The best tourist villages in the world are being chosen this year as well

As the World Tourism Organization points out, during the past three editions, almost 600 applications were received from almost 100 countries.


February 9, 2024.

UN Tourism, until recently the UNWTO, has opened applications for another edition of its initiative "The best tourist villages" in 2024. As the World Tourism Organization points out, during the past three editions, almost 600 applications were received from almost 100 countries.

Currently, the UN network of Best Tourist Villages gathers 186 members worldwide, including 129 recognized as Best Tourist Villages and 57 villages participating in the Upgrade Program. Together they represent 55 countries in five world regions.

"The 'Best Tourist Villages' initiative recognizes those rural destinations where tourism is effectively accepted as an opportunity or as a tool for sustainable growth or for the preservation of unique cultural and natural heritage", said the Secretary General of UN Tourism, Zurab Pololikashvili.


UN Tourism member states are invited to nominate up to eight villages through their national tourism administrations. Applications are open until April 24, 2024., and the selected villages are published in the third quarter of this year.

///The town of Slunj was recognized by the UN World Tourism Organization

An external independent Advisory Board, consisting of experts from various fields, evaluates the applications based on nine areas:

1. Cultural and natural resources;
2. Promotion and preservation of cultural resources;
3. Economic sustainability;
4. Social sustainability;
5. Environmental sustainability;
6. Development of tourism and integration of the value chain;
7. Management and prioritization in tourism;
8. Infrastructure and connectivity i
9. Health, safety and security.

Growing tourism for rural development

The "Best Tourist Villages" initiative, introduced in 2021, aims to turn tourism into a catalyst for rural prosperity and well-being. The initiative has a two-fold approach: valuing and preserving rural villages, their landscapes, cultural diversity and knowledge systems, and promoting innovative strategies aligned with the goals of sustainable development.

///Kaštelir Labinci in the network of the best tourist villages of UNWTO

The initiative consists of three components:

"The best tourist villages" initiative recognizes outstanding examples of rural tourism destinations with cultural and natural assets, which preserve and promote rural and social values, products and lifestyles and are clearly committed to innovation and sustainability. The selection is based on an assessment of their resources and initiatives in nine areas covering the three pillars of sustainable development, i.e. economic, social and environmental.

"The best tourist villages according to the Upgrade Program" favors applicants who do not fully meet the criteria for recognition. These villages receive support from UN Tourism and partners to address the gaps identified in the evaluation process.

"The best tourist villages of UN Tourism" network provides space for the exchange of experiences and good practices and opportunities. It includes representatives of the Best Tourist Village, as well as from the Upgrade Program, and benefits from the input of experts, partners from the public and private sectors engaged in promoting tourism for rural development. Since its inception, the Network of the Best Tourist Villages has organized a series of trainings and master classes involving hundreds of participants.

Cover photo: Rastoke, photo: Vedran Božičević, source: Tourist Board of Slunj


February 9, 2024.