The winners were honored at a gala event at the 25th General Assembly of the UN World Tourism Organization in Samarkand, Uzbekistan on October 19, 2023.
“I am very pleased about this international award for Schladming and St. Anton am Arlberg and would like to congratulate everyone.” Both are model examples of how destination development and sustainability can be implemented in the spirit of our Plan T – master plan for tourism communities. “This recognition recognizes the great commitment to sustainability of those responsible for local tourism on the world stage,” says Tourism State Secretary Susanne Kraus-Winkler.
In the third edition of the UNWTO initiative, 54 rural tourism communities worldwide with a strong focus on sustainability from 29 countries were recognized as “Best Tourism Villages 2023 by UNWTO”. In total, over 260 communities from 60 countries applied. Places with a maximum of 15,000 inhabitants were evaluated by an international jury of experts in nine areas, including cultural/natural resources, sustainability, regional value creation, governance and health and safety.
Schladming is committed to preserving cultural heritage and an intact environment. The municipality is characterized by the organization of events under the label “Green Events” or the circular economy project “Less waste for a lifestyle”.
“As the mayor of Schladming, you are of course convinced of ‘your city’. The appreciation of the locals and guests confirms this – but an international award of this magnitude as ‘Best Tourism Village by UNWTO’ is the best recognition. “Those who try to protect our homeland and use it wisely will once again be richly rewarded with this title,” says Herrmann Trinker.
St. Anton am Arlberg also works as KLAR! Model region and as a member of the Landeck climate and energy model region in measures against climate change. Innovative projects have contributed to the expansion of the Stanzertal cycle path to promote sustainable mobility.
“The recognition of St. Anton am Arlberg as the ‘Best Tourism Village by UNWTO’ is a great honor and fills us with pride!” “The award confirms to us that the community and the St. Anton am Arlberg tourism association are committed to preserving our habitat and are on the right track in the sustainable tourism development of our region,” said Helmut Mall, Mayor of St. Anton.
With last year’s award-winning communities – Kaunertal (2021), Wagrain (2022) and Zell am See (2022) – Austria now has a total of five “Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO”. They are considered international best practice examples for sustainable tourism development in rural areas, receive global visibility through the UNWTO and benefit from the global network of winning destinations.
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