UNWTO holds Best Tourism Villages Ceremony

 Saturday, March 18, 2023 


The World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has held the First Annual Meeting of the Best Villages Network in an effort to recognise tourism’s importance for rural development, especially for destinations that stand out for their commitment to sustainability across all fields – economy, society and environment.

During this meeting, representatives of the villages discussed the challenges and opportunities that await them as the year unfolds, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

“It is a great honour that AlUla is among this year’s award recipients. We look forward to continuing to raise awareness about the transformative role of tourism through our support for meaningful initiatives such as this,” Al-Saud, Minister of Culture of Saudi Arabia, said.

According to UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili, tourism is a powerful force for growth and opportunity.

With Best Tourism Villages, more jobs are created, and businesses receive support as well as destinations that preserve local heritage.

Similarly, the Minister of Tourism of Saudi Arabia, H.E. Ahmed Al Khateeb, noted that throughout the initiative for Best Tourism Villages, the ministry is looking forward to sharing the rich history as well as the heritage of Saudi Arabia.

The ceremony of Best Tourism Villages was celebrated in AlUla, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, on March 12 to 13.

The Best Tourism Villages by UNTWO is the organisation’s initiative to improve tourism of rural development and opportunity. Furthermore, the initiative has produced an annual list of destinations that have made a commitment to sustainability.

AlUla Old Town District was recognised during this prestigious for its efforts in sustainable tourism, serving as a leading example of the far-reaching benefits that tourism can offer to rural communities.

The Best Tourism Villages Initiative includes three main pillars, the Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO, which recognises villages that is an example of rural tourism; the Best Villages by UNWTO Upgrade Programme, which benefits some villages that do not fully meet the criteria and BTV by UNTWO’s Global Network enables the opportunity for exchanging experiences and good practices.

According to UNWTO, the best villages in the EU for 2022 includes Zell am See and Wagrain in Austria, Sauris-Zahre and Isola del Giglio in Italy, Castelo Novo in Portugal, Rasinari in Romani, Bohinj in Slovenia, Rupit, Alquézar and Guadalupe in Spain as well as Murten and Andermatt in Switzerland.

UNWTO pointed out it would be working with several villages in the Upgrade Programme, such as Krupa na Vrbasu in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kalopanagiotis, and Pissouri in Cyprus, as well as Otricoli in Italy.

In addition to these villages, Istebna in Poland and Ferraria de São João in Portugal are also candidates for this programme.

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