Gruyères, Saas-Fee and Valposchiavo have been nominated for the World Tourism Organisation’s “Best Tourism Villages” competition. On the occasion of the WTO General Assembly on the 2nd of December 2021, these three Swiss villages are among the 44 villages that have been awarded a prize out of more than 174 applications from 75 countries.
This is a recognition for Gruyères, a tourist site of national importance that is aware of its strong local roots, the importance of its terroir and its historical heritage. The application was submitted in July 2021 by La Gruyère Tourism with the support of the commune of Gruyères.
The “Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO” initiative was launched to promote the role of tourism in safeguarding rural villages and their landscapes. In addition, natural and cultural diversity, values, local activities, including gastronomy are also key elements of this tourism development.
A total of 44 villages from 32 countries in the five corners of the world have been awarded this recognition in 2021. They all stand out for their natural and cultural resources, their innovative and transformative actions, and their commitment to expanding tourism in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The initiative recognises villages who are committed to making tourism a powerful force for their development and well-being. The independent advisory committee assessed the individual competitors based on a significant set of criteria across nine areas:
• Cultural and natural resources
• Promotion and conservation of cultural resources
• Economic sustainability
• Social sustainability
• Environmental sustainability
• Tourism potential and development and the integration of the chain of value
• Tourism management and prioritisation
• Infrastructure and connectivity
• Health, safety and security
Each of the 44 awarded villages obtained at least 80 of the 100 possible points. Gruyères will therefore be awarded the label and will join the “Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO” network, a forum for the exchange of experiences, good practices, lessons learned and opportunities. It will bring together representatives of the villages awarded the label, the villages participating in the upgrading programme, experts as well as public and private partners committed to the promotion of tourism for rural development.