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UNWTO announces list of Best Tourism Villages 2021

UNWTO announces list of Best Tourism Villages 2021
Bekhovo, Russian Federation
Written by Harry Johnson

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.

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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.

UNWTO has announced the list of “Best Tourism Villages” 2021 in Madrid. The list includes 44 villages from 32 countries across the five world regions.

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. These villages stand out for their natural and cultural resources, besides their innovative and transformative actions and commitment to the development of tourism in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The villages were evaluated by an independent advisory board based on a set of criteria: 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; and health, safety and security.

All 44 villages scored a total of 80 or more points out of a possible 100. This initiative includes three pillars.

  1. The ‘Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO’: It 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.
  2. The ‘Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO’ Upgrade Program: The Upgrade program 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.
  3. 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 Program, 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 these, 44 were recognized as Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO. Another 20 villages will enter the Upgrade Program 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.

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About the author

Harry Johnson

Harry Johnson has been the assignment editor for eTurboNews for mroe than 20 years. He lives in Honolulu, Hawaii, and is originally from Europe. He enjoys writing and covering the news.

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