Tourism importance for rural development was the message at the heart of the Best Tourism Villages Ceremony.
The initiative is one of the pillars of UNWTO Tourism for Rural Development Programme. Every year, Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO recognizes destinations which stand out for their commitment to sustainability in all its aspects – economic, social and environmental – and the preservation and promotion of community-based values.
Alongside the ceremony itself, the First Annual Meeting of the Best Tourism Villages Network, a platform for sharing of knowledge and experiences, was held. During the meeting, the villages discussed their challenges and opportunities as well as their workplan for the coming year.
“It is a great honour that AlUla is among this year’s award recipients. We look forward to continuing to raise awareness about the transformative role of tourism through our support for meaningful initiatives such as this,” said H.H. Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan Al- Saud, Minister of Culture of Saudi Arabia, Member of Board of Directors, and the Governor of the Royal Commission for AlUla.
UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “For rural communities everywhere, tourism is a hugely powerful force for growth and opportunity. With Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO, we recognize and celebrate those destinations where this force is being truly embraced, whether it’s creating jobs and supporting businesses or preserving local heritage. We look forward to keep growing with our Best Tourism Villages Network both in size and in influence.”
“We are delighted to host the UNWTO Best Tourism Villages 2022 Ceremony in Saudi Arabia this year. We look forward to sharing the rich history and heritage of the Kingdom with event attendees and participants,” said H.E. Ahmed Al Khateeb, Minister of Tourism, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.