UN Tourism has started accepting applications for the 2024 Best Tourism Villages program. This initiative, run by UN Tourism, formerly known as the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), aims to celebrate rural villages that excel in sustainable tourism practices.

(Photo : Screenshot image from UN Tourism on YouTube)

UN Tourism Calls for Applications from Sustainable Villages

Since its inception, the program has seen nearly 600 villages from around 100 countries apply. The Best Tourism Villages Network, a part of this initiative, currently includes 186 villages worldwide. This network comprises 129 villages recognized as Best Tourism Villages and 57 in the Upgrade Programme. These villages span 55 countries in five different global regions.

UN Tourism's Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili, highlights the program's goal. According to Breaking News Travel, it acknowledges rural areas where tourism helps in sustainable growth, creating opportunities, and preserving cultural and natural heritage. For the 2024 cycle, UN Tourism is eager to see more examples of tourism positively impacting communities.

Applications for the 2024 Best Tourism Villages are open until April 24, 2024. UN Tourism member countries can nominate up to eight villages through their National Tourism Administrations. The selected villages will be announced later in the year.

An independent Advisory Board, made up of various experts, will review the applications. They will assess the villages based on nine criteria. These include protecting and promoting cultural and natural resources, economic, social, and environmental sustainability, tourism development, governance, infrastructure, and safety.

The Best Tourism Villages initiative by UN Tourism, which started in 2021, aims to use tourism as a driving force for rural development. It values rural communities, preserves their diversity and knowledge, and promotes innovative, sustainable strategies. 

This initiative has three key parts: recognizing excellent rural tourism destinations, helping villages improve to meet criteria, and facilitating a network for sharing best practices and opportunities. The network also offers training sessions and masterclasses to its members.

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UN Tourism Unveils New Brand and Mission

The United Nations specialized agency for tourism, now known as UN Tourism, has introduced a fresh brand and symbol. This change from the former UNWTO marks a significant shift in the organization's approach and identity. UN Tourism's new emblem, inspired by the dynamic world of travel and the importance of people, is designed to reflect its commitment to social and economic development.

TTG Asia reported that UN Tourism's rebranding focuses on three core ideas: the UN's role as a global, caring entity, the power of connecting people worldwide and being proactive. The aim is to be more relatable and emphasize the UN's authority and the simplicity of tourism. 

This shift has received widespread support from its members, signifying a strong backing for UN Tourism's evolution and its efforts to become more flexible, visible, and connected to its stakeholders.

The organization's new slogan, "Bringing the world closer," is captured in its new symbol, representing a human figure in motion within a Pangea-like design. This represents a departure from previous global symbols, stressing the ever-changing nature of tourism and prioritizing people.

The makeover extends beyond the logo to include a new visual system based on geographical grids, enhancing navigation across all UN Tourism platforms like websites, social media, and events. The updated branding will roll out gradually, starting with digital platforms.

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