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Colombia Has Two Spots in UNWTO “Best Tourist Villages 2023” List


Colombia filandia zapatoca
Two Colombian towns have been selected to be part of the “Best Tourist Villages 2023” List by the UNWTO. Credit: Flickr / Pedro Szekely CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED

Two of Colombia’s municipalities, located in the northeast and midwest parts of the country, are now in the list compiled by the UNWTO (World Tourism Organization) of “Best Tourist Villages 2023”. Filandia, Quindio and Zapatoca, Santander are the Colombian villages recognized in the yearly contest that the UN organization holds to identify the best villages for rural tourism around the world.

“Tourism can be a powerful force for inclusivity, empowering local communities and distributing benefits across regions,” emphasizes UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili.

This initiative, which began in 2021, is part of the UNWTO Tourism for Rural Development Programme. The program aims to promote development and inclusion in rural areas. Some other objectives this programme has are to combat depopulation, advance innovation and value chain integration through tourism, and encourage sustainable practices.

The parameters set for the UNWTO choices are the evaluation of matters such as: natural and cultural resources, promotion and conservation of cultural resources, social, economic and environmental sustainability, among others.

In order to nominate Colombia’s destinations for this contest, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism opened a call last May, inviting the country’s municipal entities to present their rural tourism destinations.

There were 38 nominations in total, which narrowed down to 8 nominated villages. Among these, the Vice-Ministry of Tourism, Arturo Bravo indicated that Filandia’s application highlighted its strategic location, architecture, handicrafts, specialty coffees, beautiful landscapes, the warmth of its inhabitants and the wide range of cultural and natural attractions that became the pillars of its identity and strengthened the sense of belonging of its communities.

Zapatoca was noted for its hiking experiences in its natural and archaeological attractions, such as the Nitro Cave and the Lengerke Trail, as well as its Pauche handicrafts and other icons of Colombian handicrafts.

These are the villages that appeared on the “Best Tourist Villages 2023” list by UNWTO (By alphabetical order):

– Al Sela, Jordan

– Barrancas, Chile

– Biei, Japan

– Caleta Tortel, Chile

– Cantavieja, Spain

– Chacas, Peru

– Chavin de Huantar, Peru

– Dahshour, Egypt

– Dongbaek, Republic of Korea

– Duma, Lebanon

– Filandia, Colombia

– Hakuba, Japan

– Higueras, Mexico

– Huangling, China

– Jalpa de Canovas, México

– Kandovan, Iran

– Carolina, Argentina

– Lephis Ecovillage, Ethiopia

– Manteigas, Portugal

– Morcote, Switzerland

– Mosan, Republic of Korea

– Oku-Matsushima, Japan

– Omitlan de Juarez, Mexico

– Oñate, Spain

– Ordino, Andorra

– Oyacachi, Ecuador

– Paucartambo, Peru

– Penglipuran, Indonesia

– Pisco Elqui, Chile

– Pozuzo, Peru

– Saint-Ursanne, Switzerland

– Saty, Kazakhstan

– Sehwa, Republic of Korea

– Sentob, Uzbekistan

– Shirakawa, Japan

– Sigüenza, Spain

– Şirince, Turkey

– Siwa, Egypt

– Slunj, Croatia

– Sortelha, Portugal

– Sankt Anton am Arlberg, Austria

– Tân Hoa, Vietnam

– Taquile, Peru

– Tokaj, Hungary

– Văleni, Moldova

– Vila da Madalena, Portugal

– Xiajiang, China

– Zapatoca, Colombia

– Zhagana, China

– Zhujiawan, China

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