UN Tourism opens calls for this year’s Best Tourism Villages

UN Tourism, rebranded from UNWTO, has opened applications for the 2024 edition of its Best Tourism Villages initiative.

The initiative, launched in 2021, is one of the pillars of the organisation’s Tourism for Rural Development Programme. It recognises those rural destinations where tourism is being effectively embraced as an opportunity or as a tool for sustainable growth or for preserving unique cultural and natural heritage.

The UN Best Tourism Village initiative recognises tourism villages that are able to drive rural development and local well-being; Japan’s Hakuba Valley, one of 2023’s winners, pictured

Over the past three successful editions, UN Tourism received almost 600 applications from nearly 100 countries.

Currently, the UN Tourism Best Tourism Villages Network brings together 186 members globally, comprising 129 recognised as Best Tourism Villages and 57 villages taking part in the Upgrade Programme. Together, they represent 55 countries across five world regions.

Applications are evaluated based on 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 Prioritisation of Tourism; Infrastructure and Connectivity; and Health, Safety and Security.

Besides recognising tourism villages that meet the nine requirements, the initiative also includes an Upgrade Programme that supports applicants that do not fully meet the criteria and helps address the gaps identified in the evaluation process, as well as the UN Tourism Network which brings together representatives of both recognised villages and those in the Upgrade Programme together to exchange experiences, good practices and opportunities.

UN Tourism’s Members States can present up to eight villages through their National Tourism Administrations and via this form.

Applications will close on April 24 and the winners will be announced in 3Q2024.

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