THE United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has listed Barangay Tenani in Paranas, Samar as one of the runners-up in Best Tourism Villages for 2021.

“To be a nominee was already an honor. To be runner-up is a validation that the tourism movers and doers who worked together to develop the tourism communities and tourist activities in Barangay Tenani are indeed moving towards the right direction,” said Karen Tiopes, tourism director of Eastern Visayas.

Barangay Tenani has been known as “Home to the Ulot Torpedo Boat Adventure Ride and the Paranas Eco-Trail and Birding Site.”

The town is located about 100 kilometers from Tacloban City, the region’s capital.

Under the “Best Tourism Villages” Upgrade Program, villages will receive support from UNWTO and its partners in improving elements of the areas identified as gaps in the evaluation process.

Other villages included in the Upgrade Program are Biei, Japan; Capulálpam de Méndez, Mexico; Godinje, Montenegro; Gornja Lastva, Montenegro; Oukaimeden, Morocco; Gasura, Rwanda; Gostilje, Serbia; Gorenja Vas, Slovenia; Cantavieja, Spain; Bo Suak, Thailand; Ruboni, Uganda; Ordino, Andorra; Khinalig, Azerbaijan; Koprivshtitsa, Bulgaria; Kaštelir Labinci, Croatia; Agros, Cyprus; Fuwah, Egypt; Western Samos, Greece; and Hollókő, Hungary.

UNWTO launched the Best Tourism Villages “to advance the role of tourism in safeguarding rural villages, along with their landscapes, natural and cultural diversity, and their local values and activities, including local gastronomy.”

“Tourism can be a driver of social cohesion and inclusion by promoting a fairer distribution of benefits throughout the territory and empowering local communities,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili.

“This initiative recognizes those villages committed to making tourism a strong driver of their development and wellbeing,” the official added.

For 2021, a total of 44 villages from 32 countries across the five world regions were granted recognition “for their natural and cultural resources as well as for their innovative and transformative actions and commitment to the development of tourism in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”

Barangay Bojo, Aloguinsan in southern Cebu became the only village in the Philippines that made it to the list of the world’s “Best Tourism Villages” for 2021.