Published on : Saturday, May 29, 2021
World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has decided to recognise villages across the world that are committed to the promotion and preservation of their cultural heritage and sustainable development through tourism.
This new initiative was announced at the opening of the UNWTO Middle East regional office in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
UNWTO said it will identify villages taking innovative and transformative approaches to tourism in rural areas in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
With the vision of making tourism a positive force for transformation, rural development and community wellbeing, ‘Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO’ according to the international body, aims to maximise the contribution of the sector to reducing regional inequalities and fighting against rural depopulation.
It also seeks to advance the role of tourism in valuing and safeguarding rural villages along with their associated landscapes, knowledge systems, biological and cultural diversity, local values and activities, including gastronomy.
According to a release by UNWTO, the initiative includes three aspects — the ‘Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO’ Label, the ‘Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO’ Upgrade Programme and the ‘Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO’ Network.
It will include representatives of the villages awarded the ‘Best Tourism Village by UNWTO’ Label, the villages participating in the Upgrade Programme, as well as experts, public and private sector partners engaged in the promotion of tourism for rural development.
UNWTO Members States can present up to three villages to be assessed by the Initiative.
Applications will close on July 31, 2021 and the selected villages will be announced in October this year on the occasion of the 24th session of the UNWTO General Assembly (to be held in Marrakesh, Morocco from October 12-15).