UNWTO names its top tourist villages for 2023

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has announced its list of the best tourist villages for 2023. The award recognizes villages that lead the way in nurturing rural areas and preserving the landscape, cultural diversity, local values ​​and culinary traditions.

In this third edition, 54 villages from all regions were selected from almost 260 applications. 20 more villages have joined the upgradation program and all 74 villages are now part of the UNWTO Network of Best Tourist Villages. The villages were named during the UNWTO General Assembly held this week in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

Tourism can be a powerful force for inclusion, empowering local communities and sharing benefits across regions

“Tourism can be a powerful force for inclusion, empowering local communities and sharing benefits across regions,” UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili emphasizes. “This initiative is a recognition of villages that have used tourism as a catalyst for their development and well-being.”

A global network of local communities

Launched in 2021, the UNWTO Best Tourism Villages initiative is part of UNWTO’s Tourism for Rural Development programme. The program works to promote development and inclusion in rural areas, combat depopulation, promote innovation and integrate the value chain through tourism and promote sustainable practices.

As in previous editions, villages are assessed in nine key areas:

  • Cultural and natural resources
  • Promotion and preservation of cultural resources
  • Economic sustainability
  • Social sustainability
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Tourism development and value chain integration
  • Management and prioritization of tourism
  • Infrastructure and connectivity
  • Health, safety and security

The initiative consists of three pillars:

Best Tourist Villages by UNWTO: It recognizes outstanding rural tourism destinations with accredited cultural and natural assets, a commitment to preserving community values ​​and a clear commitment to innovation and sustainability in economic, social and environmental dimensions.

Top Tourist Villages from the UNWTO Upgrade Programme: It supports villages on their way to meeting recognition criteria by assisting in areas identified as gaps during the assessment.

The best network of tourist villages: a space for the exchange of experience and good practices, training and opportunities among its members and is open to input from experts and partners from the public and private sectors committed to promoting tourism as an engine for rural development.

The network is expanding every year and aims to become the largest global village network: with the announcement today of these 74 new members, 190 villages are now part of this unique network.

The best tourist villages of 2023

The list of UNWTO 2023 Top Tourist Villages is as follows (in alphabetical order):

  • Al Selah, Jordan
  • Barrancas, Chile
  • Bei, Japan
  • Caleta Tortel, Chile
  • Cantavieja, Spain
  • Chacas, Peru
  • Chavin de Huantar, Peru
  • Dashur, Egypt
  • Dordogne, India
  • Dongbaek, Republic of Korea
  • Douma, Lebanon
  • Ericeira, Portugal
  • Phillandia, Colombia
  • Hakuba, Japan
  • Fig trees, Mexico
  • Huangling, China
  • Jalpa de Canovas, Mexico
  • Kandovan, Iran
  • Carolina, Argentina
  • Lefis village, Ethiopia
  • Lerici, Italy
  • Manteigas, Portugal
  • Morcote, Switzerland
  • Mosan, Republic of Korea
  • Oku-Matsushima, Japan
  • Omitlan de Juarez, Mexico
  • Onati, Spain
  • Ordino, Andorra
  • Oyacachi, Ecuador
  • Paucartambo, Peru
  • Penglipuran, Indonesia
  • Pisco Elki, Chile
  • Pozuzo, Peru
  • Saint-Ursan, Switzerland
  • Sati, Kazakhstan
  • Schladming, Austria
  • Sehwa, Republic of Korea
  • Sentob, Uzbekistan
  • Shirakawa, Japan
  • Siguenza, Spain
  • Sirince, Turkey
  • Siwa, Egypt
  • Slun, Croatia
  • Sortela, Portugal
  • Sankt Anton am Arlberg, Austria
  • Thanh Hoa, Vietnam
  • Taquile, Peru
  • Tokaj, Hungary
  • Valeni, Moldova
  • Villa da Maddalena, Portugal
  • Xiajiang, China
  • Zapatoca, Colombia
  • Zhagana, China
  • Zhujiawan, China

The villages selected to participate in the upgrade program this year are:

  • Asuka, Japan
  • Baths of Montemayor, Spain
  • Bilebante, Indonesia
  • Ciocănești, Romania
  • Civita di Bagnoreggio, Italy
  • El Cisne, Ecuador
  • Iza, Colombia
  • Kale Üçağız, Turkey
  • Kemaliye, Turkey
  • Kfar Masaryk, Israel
  • Madla, India
  • Ounagha, Morocco
  • Pella, Indonesia
  • Puerto Octay, Chile
  • Sabionetta, Italy
  • Saint Catherine, Egypt
  • Sarhua, Peru
  • Taro, Indonesia
  • Villa de Frades, Portugal
  • Yanque, Peru

The call for proposals for the fourth edition will take place in the early months of 2024, opening a new opportunity for rural destinations to shine on the world stage.

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