32 destinations around the world have been named “Best Tourist Villages 2022” by the UNWTO
The award recognises rural destinations that embrace tourism as a driver of development and new employment and income opportunities, while preserving and promoting community values and products. The initiative also recognises villages for their commitment to innovation and sustainability in all its aspects – economic, social and environmental – and for their focus on developing tourism in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In 2022, 32 villages from 18 countries and five continents of the world received this recognition. The villages were assessed by an independent advisory committee on the basis of a set of criteria covering nine areas:
- Cultural and natural resources
- Promotion and conservation of cultural resources
- Economic sustainability
- Social sustainability
- Environmental sustainability
- Tourism development and value chain integration
- Tourism governance and prioritisation
- Infrastructure and connectivity
- Health, safety and security
UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “For rural communities around the world, tourism can make a real difference by creating jobs, supporting local businesses and keeping traditions alive. The UNWTO Best Tourism Villages illustrate the power of the sector to drive economic diversification and create opportunities for all outside the big cities.”
A total of 136 villages were nominated for consideration by 57 UNWTO member states (each member state could nominate a maximum of three villages) for the 2022 edition. Of these, 32 were recognised as best tourist villages by the UNWTO.
Another 20 villages will participate in the upgrading programme. The 52 villages will also become part of the UNWTO Global Network of Best Tourist Villages, established in 2021, which currently includes 115 villages from five continents. The network offers a number of benefits, including on-site and online training, sharing of best practices, and international recognition and brand awareness.
Tourism as a driver for rural development and inclusion
The Best Tourist Villages initiative is the flagship project of the UNWTO’s Tourism for Rural Development programme. This programme aims to ensure that tourism contributes to reducing regional inequalities in income and development, combating depopulation, advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women and youth, advancing innovation and digitalisation, improving connectivity, infrastructure, access to finance and investment, innovation in product development and value chain integration, promoting sustainable practices for more efficient use of resources and reduction of emissions and waste, and enhancing education and skills. The programme encourages multi-level governance and partnerships as well as active participation and empowerment of communities.
7 villages awarded in Latin America
In Ecuador, Aguarico in the Amazonian province of Orellana and Angochagua in the province of Imbabura were awarded. Aguarico is located in an area of exceptional biodiversity where one can find the most varied types of medicinal plants, animals, but also ethnic groups that maintain their own customs. The second village, Angochagua – about 100 km from Quito – is located on the eastern slope of the Taita Imbabura and offers the opportunity to discover the cultural heritage of the Karanki, to learn about ancestral culinary techniques and to learn about Zuleteño embroidery, all of this in the heart of magnificent Andean landscapes. Ecuador’s Minister of Tourism, Niels Olsen, welcomed the awards.
Este reconocimiento premia a los destinos llenos de valores naturales y culturales ¡que orgullo!
— Niels Olsen (@nielsolsenp) December 20, 2022
In Colombia, the small village of Choachí, located 45 kilometres from Bogota, has also been awarded a UN prize. It originates from the Muiscas and means: Window of the Moon or Hill of the Moon. You can enjoy exquisite gastronomy, such as sago biscuits, unique in the country.
In Mexico, 2 sites are present, Creel in the State of Chihuahua which counts exceptional natural wonders, in particular the superb barranca del cobre, but also the indigenous community of the Raramuris; and El Furte in the State of Sinaloa, a pretty village with a colonial past which preserved many vestiges of this time.
Finally, in Peru, the villages of Lamas and Raqchi made the list of the Best Villages 2022. Lamas, located in the north of the country, is home to the Quechua community of El Wayku, an area where coffee and delicious cocoa are produced, while Raqchi, in the department of Cusco, is a village known for its community businesses, as well as the Wiracocha temple or Inca Parthenon. It is an archaeological complex dating from the 15th century, considered one of the most daring Inca engineering works. Mincetur director Luis Fernando Helguero said: “This is great news for our country. At a time when we need peace and unity, receiving a world-class award fills us with positive expectations. It is necessary to promote the reactivation of tourism, an important generator of employment and foreign currency, especially in these regions of the country. To this end, the collaboration with the private sector will be transcendental”, adding that PromPeru’s offices around the world will make every effort to publicise this award.
The list of the best tourist villages by UNWTO 2022 :
- Zell am See, Austria
- Wagrain, Austria
- Puqueldón, Chile
- Dazhai, China
- Jingzhu, China
- Choachí, Colombia
- Aguarico, Ecuador
- Angochagua, Ecuador
- Choke Mountains Ecovillage, Ethiopia
- Mestia, Georgia
- Kfar Kama, Israel
- Sauris-Zahre, Italy
- Isola del Giglio, Italy
- Umm Qais, Jordan
- Creel, Mexico
- El Fuerte, Mexico
- Ksar Elkhorbat, Morocco
- Moulay Bouzerktoune, Morocco
- Lamas, Peru
- Raqchi, Peru
- Castelo Novo, Portugal
- Pyeongsa-ri, Republic of Korea
- Rasinari, Romania
- AlUla Old Town, Saudi Arabia
- Bohinj, Slovenia
- Rupit, Spain
- Alquezar, Spain
- Guadalupe, Spain
- Murten, Switzerland
- Andermatt, Switzerland
- Birgi, Türkiye
- Thái Hải, Vietnam
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