The best examples of villages embracing tourism to provide opportunity and drive sustainable development have been celebrated at the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) General Assembly in Madrid.
The Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO initiative was launched to advance the role of tourism in safeguarding rural villages, along with their landscapes, natural and cultural diversity, and their local values and activities, including local gastronomy.
A total of 44 villages from 32 countries across the five world regions were granted the recognition in 2021. All of them stand out for their natural and cultural resources as well as for their innovative and transformative actions and commitment to the development of tourism in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
This initiative recognizes those villages committed to making tourism a strong driver of their development and wellbeing
The villages were evaluated by an independent Advisory Board based on a set of criteria covering nine areas:
· Cultural and Natural Resources
· Promotion and Conservation of Cultural Resources
· Economic Sustainability
· Social Sustainability
· Environmental Sustainability
· Tourism Potential and Development and Value Chain Integration
· Governance and Prioritization of Tourism
· Infrastructure and Connectivity
· Health, Safety and Security
All of the 44 chosen villages scored a total of 80 or more points or more out of a possible 100.
Tourism as a driver of rural development and inclusion
“Tourism can be a driver of social cohesion and inclusion by promoting a fairer distribution of benefits throughout the territory and empowering local communities,” says UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili. “This initiative recognizes those villages committed to making tourism a strong driver of their development and wellbeing”.
The Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO initiative includes three pillars:
· The ‘Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO’: Recognizes villages which are an outstanding example of a rural tourism destination with recognized cultural and natural assets, that preserve and promote rural and community-based values, products and lifestyle and have a clear commitment to innovation and sustainability in all its aspects – economic, social and environmental.
· The ‘Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO’ Upgrade Programme: The Upgrade programme will benefit a number of villages that do not fully meet the criteria to receive the recognition. These villages will receive support from UNWTO and its Partners in improving elements of the areas identified as gaps in the evaluation process.
· The ‘Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO’ Network: The Network will provide a space for exchanging experiences and good practices, learnings, and opportunities. It will include representatives of the villages recognized as the ‘Best Tourism Village by UNWTO’ , the villages participating in the Upgrade Programme, as well as experts, public and private sector partners engaged in the promotion of tourism for rural development.
A total 174 villages were proposed by 75 UNWTO Member States (each Member State could present a maximum of three villages) for the 2021 pilot initiative. Among which 44 were recognized as Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO. Another 20 villages will enter the Upgrade Programme of the Initiative. All 64 villages enter to make part of the UNWTO Best Tourism Villages Network.
The next edition will open in February 2022.
List of Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO 2021:
· Bekhovo, Russian Federation
· Bkassine, Lebanon
· Bojo, Philippineshe
· Caspalá, Argentina
· Castelo Rodrigo, Portugal
· Cuetzalan del Progreso, Mexico
· Cumeada, Portugal
· Gruyères, Switzerland
· Batu Puteh , Malaysia
· Kaunertal, Austria
· Le Morne, Mauritius
· Lekunberri, Spain
· Maní, Mexico
· Misfat Al Abriyeen, Oman
· Miyama, Japan
· Mokra Gora, Serbia
· Morella, Spain
· Mustafapaşa, Turkey
· Nglanggeran, Indonesia
· Niseko, Japan
· Nkotsi Village, Rwanda
· Old Grand Port, Mauritius
· Olergesailie, Kenya
· Ollantaytambo, Peru
· Pano Lefkara, Cyprus
· Pica, Chile
· Pochampally, India
· Puerto Williams, Chile
· Radovljica, Slovenia
· Rijal Alma'a, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
· Testo Alto, Brazil
· Saas Fee, Switzerland
· San Cosme y Damián, Paraguay
· San Ginesio, Italy
· Sidi Kaouki, Morocco
· Solčava, Slovenia
· Soufli, Greece
· Taraklı, Turkey
· The Purple Island, Republic of Korea
· Ungok Village, Republic of Korea
· Valposchiavo, Switzerland
· Wonchi, Ethiopia
· Xidi, China
· Yucun, China
Additionally, UNWTO will work with the following villages participating in the Upgrade Programme:
· Ordino, Andorra
· Khinalig, Azerbaijan
· Koprivshtitsa, Bulgaria
· Kaštelir Labinci, Croatia
· Agros, Cyprus
· Fuwah, Egypt
· Western Samos, Greece
· Hollókő, Hungary
· Biei, Japan
· Capulálpam de Méndez, Mexico
· Godinje, Montenegro
· Gornja Lastva, Montenegro
· Oukaimeden, Morocco
· Barangay Tenani, Philippines
· Gasura, Rwanda
· Gostilje, Serbia
· Gorenja Vas, Slovenia
· Cantavieja, Spain
· Bo Suak, Thailand
· Ruboni, Uganda
Image Credit: © UNWTO
The most interesting news
Save this Black Friday and experience Passau
Our insider tip is the city of Passau! Known for sightseeing, shopping, cycling, golf, hiking in the Bavarian Forest and beautiful Christmas markets. The IBB Hotel Passau Süd can be found in this charming city. It is the perfect place for a family v
Athens mayor suggests city tax on tourists
Tourist influx put extra pressure on municipal services, says Kostas Bakoyannis.
