In a recent interview, Sandra Carvao, a leading figure in the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), detailed the significant role of the Best Tourism Villages initiative plays in enhancing rural development.
The initiative, launched in 2021, was created to emphasize tourism’s potential in rural areas, aiming to reverse population decline, preserve natural and cultural resources, and foster local opportunities. It allows for a wider spread of tourism benefits across territories, attracting varied types of travelers and creating jobs in remote regions.
According to Carvao, member states of the UNWTO may present three candidate villages annually for evaluation. An independent advisory board assesses the villages in nine specific areas, leading to the selection of the best tourism villages and others for an upgrade program. These villages become part of the Best Tourism Villages network, fostering a global community where they can exchange experiences and partake in monthly mentoring sessions on topics such as marketing, social media, and product development.
The network’s inaugural face-to-face meeting took place on the day of the interview, symbolizing a milestone for a community that includes members from Vietnam, Colombia, Ecuador, Spain, Italy, and other countries. Carvao highlighted the extraordinary value in allowing remote villages to learn from each other’s unique experiences and challenges.
The Best Tourism Villages initiative has already attracted significant media attention, promoting awareness on both a global and domestic scale. The recognition not only drives tourism but also sparks interest in investment and governmental support. Carvao pointed to a Spanish village as an example of how the program had revitalized a nearly disappearing community, emphasizing that the initiative’s importance lies in providing the conditions for sustained tourism development.
What is the Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO?
In conclusion, the interview illuminated the Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO project as an innovative and holistic approach to rural growth, creating a collaborative and supportive network of villages that harnesses the power of tourism for sustainable community development.
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Link to UNWTO www.unwto.org