UNWTO lists Greece’s Soufli in “Best Tourism Villages” 2021

UNWTO lists Greece's Soufli in This initiative recognizes those villages committed to making tourism a strong driver of their development and wellbeing

The best examples of villages embracing tourism to provide opportunity and drive sustainable development have been celebrated at the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) General Assembly in Madrid.

The Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO initiative was launched to advance the role of tourism in safeguarding rural villages, along with their landscapes, natural and cultural diversity, and their local values and activities, including local gastronomy.

A total of 44 villages from 32 countries across the five world regions were granted recognition in 2021. All of them stand out for their natural and cultural re-s as well as for their innovative and transformative actions and commitment to the development of tourism in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The villages were evaluated by an independent Advisory Board based on a set of criteria covering nine areas:

Cultural and Natural Re-s

Promotion and Conservation of Cultural Re-s

Economic Sustainability

Social Sustainability

Environmental Sustainability

Tourism Potential and Development and Value Chain Integration

Governance and Prioritization of Tourism

Infrastructure and Connectivity

Health, Safety and Security

All of the 44 chosen villages scored a total of 80 or more points or more out of a possible 100.

Tourism as a driver of rural development and inclusion

“Tourism can be a driver of social cohesion and inclusion by promoting a fairer distribution of benefits throughout the territory and empowering local communities,” says UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili. “This initiative recognizes those villages committed to making tourism a strong driver of their development and wellbeing”.

The Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO initiative includes three pillars:  

The ‘Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO’: Recognizes villages that are an outstanding example of a rural tourism destination with recognized 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.

The ‘Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO’ Upgrade Programme: The Upgrade programme will benefit a number of villages that do not fully meet the criteria to receive the recognition. These villages will receive support from UNWTO and its Partners in improving elements of the areas identified as gaps in the evaluation process.

The ‘Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO’ Network: The Network will provide a space for exchanging experiences and good practices, learnings, and opportunities. It will include representatives of the villages recognized as the ‘Best Tourism Village by UNWTO’ , 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.

A total of 174 villages were proposed by 75 UNWTO Member States (each Member State could present a maximum of three villages) for the 2021 pilot initiative. Among which 44 were recognized as Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO. Another 20 villages will enter the Upgrade Programme of the Initiative. All 64 villages enter to make part of the UNWTO Best Tourism Villages Network.

The next edition will open in February 2022.

List of Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO 2021:

Bekhovo, Russian Federation

Bkassine, Lebanon

Bojo, Philippineshe

Caspalá, Argentina

Castelo Rodrigo, Portugal

Cuetzalan del Progreso, Mexico

Cumeada, Portugal

Gruyères, Switzerland

Batu Puteh , Malaysia

Kaunertal, Austria

Le Morne, Mauritius

Lekunberri, Spain

Maní, Mexico

Misfat Al Abriyeen, Oman

Miyama, Japan

Mokra Gora, Serbia

Morella, Spain

Mustafapaşa, Turkey

Nglanggeran, Indonesia

Niseko, Japan

Nkotsi Village, Rwanda

Old Grand Port, Mauritius

Olergesailie, Kenya

Ollantaytambo, Peru

Pano Lefkara, Cyprus

Pica, Chile

Pochampally, India

Puerto Williams, Chile

Radovljica, Slovenia

Rijal Alma’a, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Testo Alto, Brazil

Saas Fee, Switzerland

San Cosme y Damián, Paraguay

San Ginesio, Italy

Sidi Kaouki, Morocco

Solčava, Slovenia

Soufli, Greece

Taraklı, Turkey

The Purple Island, Republic of Korea

Ungok Village, Republic of Korea

Valposchiavo, Switzerland

Wonchi, Ethiopia

Xidi, China

Yucun, China

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

Ordino, Andorra

Khinalig, Azerbaijan

Koprivshtitsa, Bulgaria

Kaštelir Labinci, Croatia

Agros, Cyprus

Fuwah, Egypt

Western Samos, Greece

Hollókő, Hungary

Biei, Japan

Capulálpam de Méndez, Mexico

Godinje, Montenegro

Gornja Lastva, Montenegro

Oukaimeden, Morocco

Barangay Tenani, Philippines

Gasura, Rwanda

Gostilje, Serbia

Gorenja Vas, Slovenia

Cantavieja, Spain

Bo Suak, Thailand

Ruboni, Uganda

RELATED TOPICS: GreeceGreek tourism newsTourism in GreeceGreek islandsHotels in GreeceTravel to GreeceGreek destinationsGreek travel marketGreek tourism statisticsGreek tourism report

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