The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has announced an open call for Best Tourism Villages 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.
The search is on for the best examples of rural villages harnessing the power of tourism to provide opportunity and safeguard their communities, local traditions and heritage. The initiative of UNWTO will identify villages taking innovative and transformative approaches to tourism in rural areas in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The initiative includes three pillars:
- The ‘Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO’ Label: The Label will recognize a village which 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The Call for Applications is open to all UNWTO Member States (herewith referred as Member(s)). Applications are not open for individual application by villages and must always be presented by a Member.
- In line with the UNWTO definition of Rural Tourism approved by the 22nd General Assembly in 2017, Members can present candidacies of villages with the following characteristics:
- Low population and a maximum of 15.000 inhabitants (for the purpose of this requisite, the village will need to submit the population census for the latest year available)
- Be located in an inland landscape with an important presence of traditional activities such as agriculture, forestry, livestock or inland fishing; and
- Share community values and lifestyle.
- In order to streamline the evaluation process, a limitation on the total number of candidate villages per country has been set up. Therefore, each Member can submit a maximum of three applications.
For more information, visit https://www.unwto.org/tourism-villages/en/unwto-opens-call-for-best-tourism-villages/