UNWTO has released a list of the “Best Tourism Villages” for 2021

At the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) General Assembly in Madrid, the best examples of villages embracing tourism to provide opportunity and drive sustainable development were honored.

The Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO initiative was launched to advance tourism’s role in preserving rural villages, as well as their landscapes, natural and cultural diversity, and local values and activities, such as local gastronomy.

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In 2021, 44 villages from 32 countries spread across five world regions will be recognized. They are all notable for their natural and cultural resources, as well as their innovative and transformative actions and commitment to tourism development in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

An independent Advisory Board evaluated the villages based on a set of criteria covering nine areas:

Le Morne, Mauritius
Photo by Dominik Ruhl on Pexels.com

Cultural and Natural Resources
Promotion and Conservation of Cultural Resources
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 selected villages received 80 or more points out of a possible 100.

The Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO initiative includes three pillars:  

  1. The ‘Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO’: Recognizes villages which 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.
  2. 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.
  3. A total 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.
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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
greece best tourism village
Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom on Pexels.com

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

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