April 19, 2024
Sustainability Travel

Applications sought for Best Tourism Villages in 2024

Initiative leverages tourism to catalyse rural prosperity

To celebrate and promote rural tourism as a catalyst for sustainable growth, UN Tourism – the new name of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) – has officially opened the application process for the 2024 edition of its prestigious ‘Best Tourism Villages’ initiative.

Having garnered nearly 600 applications from almost 100 countries across the past three editions, the UN Tourism Best Tourism Villages Network currently boasts 186 members globally.

Among them, 129 villages have been recognised as Best Tourism Villages, while 57 villages participate in the Upgrade Programme. Collectively, these member villages represent 55 countries spanning five world regions.

Zurab Pololikashvili, the Secretary-General of UN Tourism, said: “Best Tourism Villages by UN Tourism recognises those rural destinations where tourism is being effectively embraced as an opportunity or as a tool for sustainable growth or preserving unique cultural and natural heritage.

“For the 2024 edition, we look forward to seeing more examples of tourism as a force for good.”

Member States of UN Tourism are encouraged to submit up to eight candidate villages through their National Tourism Administrations (NTAs).

The application deadline is April 24, 2024, with the selected villages slated to be announced in the year’s third quarter.

An external independent advisory board, comprising experts in various fields, will evaluate applications based on nine key areas: Cultural and Natural Resources, Economic Sustainability, and Health, Safety, and Security.

Launched in 2021, the ‘Best Tourism Villages by UN Tourism initiative aims to leverage tourism to catalyse rural prosperity and well-being (Image: Laurentiu Morariu).

The initiative adopts a dual-pronged approach, valuing and preserving rural villages, landscapes, cultural diversity, and knowledge systems while promoting innovative strategies aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The initiative is structured into three components:

  1. Best Tourism Villages Recognition: Highlighting outstanding examples of rural tourism destinations with cultural and natural assets, the program recognises villages committed to innovation and sustainability. Selection is based on evaluating their resources and initiatives in nine economic, social, and environmental areas.
  2. Upgrade Programme: Aimed at villages not meeting all criteria for recognition, this programme offers support from UN Tourism and partners to address identified gaps in the evaluation process.
  3. UN Tourism Network: Providing a platform for exchanging experiences and good practices, the network includes representatives from recognised Best Tourism Villages and those in the Upgrade Programme. It benefits from the contributions of experts and public and private sector partners engaged in promoting tourism for rural development. The network has already organised training sessions and masterclasses, reaching hundreds of participants since its inception.
    Arnold Pinto

    Arnold Pinto

    Arnold Pinto is an award-winning journalist with wide-ranging Middle East and Asia experience in the tech, aerospace, defence, luxury watchmaking, business, automotive, and fashion verticals. He is passionate about conserving endangered native wildlife globally. Arnold enjoys 4x4 off-roading, camping and exploring global destinations off the beaten track.
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