whom should be citizens of APEC member economies

Each team’s project will be judged against its impact on the target audience, completeness and overall quality, scalability, innovation and uniqueness. The first prize winner will win USD 4,000 and will be announced at the upcoming APEC Ministers’ Responsible for Trade Meeting on 5 June. Second and third prize winners will each go home with USD 3,000 and USD 2,000 respectively.

For more information about the details of this year’s challenge and eligibility criteria visit:

For further details, please contact:

Masyitha Baziad +65 9751 2146 at
Michael Chapnick +65 9647 4847 at

- APEC Secretariat