Following two successful editions of its hunt for the world’s most outstanding tourism villages that are able to drive rural development and local well-being, UNWTO has opened its third call for applications to its Best Tourism Villages initiative.
Launched in 2021, the initiative is one of the pillars of UNWTO Tourism for Rural Development Programme. It has recognised more than 70 tourism villages from almost 40 countries. Qualification is determined by an independent advisory board based on a set of criteria covering nine areas, including Cultural and Natural Resources; Economic Sustainability; Tourism Development and Value Chain Integration; and Health, Safety, and Security.
Here in Asia, the tourism villages of Malaysia’s Batu Puteh; Philippines’ Bojo; Japan’s Miyama; Indonesia’s Nglanggeran; India’s Pochampally; South Korea’s The Purple Island, Ungok and Pyeongsa-ri; China’s Xidi, Yucun, Dazhai and Jingzhu; and Vietnam’s Thái Hải were awarded the recognition over the last two years.
Besides recognising tourism villages that meet all nine stringent requirements, the initiative also encompasses an Upgrade Programme, which helps villages just shy of making the cut to address gaps identified in the evaluation process; and the Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO Network, which brings representatives of both recognised villages and those in the Upgrade Programme together to trade experiences and good practices.
UNWTO secretary-general Zurab Pololikashvili said: “Tourism can make a real difference for rural communities, delivering jobs, supporting businesses and celebrating and protecting traditions. Through Best Tourism Villages, UNWTO is recognising those rural destinations that committed to making tourism a pillar of opportunity and well-being.”
UNWTO’s Members States can present up to eight villages through their National Tourism Administrations (NTAs) and via this form.
Applications will close on June 23, 2023, and the winners announced later this year.