CEBU CITY, Philippines – Barangay Bojo in Aloguinsan, known for its world-renowned Bojo River, has placed Cebu and the Philippines on the map once again.
This after Bojo was named among the Best Tourism Villages this year by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
UNWTO, in a press release dated December 2, announced that 44 villages from 32 countries made it to the coveted list.
Bojo in Aloguinsan town, south Cebu, was the only entry from the Philippines.
“Tourism can be a driver of social cohesion and inclusion by promoting a fairer distribution of benefits throughout the territory and empowering local communities. This initiative recognizes those villages committed to making tourism a strong driver of their development and wellbeing,” UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili was quoted as saying.
UNWTO is the tourism promotional arm of the UN.
A total of 174 villages from 75 UNWTO member states were submitted, and 44 of them managed to earn the scores needed to qualify in the list.
Aside from Bojo, other villages named are the following:
* Bekhovo, Russian Federation
* Bkassine, Lebanon
* Caspalá, Argentina
* Castelo Rodrigo, Portugal
* Cuetzalan del Progreso, Mexico
* Cumeada, Portugal
* Gruyères, Switzerland
* Batu Puteh , Malaysia
* Kaunertal, Austria
* Le Morne, Mauritius
* Lekunberri, Spain
* Maní, Mexico
* Misfat Al Abriyeen, Oman
* Miyama, Japan
* Mokra Gora, Serbia
* Morella, Spain
* Mustafapaşa, Turkey
* Nglanggeran, Indonesia
* Niseko, Japan
* Nkotsi Village, Rwanda
* Old Grand Port, Mauritius
* Olergesailie, Kenya
* Ollantaytambo, Peru
* Pano Lefkara, Cyprus
* Pica, Chile
* Pochampally, India
* Puerto Williams, Chile
* Radovljica, Slovenia
* Rijal Alma’a, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
* Testo Alto, Brazil
* Saas Fee, Switzerland
* San Cosme y Damián, Paraguay
* San Ginesio, Italy
* Sidi Kaouki, Morocco
* Solčava, Slovenia
* Soufli, Greece
* Taraklı, Turkey
* The Purple Island, Republic of Korea
* Ungok Village, Republic of Korea
* Valposchiavo, Switzerland
* Wonchi, Ethiopia
* Xidi, China
* Yucun, China
In order to be part of UNWTO’s Best Villages list, villages must gain a total score of 80 or more by its ‘independent Advisory Board’.
Criteria for judging were divided into nine areas.
These are Cultural and Natural Resources; Promotion and Conservation of Cultural Resources; Economic Sustainability; Social Sustainability; Environmental Sustainability; Tourism Potential and Development and Value Chain Integration; Governance and Prioritization of Tourism; Infrastructure and Connectivity; and Health, Safety and Security.
Meanwhile, UNWTO also announced 20 other villages for its Upgrade Programme, in which a village from Samar province – Barangay Tenin, was included.
Through the Upgrade Programme, Barangay Tenin and 19 other villages around the world are expected to receive support from the organization and its partners for areas that needed improvement.
Villages under the Upgrade Programme are those ‘that do not fully meet the criteria to receive the Best Villages recognition.’
The Upgrade Programme will benefit a number of villages. These villages will receive support from UNWTO and its Partners in improving elements of the areas identified as gaps in the evaluation process.
Bojo plays host to Bojo River Cruise, a multi-awarded model of sustainable tourism.
The 1.4-kilometer boat cruise was first launched in 2009.
Eventually, the fishermen, cooks, and guides sustaining the cruise established the Bojo Aloguinsan Ecotourism Association (BAETAS), formally making Bojo River Cruise a community-based tourism initiative.
UNWTO said the next edition of Best Villages will open this February 2022.