Greece Announces 3 Nominations for UNWTO ‘Best Tourism Villages’ Award
The Greek Tourism Ministry on Tuesday announced that the villages of Fiskardo (Municipality of Sami), Perdika (Municipality of Igoumenitsa) and Arnaia (Municipality of Aristotle) are Greece’s nominees for the “Best Tourism Villages” 2022 label, an initiative launched in March this year by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) to promote the role of rural tourism.
In its second year, the “Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO” project aims to identify villages of member states that take 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 tourism ministry aims to promote the Greek agritourism product of areas with a population of up to 15,000 residents, based on the principles of sustainable development.
A special working group chaired by Greek Deputy Tourism Minister Sofia Zacharaki evaluated the candidacies and approved the participation of Fiskardo, Perdika and Arnaia. The next step of the process is for Greece to submit its candidacies to the UNWTO for further evaluation.
The UNWTO initiative includes three pillars. Villages that are exceptional examples of rural tourism destinations and are committed to sustainability in all its forms – economic, social and environmental – will be given “Best Tourism Villages” labels (awards).
Villages that do not fully meet the criteria for the label will enter an upgrade program and receive support from the UNWTO and its partners to work on areas identified as problematic in the evaluation process.
Also, a network of the best UNWTO tourism villages will be created to provide a platform for the exchange of experience and good practices, learning and creation of new development opportunities.
The villages chosen by the UNWTO will be announced at the end of the year.
Greece last year won two important distinctions, as the Municipality of Soufli was granted the “Best Tourism Village” recognition for 2021 and the Municipality of Western Samos entered the initiative’s upgrade program.
Underlining the importance of agritourism for the national economy and local communities, Deputy Tourism Minister Sofia Zacharaki said the tourism form also helps areas maintain the traditional way of life; strengthen the primary sector; highlight cultural and natural wealth; and also creates new, well-paid jobs.
“From our side, we strategically strengthen agritourism, strengthening the Greek tourism brand, by highlighting its unique, authentic identity and the elements that compose it,” Zacharaki said.