UNWTO Opens Call for Best Tourism Villages
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia/Madrid, Spain, 26 May 2021 – The search is on for the best examples of rural villages harnessing the power of tourism to provide opportunity and safeguard their communities, local traditions and heritage. The initiative of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) will identify villages taking innovative and transformative approaches to tourism in rural areas in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
With the vision of making tourism a positive force for transformation, rural development and community wellbeing, ‘Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO’ aims to maximise the contribution of the sector to reducing regional inequalities and fighting against rural depopulation. It also seeks to advance the role of tourism in valuing and safeguarding rural villages along with their associated landscapes, knowledge systems, biological and cultural diversity, local values and activities, including gastronomy.
The launch of the ‘Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO’ initiative takes place on the occasion of the opening of UNWTO’s first Regional Office in the Middle East (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia), underscoring the focus of the Office on, among other issues, the role of tourism in rural development.
At the opening of the UNWTO Regional office in Riyadh, His Excellency Ahmed Al Khateeb, Saudi Arabia’s Minister for Tourism, said: