2021 APEC App Challenge Advances Safety and Trust to Revive Region’s Tourism Industry

June 7, 2021 — The Asia Foundation, together with Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and Google hosted the fifth annual APEC App Challenge. Held on the eve of the 2021 APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade meeting, the challenge asked 170 participants from 13 APEC member economies to develop and build new mobile and web tools to help the revival of the tourism sector and promote a safe and trustworthy travel environment. The APEC 2021 host economy, New Zealand, has based the competition on a key priority for the forum this year: pursuing innovation and a digitally enabled recovery.

“The APEC App Challenge is not only a creative competition for young software developers and designers,” said Dr. Rebecca Sta Maria, executive director of the APEC Secretariat, “it is a critical measure for addressing the current challenges within APEC where we need to bring together various stakeholders in the region, including the youth, to solve the biggest economic and health crisis of our generation, together.”

This year’s APEC App Challenge winner is OneQR, an app that makes it easy for people in the region to do their safety QR code check-ins, developed and designed by a team from Australia. Bryce Cronin and Saira Ambrose, who are from Australia, developed the OneQR Check-In app to help travelers scan and complete their safety check-ins quicker no matter the destination in the region. The winning team will receive a prize of USD 4,000.

“Around the region, people now need to do a safety check-in using a QR code before entering a venue,” said Ambrose. “As we prepare for a safe resumption of travel, QR check-ins will play an even more prominent role.” The app works by showing travelers what QR check-in app they need to use or install when they travel to a different location. If the local check-in app has been installed on the traveler’s phone, OneQR will redirect travelers to the app. If not, OneQR will direct travelers to the phone’s app store to install the local safety check-in app. “We believe that the safety check-in process should be quick, easy and simple,” Cronin explained. “Our app aims to assure travelers and hopefully contribute to building back the confidence of the tourism sector both for businesses and travelers.”

Seirios, an app to help travelers rediscover local attractions with a Covid-19 safety rating, by an Australian team won second prize. Wanderer, an app that offers a safer shopping experience, by a Malaysian team won the third prize of the 2021 APEC App Challenge. The developers of Seirios and Wanderer will receive USD 3,000 and USD 2,000, respectively.

Follow #APECAppChallenge on Twitter to learn more about the innovative solutions, and watch a brief video about the 2021 virtual APEC App Challenge:

“This year’s App Challenge highlighted an issue we’ve all been wondering about: how can we help generate income in communities that are heavily reliant on tourism and have been hit hard by the pandemic?” said John Karr, The Asia Foundation’s senior director of Technology Programs. “Participants have developed a range of solutions that highlight the ability of digital tools to help people discover safer and more local recreation opportunities, and—where it’s possible—get people moving again.”

The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organization committed to improving lives across a dynamic and developing Asia. Informed by six decades of experience and deep local expertise, our work across the region addresses five overarching goals—strengthen governance, empower women, expand economic opportunity, increase environmental resilience, and promote international cooperation.

Read more about the Foundation’s work.

For media inquiries, please visit our News Room. Engage with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

Related programs: Technology & Development
Related topics: APEC

Read our latest news, or insights from our blog.

Media contacts

Amy Ovalle, Vice President, Global Communications
[email protected]
415-743-3340

Eelynn Sim, Director, Media & Strategy
[email protected]
415-743-3318