The Iranian villages of Kharanaq, Barandaq, and Lark have been nominated for the ‘Best Tourism Villages’ label, which the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is projected to grant to a selection of rural destinations across the globe.
The villages have been selected by a team of experts from the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts according to eligibility criteria declared by the UN Body, ISNA reported on Saturday.
Home to thousands of ancient villages, Iran perfectly suits the tastes of many domestic and even international vacationers who are seeking unique natural experiences, unspoiled landscapes, stay in authentic accommodation, and feel local lifestyles.
Sightseers may stop for a rest with a rural or nomadic family for a while or enjoy an independent stay and assist them with day-to-day life. It also opens up an opportunity to feel rustic routines, their agriculture, traditions, arts, and culture whose magic know-hows passed down from generation to generation.
The village of Kharanaq is sometimes referred to as a photographer’s dream as it embraces a labyrinth of streets, tunnels, passageways, and impressive buildings such as a tiny mosque, a shaking minaret, and an old caravanserai. It is situated in Ardakan county of Yazd province in central Iran.
Located on a small island of the same name in the Persian Gulf, the village of Larak is a scenic off-the-beaten destination. It is home to various species of corals that are unique in their own kind. There are various activities you can do there with the scuba being a must. Seeing the beautiful aquatic nature is surely an experience of a lifetime.
Situated on a high, windswept plateau in the northwestern Ardabil province, the village of Barandaq enjoys lush natural beauties, historical places, and hospitable people. The village is freezing in winter and mild in summer, attracting domestic travelers every year.
The World Tourism Organization aims to turn the spotlight on the “uniqueness” of each village to make tourism a means for further development in rural areas.
“Tourism can be a driver of positive change for rural communities all around the world. ”According to UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili, tourism can be a driver of positive change for rural communities all around the world.
“We want to recognize the uniqueness of each village and showcase the best initiatives to make tourism a means for a better future in rural areas. As we restart tourism, we work to ensure that we leave no one – and no village- behind.”
Indicators and initiatives such as sustainable tourism; economic, social, and environmental factors; historical, cultural, and natural attractions; tangible and intangible cultural heritage; local communities; traditional ceremonies, and rituals are among the criteria being assessed for the initial evaluation.
Furthermore, the organization aims to select the best examples of rural villages harnessing the power of tourism to provide opportunities and safeguard their communities, local traditions, and heritage. The initiative seeks to identify villages taking innovative and transformative approaches to tourism in rural areas in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
With the vision of making tourism a positive force for transformation, rural development, and community wellbeing, ‘Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO’ aims to maximize the contribution of the sector to reducing regional inequalities and fighting against rural depopulation. It also seeks to advance the role of tourism in valuing and safeguarding rural villages along with their associated landscapes, knowledge systems, biological and cultural diversity, local values, and activities, including gastronomy.