Temple of Wiracocha, Raqchi, Peru. Raqchi is one of the 2022 Best Tourism Villages.
Photo: © Adwo/Shutterstock.com

Rural tourism for community empowerment

Tourism can serve as a driver of rural development and inclusion. Experts have discussed how tourism policy can support tourism's contribution to rural development.

At a meeting of the G20 Tourism Working Group in the Rann of Kutch, India, in February 2023, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) shared its recently launched Tourism for Rural Development Programme, including the Best Tourism Villages initiative.

The meeting explored the main challenges facing the sector, particularly with regard to digital and non-digital infrastructure, the empowerment of local communities and skills development. 

Representatives from Indonesia, Spain, Italy and Japan joined UNWTO, the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP), the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the South Asia Women's Network (SWAN) in discussing how tourism policy can support tourism's contribution to rural development. 

Making tourism sustainable

Participants stressed that the sustainability of tourism in rural areas is dependent on a comprehensive planning strategy which is adopted and implemented based on a multi-action and multi-stakeholder participatory approach. Furthermore, it was noted that rural tourism requires the support of regional and local governments, the private sector, industry associations, civil society, communities and tourists.

The Best Tourism Villages initiative is the flagship project of the UNWTO Tourism for Rural Development Programme. The aims of  the Programme are to ensure that tourism contributes to reducing regional inequalities in income and development, fighting depopulation, progressing gender equality and women’s and youth empowerment, advancing innovation and digitalisation, improving connectivity, infrastructure, access to finance and investment, innovating in product development and value chain integration, promoting sustainable practices for more efficient use of resources and a reduction of emissions and waste and enhancing education and skills. The Programme promotes multi-level governance and partnerships and the active involvement and empowerment of communities.

Best Tourism Villages 2022

Thirty-two destinations from all around the world have been named as Best Tourism Villages 2022 by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). They showcase the power of the sector to drive economic diversification and create opportunities for all outside of big cities.

A further 20 villages are to enter the Upgrade Programme. All 52 villages will also become part of the UNWTO Best Tourism Villages Global Network created in 2021, which from this date gathers 115 villages from the five continents. The Network provides a number of benefits, including onsite and online training, sharing of good practices and international brand recognition and awareness.

List of Best Tourism 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
  • Alquézar, Spain
  • Guadalupe, Spain
  • Murten, Switzerland
  • Andermatt, Switzerland
  • Birgi, Türkiye
  • Thái Hải, Vietnam


Read more on the UNWTO website

Read more on the Best Tourism Villages website (by UNWTO)

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