UN Tourism Opens Calls for Best Tourism Villages 2024

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The fourth edition of the highly coveted UN Tourism’s Best Tourism Villages initiative is now accepting applications. Established under the new moniker “UN Tourism” (previously known as UNWTO), the initiative has grown significantly in the past three years, attracting nearly 600 applications from almost 100 countries.

The initiative currently unites 186 members in a global network, including 129 Best Tourism Villages and 57 villages participating in the Upgrade Programme. These member villages span 55 countries across five different world regions, a testament to the initiative’s global reach and impact.

UN Tourism Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili states, “Best Tourism Villages by UN Tourism recognises rural destinations that effectively incorporate tourism as a tool for sustainable growth, opportunity and preservation of unique cultural and natural heritage. We eagerly anticipate more examples of tourism being a force for good in the 2024 edition.”

Applications are now open until 24 April 2024 for UN Tourism Member States to propose up to eight candidate villages through their National Tourism Administrations (NTAs). The chosen villages will be announced in the third quarter of the year.

Applications will be assessed by an independent Advisory Board with expertise spanning various fields. They will evaluate villages based on nine key 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.

The Best Tourism Villages by UN Tourism initiative, introduced in 2021, is a pioneering program designed to transform tourism into a lever for rural prosperity and wellbeing. The initiative seeks to value and preserve rural villages, their landscapes, cultural diversity, and knowledge systems while promoting innovative strategies that align with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The program is structured with three essential components:

  1. The ‘Best Tourism Villages by UN Tourism’ recognises remarkable examples of rural tourism destinations, valuing cultural and natural assets and community-based values and promoting innovation and sustainability.
  2. The ‘Best Tourism Villages by UN Tourism’ Upgrade Programme benefits applicants needing support to meet the recognition criteria, providing support from UNWTO and partners to address identified gaps.
  3. The ‘Best Tourism Villages by UN Tourism’ Network creates a platform for exchanging good practices and experiences, comprising representatives from the Best Tourism Village and the Upgrade Programme.

For the villages involved, this initiative offers a wealth of opportunities and resources to drive rural development through tourism.