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Looking to get off the beaten track and discover the essence of rural, sustainable tourism in 2023? Consider these villages – the world’s best in 2022, according to the UNWTO – designated from across destinations from Austria to Vietnam.

The ‘Best Tourism Villages 2022’ accolade by the World Tourism Organization 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).

In late 2022, a total of 32 villages from 18 countries in the five world regions were awarded the recognition for the year. 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 Development and Value Chain Integration
• Governance and Prioritization of Tourism
• Infrastructure and Connectivity
• Health, Safety, and Security

“For rural communities everywhere, tourism can be a true gamechanger in providing jobs, supporting local businesses and keeping traditions alive,” says UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili. “The Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO showcase the power of the sector to drive economic diversification and create opportunities for all outside of big cities.”

<The village of Umm Qais, Jordan, is famous for its impressive colonnaded streets, vaulted terrace, and the ruins of two theatre

The 2022 best village list includes:

• 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

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 Program. 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.

The Best Tourism Villages initiative is the flagship project of the UNWTO Tourism for Rural Development Program, which includes three pillars:

1. The ‘Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO’: Recognizes villages that are an outstanding example of a rural tourism destination with accredited 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 Programme: The Upgrade Programme benefits a number of villages that do not fully meet the criteria to receive recognition. These villages 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’ Global Network: The Network provides a space for exchanging experiences and good practices, learnings, and opportunities. It includes experts and public and private sector partners engaged in the promotion of tourism for rural development, as well.


First published at Travel Industry Today

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News