Greece announces 3 nominations for UNWTO’s ‘Best Tourist Villages’ award

Fiskardo, municipality of Sami, Kefalonia. Image source: sami.gov.gr

The Greek Ministry of Tourism announced on Tuesday that the villages of Fiskardo (municipality of Sami), Perdika (municipality of Igoumenitsa) and Arnaia (municipality of Aristotle) ​​are the nominated for the 2022 “Best Tourist Villages” labelan initiative launched in March this year by the World Tourism Organization (WTO) to promote the role of rural tourism.

In its second year, the “Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO” project aims to identify villages in Member States that are adopting innovative and transformative approaches to tourism in rural areas in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Participating in the project for the second year, the Greek Ministry of Tourism aims to promote the Greek agrotourism product of areas with up to 15,000 inhabitants, according to the principles of sustainable development.

A special working group chaired by the Greek Deputy Minister of Tourism Sofia Zacharaki evaluated the applications and approved the participation of Fiskardo, Perdika and Arnaia. The next step in the process is for Greece to submit its applications to UNWTO for further evaluation.

Arnaia, municipality of Aristotle, Halkidiki.  Photo source: dimosaristoteli.gr

Arnaia, municipality of Aristotle, Halkidiki. Photo source: dimosaristoteli.gr

The UNWTO initiative includes three pillars. Villages that are outstanding examples of rural tourism destinations and that are committed to sustainability in all its forms – economic, social and environmental – will be awarded “Best Tourist Villages” labels (awards).

Villages that do not fully meet the label criteria will enter into a upgrade program and receive support from UNWTO and its partners to work on areas identified as problematic in the assessment process.

Also a network UNWTO Best Tourist Villages will be created to provide a platform for exchanging experiences and good practices, learning and creating new development opportunities.

The villages chosen by UNWTO will be announced at the end of the year.

2021 – Greek Deputy Tourism Minister Sofia Zacharaki and Soufli Mayor Panagiotis Kalakikos receive the “Best Tourist Villages” award for Soufli from UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili (left).

Greece last year won two significant accolades, with the Municipality of Soufli receiving recognition as “Best Tourist Village” for 2021 and the Municipality of Western Samos entering the initiative’s upgrade program.

Underlining the importance of agrotourism for the national economy and local communities, Deputy Minister of Tourism Sofia Zacharaki said the form of tourism also helps regions maintain the traditional way of life; strengthen the primary sector; enhance cultural and natural wealth; and also creates new well-paying jobs.

“From our side, we are strategically strengthening agrotourism, strengthening the Greek tourism brand, highlighting its unique and authentic identity and the elements that make it up,” Zacharaki said.


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