World Halal Summit, OIC Halal Expo to begin in Istanbul on Thursday
4-day events to see participation of nearly 500 companies from 40 countries.
Celebrate the 51st UAE National Day with Emirates
Celebrating the 51st UAE National Day on 2 December, Emirates is marking the occasion with a range of activities, from new design motifs and lighting schemes in its aircraft cabins, to traditional Arabic sweets served onboard and in the Emirates Loun
Simple Excellence: Bristoria Hotel Erbil has opened its doors this week
With the best of the city in close vicinity, Bristoria Hotel Erbil has opened its doors for first guests this week. With essential needs done to perfection, the refurbished property will concentrate on modern travellers visiting Erbil seeking busines
First Changsha Tourism Development Conference Opened in Wangcheng District
On November 22 to 24, the first Changsha Tourism Development Conference is held in the Wangcheng district of Changsha.
Istanbul expos begin with focus on multitrillion-dollar halal market's global reach
Halal market's influence extends well beyond just Muslims to everyone seeking quality products, services, says President Erdogan.
‘Turkey and India should develop visa-free regime to promote tourism’
President of Travel Agents Association of India says both countries should adopt liberal policies to boost sustainable experiential tourism
Team event on board new A-ROSA SENA
More than 130 colleagues from the river cruise line explored the E-Motion Ship.
Tourism Recovery Accelerates to Reach 65 Percent of Pre-Pandemic Levels
International tourism is on track to reach 65% of pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2022 as the sector continues to bounce back from the pandemic.
Zleep Hotels to open in Recharge City, Horsens
Recharge City - Europe's largest parking and charging station sets new standards for travelers.
Experience The Untold Story Of Indonesian Festive at Four Points By Sheraton Bali, Ungasan
Entering the month full of excitement, Four Points by Sheraton Bali Ungasan, offers guests a stylish and affordable 4-star hotel experience built around attentive service and contemporary amenities for your festive holidays.
Raffles & Fairmont make debut in Qatar
The ultra-luxury Raffles Doha and luxury Fairmont Doha – which herald the entry of the aspirational Raffles Hotels & Resorts and Fairmont Hotels & Resorts brands to Qatar – are now open exclusively to FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ guests and the V
After 2-year COVID ban, Japan opens ports to international cruise ships
New health guidelines require over 95% of passengers to be vaccinated twice, crew members vaccinated thrice.
Emirates to operate double daily direct flights to Colombo from 1 December
Emirates has announced plans to add an additional daily direct flight between Dubai and Colombo, starting from 1 December 2022, to cater to the seasonal increase in the demand for travel.
KAYAK Partners with CLEAR to Help Travelers Get Through the Holidays
Today is expected to be the busiest Thanksgiving travel day at airports across the country, according to KAYAK's search data, and with that comes the anxiety and stress of having to navigate crowded airports. In fact, a new study from KAYAK, the worl
Emirates and flydubai celebrate five years of partnership
Five things to know about how they’re delivering more benefits for travellers.
St. Regis Hotels & Resorts Introduces The House of Celebration
From champagne sabrage to lavish holiday feasts and custom gift wrapping, the spirit of revelry comes to life in exquisite fashion at St. Regis Hotels & Resorts.
Enjoy December 5th with a hot, frothy Turkish coffee
A world-famous beverage, the Turkish coffee holds an important place in Turkish culture. The beverage is so significant that, in 2013, UNESCO designated December 5th as the worldwide Turkish Coffee Day. Let's celebrate this day with a hot, frothy Tur
Hyatt Announces the Opening of Hyatt Regency Trivandrum
The 132-room hotel is the third Hyatt property in the state of Kerala.
Trip.com Group signed a new strategic agreement with Kazakh Tourism
Trip.com Group and the National Company Kazakh Tourism signed a new cooperation agreement at the World Travel Market exhibition in London earlier this month.