The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) held its 16th Annual Meeting in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, beginning on October 25. ‘Best Tourism Villages’ were awarded as part of the General Assembly. Selection for the ‘World’s Best Tourism Village’ title went to Şirince in the Selçuk district of Izmir, which attracts attention with its history and culture. The award was accepted by Selçuk Mayor Filiz Ceritoğlu Sengel and Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism Gökhan Yazgı.
The goal of the ‘UNWTO Best Tourism Village’ initiative, which was introduced by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in 2021, is to use tourism as a catalyst for rural development, community well-being, and transformation. Under this framework, member states may submit applications for up to 15 developing destinations, each with a maximum population of 8,000 people. These destinations must be places where traditional activities like farming, forestry, fishing, and animal husbandry are practiced, preserving the local way of life and values while also having an eye toward tourism.
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism completed the nomination form, application form, multimedia content, and presentation in 2023 for the destinations chosen based on the UNWTO’s published criteria. Şirince Village, located near Izmir Selçuk, was named the ‘Best Tourism Village’ for 2023. ‘Upgrade Program’ participation was also available for the communities of Erzincan-Kemaliye and Antalya-Kale Üçağız.
After the award ceremony, Gökhan Yazgı, the Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism, gave his evaluations and stated,
“The general assembly meeting is almost over. We were happy that it took place in the amiable and fraternal nation of Uzbekistan. The number of participating countries with ministers and deputy ministers exceeded 100. In our bilateral discussions, we also discussed how the crimes had affected tourism.
We said that there needs to be calm and harmony for the world to develop a successful tourist strategy. We declared that everyone in the world needs peace and that we should not keep quiet about the horrors occurring right next to us. The announcement of a three-day mourning period by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has strengthened this procedure.”