The village of Soufli in northern Greece was selected as one of the “Best tourist villages” by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) on Thursday.
The “Best Tourist Villages” initiative was launched by the UNWTO to advance the role of tourism in safeguarding rural villages, as well as their landscapes, their natural and cultural diversity, and their local values and activities, including local gastronomy.
In total, 44 villages from 32 countries across the five regions of the world received the recognition of “Best Tourist Village” in 2021.
“This initiative rewards villages determined to make tourism a powerful engine of their development and well-being,” said the Secretary-General of the UNWTO. Zurab Pololikashvili noted.
The 44 villages received the “Best tourist villages of the UNWTO” label.The prestigious Soufli Prize was received by the Greek Deputy Minister of Tourism Sofia zacharaki and the mayor of Soufli Panagiotis Kalakikos at a ceremony on the sidelines of the 24th session of the UNWTO General Assembly in Madrid, Spain.
“It is extremely pleasant that Soufli, among so many international destinations, has been chosen to be part of a global network that promotes the best examples of sustainable rural tourism development,” said Zacharaki.
According to the UNWTO, the 44 villages stand out for their natural and cultural resources as well as their innovative and transformative actions and their commitment to the development of tourism in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“Soufli, as a privileged tourist destination, has a lot to offer but also to gain from the Best Tourism Villages network through the exchange of experiences, know-how and good practices. We are grateful for the confidence of the BTV network and the UNWTO, and I am sure that this will be the start of an extremely fruitful cooperation and a very interesting journey for Soufli and its inhabitants ”, declared the Deputy Minister. Greek.
She added that the Ministry of Tourism will continue and intensify its efforts so that Greek tourism in the future is enriched with more quality options and that each region of the country develops its tourism potential while respecting its natural heritage and culture and its commitment to the principles of sustainability development.
The “Best UNWTO Tourist Villages” for 2021 can be seen in the following video.
A total of 174 villages were proposed by 75 UNWTO Member States (each Member State could submit a maximum of three villages) for the 2021 pilot initiative. Of which 44 were recognized as the best tourist villages by the OMT. Another 20 villages will enter the Initiative’s upgrade program. The 64 villages enter to be part of the network of the best tourist villages of the UNWTO.
The next edition of the “Best Tourist Villages by UNWTO” will open in February 2022.
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