TTC Special: The World’s Best Tourist Villages Increase in 2023

Sigüenza, España. Photo: Pixabay/ Cesarezz

By Frank Martin

Landscapes, cultural diversity, local values and culinary traditions are the main characteristics on which the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has chosen the Best Tourist Villages in the World for 2023.

The UNWTO has carried out its evaluations about rural areas that are highly respected in terms of these indicators.

The initiative regarding these villages emerged in 2021. The world tourism entity explains that “it is part of the Tourism Program for Rural Development that it develops.

“Among the objectives of the Program are sustainable and inclusive development in rural areas, combating depopulation, promoting innovation and integration of the value chain through tourism and putting sustainable solutions into practice”

“The initiative recognizes people who have taken advantage of tourism as a catalyst for their development and well-being,” said UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili. The General Assembly 1 related to these villages took place from October 16 to 20 in Samarkand (Uzbekistan).

The issue is considered to be of great importance for the development of universal tourism.

For this reason, awards were established to reward these populations. This October, the UNWTO announced its list of Best Tourist Towns 2023.

This award recognizes towns that can be considered leaders in the care of rural areas and the preservation of landscapes, cultural diversity, local values and culinary traditions.

This year’s most notable villages were named at the UNWTO General Assembly (October 16-20) being held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

And they are not few. This year, 54 villages from all regions were selected from almost 260 applications. Another 20 villages have joined the Improvement Program and the 74 villages are now part of the UNWTO Network of Best Tourist Villages

Among those that have been defined as the Best Tourist Towns in the world are Cantavieja (Teruel), Oñati (Guipúzcoa) and Sigüenza (Guadalajara) in Spain and towns in Latin America such as Barrancas Chile, Chacas Perú, Filandia Colombia, Higueras in Mexico and La Carolina in Argentina.

The winners showed high parameters regarding cultural and natural resources, Promotion and Conservation of Cultural Resources, Economic Sustainability, Social Sustainability, Environmental Sustainability, Tourism development and integration of value chains, Governance and Prioritization of Tourism Infrastructure and Connectivity Health, safety and protection

The beautiful islands of the Caribbean were absent from the selection, although specialists emphasize that the region has true gems in terms of tourist villages and are sure that  will soon climb the new lists of award-winning towns.

Specialists maintain that many Caribbean locations, among others Punta Cana, in the Dominican Republic and Varadero in Cuba, are considered excellent potential winning candidates. The tourist strips of Montego Bay, in Jamaica, and Grace Bay, in Turks and Caicos, among others, are also top of the line.

Regarding the Caribbean, it is stated that it offers many options in this sense with high compliance with the parameters demanded internationally.