AlUla to host United Nations’ Best Tourism Villages award
The United Nations World Tourism Organization will host the Best Tourism Villages Awards and a meeting of the BTV Network in AlUla on March 12 and 13.
AlUla, which is now emerging as a popular destination for cultural tourism, will be the site of the first in-person meeting of representatives of the BTV Network.
The event will, according to a press release, be “a forum for knowledge-sharing on topics such as best practices, community empowerment, and public-private partnerships.” It will also review the network’s 2022 activities and 2023 workplan.
The villages recognized by the awards, including AlUla Old Town District, were announced in December as part of the BTV initiative, which recognizes villages that are “an outstanding example of a rural tourism destination with accredited cultural and natural assets, that preserve and promote rural and community-based values, products, and lifestyle and have a clear commitment to innovation and sustainability in all its aspects – economic, social, and environmental.”
Delegates from across the world will gather at AlUla’s Maraya multi-purpose venue, which holds the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest mirror-clad building, for the event. UNWTO’s Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili is expected to attend.
Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al Khateeb said in the press release: “The Ministry is proud to partner with UNWTO to host the awards ceremony and jointly convene the first meeting of the BTV Network in AlUla.”
Pololikashvili said: “The BTV showcases the power of the sector to drive economic diversification and create opportunities for all outside of big cities.”
The inclusion of AlUla on the 2022 list is reward for Royal Commission for AlUla cultural rejuvenation of the area.
Engineer Amr Al-Madani, CEO of RCU, said: “This gathering serves several purposes for the RCU, it allows us to share insights with destinations that share our commitment to sustainable regeneration and it showcases Maraya as a leading venue for conferences.”