New Delhi: United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) recognizes villages that are outstanding examples of rural tourism destinations with recognized 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.
For the same, last year, they selected 44 villages from 32 countries across five regions.
Here is a list of 5 best sustainable Villages to spend your new year’s eve where tourism preserves cultures and traditions, celebrates diversity, provides opportunities and safeguards biodiversity.
Niseko is a town located on the island of Hokkaido, Japan.
The village is strongly committed to protecting the environment, through policies and initiatives such as the 2020 Niseko Town Climate Emergency Declaration with the goal of having zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050, and the Shibetsu River Patrol to protect the itou fish species that is severely endangered.
Niseko Town has been designated as a “Model City for the Future of the Environment” and an “SDGs Future City,” and has been working to develop policies that emphasize the environment and are rooted in resident autonomy, which has been reflected in its tourism policies.
The region of Miyama lies 50 kilometres north of Kyoto City. Surrounded by mountains, it is a pristine wilderness where the traditional country lifestyle of Satoyama still flourishes. Located in an adjacent area of the ancient capital Kyoto, the area still preserves a variety of traditional rituals and festivals of more than 300 years history, a part of them registered as Kyoto’s Important Intangible Cultural Property.
A particularity of Miyama is the traditional Japanese thatched roof houses, designated as Important Preservation District for Groups of Historic Buildings in 1993.
Miyama is actively engaging in promoting sustainable agriculture for conservation of lands and for decarbonized society. One of the projects, for example, engaged a group of residents to actively work on preservation of the Paeonia obovate, one of rare plants recognized by Kyoto Prefecture, which inhabits only in limited mountain area in Miyama.
Dolmen site – Ungok, Republic of Korea
Ungok Village is located in an area surrounding a reservoir with World Heritage Dolmens and the Ungok Ramsar Wetland. The village is famous for its representative cultural heritage: the dolmens, which are part of the megalithic culture. From the 60,000 dolmens around the world, 40,000 are located in Korea and 1,665 of them are found in the Gochang area. 447 of the dolmens located in Ungok are registered as UNESCO World Heritage.
As regards the natural heritage, the village stands out for the Ungok Ramsar Wetland which is adjacent to the dolmen site. The wetland is a vital natural resource that absorbs carbon dioxide and reduces damage caused by climate change. The Ungok Ramsar Wetland is a rare type of low-lying mountainous palustrine wetland that is recognized for its biodiversity value. The wetland is a globally protected natural heritage registered at the Ramsar Convention on April 6, 2011.
Nglanggeran – Indonesia
Nglanggeran, located 25 km away from Yogyakarta city, has developed the concept of Community-based tourism. The majority of the population work as farmers, plantation workers and ranchers. The beauty of its natural landscape and the uniqueness of Gunung Api Purba (ancient volcano) are the main attraction in Nglanggeran. The geological formation of the volcano tells an Oligo-miosen (tertiary age) history of the area. Tourists can opt for trekking activity exploring towering giant-sized chunks of rocks and taking pictures with the green landscape in the background. This attraction is also a part of the UNESCO Global Geopark of Mount Sewu.
Living in with the people of Nglanggeran at local homestays provides an authentic feeling of being in, and become part of, the countryside. Nglanggeran tourism village has approximately 80 homestays offering a combination of other tourism packages. During the activities, they can learn about many things: flora fauna, suitable planting, cultural arts, chocolate processing, wooden batik, hand-painted batik, etawa goat farm, eco-spa and learn about tatakrama (unggah-ungguh: a sort of traditional manners).