The UNWTO Best Tourism Villages Initiative launched during the occasion of the opening of UNWTO’s Regional Office in the Middle East (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia), underscores the role of tourism in rural development. The initiative includes three pillars:
1. The ‘Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO’ Label: The Label will recognize a village that is an outstanding example of a rural tourism destination with recognized cultural and natural assets, that preserves and promotes rural and community-based values, products, and lifestyle and has a clear commitment to innovation and sustainability in all its aspects – economic, social and environmental.
2. The ‘Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO’ Upgrade Programme: The Upgrade programme will benefit a number of villages that do not fully meet the Label criteria. These villages will receive support from UNWTO and its Partners in improving elements of the areas identified as gaps in the evaluation process.
3. 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 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 31 August 2021. The selected villages will be announced in October 2021, on the occasion of the 24 session of the UNWTO General Assembly (Marrakesh, Morocco).
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