UNWTO Celebrates the Best Tourism Villages 2023: Embracing Sustainable Travel

The world of travel is buzzing with excitement as the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) proudly unveils its prestigious list of the Best Tourism Villages for 2023. These honoured villages stand as exemplars, dedicated to nurturing rural landscapes, preserving rich cultural heritage, and championing sustainable tourism practices.

In a spirited third edition, a remarkable total of 54 villages from diverse global regions have earned their rightful place among almost 260 applications. An additional 20 villages have stepped into the limelight by joining the esteemed Upgrade Programme, marking a total of 74 villages now part of the esteemed UNWTO Best Tourism Villages Network. 

Initiated in 2021, the Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO initiative is a key component of the UNWTO Tourism for Rural Development Programme. This commendable initiative is designed to promote development and inclusivity in rural areas, counter depopulation, drive innovation, integrate value chains through tourism, and advocate for sustainable practices.

Evaluation for these remarkable villages revolves around nine critical areas:

• Cultural and Natural Resources

• Promotion and Conservation of Cultural Resources

• Economic, Social, and Environmental Sustainability

• Tourism Development and Value Chain Integration

• Governance, Infrastructure, and Connectivity

• Health, Safety, and Security


The list of Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO 2023 is as follows (by alphabetic order):

Al Sela, Jordan

Barrancas, Chile

Biei, Japan

Caleta Tortel, Chile

Cantavieja, Spain

Chacas, Peru

Chavín de Huantar, Peru

Dahshour, Egypt

Dhordo, India

Dongbaek, Republic of Korea

Douma, Lebanon

Ericeira, Portugal

Filandia, Colombia

Hakuba, Japan

Higueras, Mexico

Huangling, China

Jalpa de Cánovas, Mexico

Kandovan, Iran

La Carolina, Argentina

Lephis Village, Ethiopia

Lerici, Italy

Manteigas, Portugal

Morcote, Switzerland

Mosan, Republic of Korea

Oku-Matsushima, Japan

Omitlán de Juárez, Mexico

Oñati, Spain

Ordino, Andorra

Oyacachi, Ecuador

Paucartambo, Peru

Penglipuran, Indonesia

Pisco Elqui, Chile

Pozuzo, Peru

Saint-Ursanne, Switzerland

Saty, Kazakhstan

Schladming, Austria

Sehwa, Republic of Korea

Sentob, Uzbekistan

Shirakawa, Japan

Sigüenza, Spain

Şirince, Türkiye

Siwa, Egypt

Slunj, Croatia

Sortelha, Portugal

St. Anton am Arlberg, Austria

Tân Hoá, Viet Nam

Taquile, Peru

Tokaj, Hungary

Văleni, Moldova

Vila da Madalena, Portugal

Xiajiang, China

Zapatoca, Colombia

Zhagana, China

Zhujiawan, China

Our commitment at Liberty International Tourism Group resonates deeply with the values upheld by the UNWTO. We applaud these villages for their steadfast commitment to preserving heritage, nurturing sustainable practices, and offering authentic and immersive travel experiences.

The initiative rests on three strong pillars:

  • Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO: Honouring exceptional rural destinations with accredited cultural and natural assets, anchored in community-based values, and a resolute dedication to innovation and sustainability across economic, social, and environmental dimensions.

  • Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO Upgrade Programme: Extending support to villages in their journey towards meeting recognition criteria, focusing on areas identified for enhancement during evaluations.

  • The Best Tourism Villages Network: A dynamic space fostering the exchange of experiences, sharing best practices, and learning opportunities among its members. It's open to contributions from experts, both public and private sectors, committed to promoting tourism as a catalyst for rural development.

This global network continues to expand, aiming to become the largest global rural network. With today's announcement welcoming 74 new members, a total of 190 villages are now part of this unique Network.

Stay tuned for the upcoming call for submissions for the fourth edition in the first months of 2024. It's a fresh opportunity for rural destinations worldwide to shine on the global stage.

At Liberty International Tourism Group, we celebrate these remarkable destinations and their commitment to sustainable travel. Together, let's continue to explore and support these villages that stand as the epitome of cultural richness, environmental preservation, and authentic experiences.