Mura, Pals, Ainsa, Sos del Rey Católico, Cudillero and Casares will compete for the 2024 UN Best Tourism Villages Award.

1st June 2024


Mura, Pals, Ainsa, Sos del Rey Católico, Cudillero and Casares will compete for the 2024 UN Best Tourism Villages Award.

The villages of Mura (Barcelona), Pals (Girona), Ainsa (Huesca), Sos del Rey Católico (Zaragoza), Cudillero (Asturias) and Casares (Malaga) have been selected as the Spanish candidates to receive the Best Tourism Villages Award granted by UN Tourism. This has been decided by the Evaluation Committee chaired by the Secretary of State for Tourism, Rosario Sánchez.

The candidacies will be part of the fourth edition of this global initiative that recognises villages committed to sustainability and which are a noteworthy example of a rural tourism destination, with recognised cultural and natural assets. The programme seeks to reward and promote villages that develop tourism that preserves cultures and traditions, celebrates diversity, provides opportunities and preserves biodiversity.

Sánchez highlighted "the significant effort made by these municipalities to draw up a candidacy as complete as the ones we have evaluated". She also valued the commitment of these localities to triple sustainability (economic, social and environmental) with the aim of turning tourism "into one of the driving forces behind the development and well-being of their communities".

In 2021, Morella (Castellon) and Lekunberri (Navarre) were distinguished with this award, while Cantavieja was selected for the Upgrade programme. In 2022, Alquézar (Huesca), Rupit (Barcelona), which also has the Biosphere seal, and Guadalupe (Cáceres) were selected. Finally, in the most recent edition, that of 2023, the winning villages were Cantavieja (Terol), Sigüenza (Guadalajara) and Oñati (Gipuzkoa). In addition, Baños de Montemayor (Cáceres) was selected for the Upgrade programme.

Admission and evaluation of candidatures

The aspiring villages have been selected by an Evaluation Committee made up of the Secretary of State for Tourism, Turespaña, Segittur, the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces (FEMP) and the Association of the Most Beautiful Villages in Spain.

UN Tourism requires that candidates must be towns with a low population density and a maximum population of 15,000 inhabitants, located in a landscape with a significant presence of traditional activities such as agriculture, forestry, livestock farming or fishing, and that share the values and lifestyle of the community.

With regard to the areas of evaluation, new thematic blocks are evaluated: cultural and natural resources, promotion and conservation of cultural resources, economic sustainability, social sustainability, environmental sustainability, tourism development and integration of the value chain, tourism governance, infrastructures and connectivity, and health and safety.

Benefits of the programme

Villages awarded the Best Tourism Villages seal by UN Tourism receive a diploma or plaque valid for three years with the possibility of renewal. This will enable them to gain international visibility as examples of rural destinations that preserve and promote their landscapes, their biological and cultural diversity, local values and activities, and that they have a clear commitment to sustainability in every sense of the word.

Municipalities that do not fully meet the criteria for this recognition, but excel in the areas it assesses, can join the Upgrade programme. This will provide them with assistance from UN Tourism and other associated bodies to continue improving.

Joining Best Tourism Villages and Upgrade means participating in a space for exchanging experiences and best practices, while at the same time providing access to policy recommendations and knowledge on how to improve the tourism sector.

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