Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO

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Best Tourism Villages by UNWTOThe United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) celebrated tourism as a major factor of sustainable rural development at a special Best Tourism Villages ceremony to held in AlUla, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (12-13 March 2023).

Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO (BTV) is the flagship initiative of the Organization’s wider work to advance tourism as a pillar of rural development and opportunity. Since 2021, BTV has produced an annual list of destinations which stand out for their commitment to sustainability in all its aspects – economic, social and environmental – and the preservation and promotion of community-based values. The ceremony brought together Ministers of Tourism alongside representatives of the most recent villages recognized by UNWTO, including AlUla Old Town District.

The initiative is one of the pillars of UNWTO Tourism for Rural Development Programme. Every year, Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO recognizes destinations which stand out for their commitment to sustainability in all its aspects – economic, social and environmental – and the preservation and promotion of community-based values.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “Tourism is a leading pillar of growth and opportunity for villages, supporting rural businesses, providing jobs for local communities, and celebrating traditions and heritage. Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO recognises those destinations that are showing what tourism can offer, both for tourists as well as for the communities themselves.”

“We are delighted to host the UNWTO Best Tourism Villages 2022 Ceremony in Saudi Arabia this year. We look forward to sharing the rich history and heritage of the Kingdom with event attendees and participants,” said H.E. Ahmed Al Khateeb, Minister of Tourism, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


From Austria to Vietnam, 32 destinations from all around the world have been named as ‘Best Tourism Villages 2022’ by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

The accolade recognizes rural destinations that are embracing tourism as a driver of development and new opportunities for jobs and income, while preserving and promoting community-based values and products. The initiative also recognizes villages for their commitment to innovation and sustainability in all its aspects – economic, social and environmental – and a focus on developing tourism in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

A total of 136 villages were put forward for consideration by 57 UNWTO Member States (each Member State could nominate a maximum of three villages) for the 2022 edition. From these, 32 were recognized as Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO.

A further 20 villages will enter the Upgrade Programme. All 52 villages will also become part of the UNWTO Best Tourism Villages Global Network created in 2021 which from this date gathers 115 villages from the five continents. The Network provides a number of benefits including onsite and online training, sharing of good practices and international brand recognition and awareness.

List of Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO 2022

– Zell am See, Austria
– Wagrain, Austria
– Puqueldón, Chile
– Dazhai, China
– Jingzhu, China
– Choachí, Colombia
– Aguarico, Ecuador
– Angochagua, Ecuador
– Choke Mountains Ecovillage, Ethiopia
– Mestia, Georgia
– Kfar Kama, Israel
– Sauris-Zahre, Italy
– Isola del Giglio, Italy
– Umm Qais, Jordan
– Creel, Mexico
– El Fuerte, Mexico
– Ksar Elkhorbat, Morocco
– Moulay Bouzerktoune, Morocco
– Lamas, Peru
– Raqchi, Peru
– Castelo Novo, Portugal
– Pyeongsa-ri, Republic of Korea
– Rasinari, Romania
– AlUla Old Town, Saudi Arabia
– Bohinj, Slovenia
– Rupit, Spain
– Alquézar, Spain
– Guadalupe, Spain
– Murten, Switzerland
– Andermatt, Switzerland
– Birgi, Türkiye
– Thái Hải, Vietnam

Additionally, UNWTO will work with the following villages participating in the Upgrade Programme:

– Trevelin, Argentina
– Krupa na Vrbasu, Bosnia-Herzegovina
– Fontainhas, Cabo Verde
– Ninhue, Chile
– San Vicente de Chucuri, Colombia
– Barichara, Colombia
– Kalopanagiotis, Cyprus
– Pissouri, Cyprus
– Adaba, Ethiopia
– Khonoma, India
– Neot Semadar, Israel
– Otricoli, Italy
– Il Ngwesi, Kenya
– Grand Baie, Mauritius
– Bella Vista, Paraguay
– Istebna, Poland
– Ferraria de São João, Portugal
– Castara, Trinidad and Tobago
– Anıtlı, Türkiye
– Cumalıkızık, Türkiye

Applications in 2021 and 2022 were evaluated by an independent Advisory Board. The composition of this multidisciplinary board for 2021-2022 is as follows:

– Federico de Arteaga (PhD, Innovation Sustainability, 2022)
– Joel Callañaupa (Planeterra, 2022)
– Mari Dunleavy (ICCA Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture, 2022)
– Ahmed Eiweida (World Bank, 2022)
– Elena García Garrido (ENRD, 2022)
– Christian Gsodam (ECR European Committee of the Regions, 2021-2022)
– Amran Hamzah (CIPD Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 2021-2022)
– Ena Harvey (ICCA Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture, 2021)
– Lázaro Israel (Member of the Panel of Experts International Fund for Cultural Diversity at UNESCO, 2021-2022)
– (Dr.) Manal Kelig (ATTA Adventure Travel Trade Association, 2021-2022)
– Judy Kepher Gona (STTA Sustainable Travel & Tourism Agenda, 2021-2022)
– Fergus Maclaren (ICOMOS International Cultural Tourism Committee, 2021-2022)
– Joxe Mari Aizega (BCC Basque Culinary Center, 2021)
– David Mora Gómez (BCC Basque Culinary Center,2022)
– Ximena Muñoz Vivas (Instituto Design Thinking, 2021-2022)
– Fabrizio Angelo Orlando (TripAdvisor, 2021-2022)
– Helena Rey de Assis (UNEP – UN Environment Programme, 2021)
– Jacqui Taylor (Agritourism Africa, 2022)
– Peter Wostner (Researcher and Policy Expert. Chairman of the Working Party on Rural Policy at OECD, 2021)
– (Dr.) Endo Yoshihide (FAO Food and Agriculture Organization, 2021-2022)

First published at – Global Travel News