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We may be aware that our vacation choices can have a significant impact on the environment, but we don’t always know which direction to take, especially when it comes to choosing a destination. The UN’s World Tourism Organization recently published a list of villages that are developing tourism activities while preserving their natural and cultural resources, offering travelers some handy pointers.

Sustainable travel has been a subject of discussion for several years, and some travelers are now looking to choose hotels and activities, as well as destinations that are more in line with their ecological convictions. Still, it’s not always easy to get started, between the rankings listing the most eco-friendly destinations, or highlighting places to visit with minimal risk of inflicting harm.

For an alternative view, the American guide Fodor’s recently published a list of places not to visit this year, in order to help preserve these destinations. And now, the World Tourism Organization has shared its “Best Tourism Villages.”

This list is not about celebrating destinations for their touristic appeal or popularity, but about highlighting those places in the world that have identified how to benefit from tourism revenues while developing an environmentally friendly activity.

Launched last year, this initiative promoting rural tourism took the form of a call for applications, following which 32 villages in 18 countries were recognized for their ability to preserve their cultural heritage and local populations.

“For rural communities everywhere, tourism can be a true game changer in providing jobs, supporting local businesses and keeping traditions alive. The Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO showcase the power of the sector to drive economic diversification and create opportunities for all outside of big cities,”

Zurab Pololikashvili, UNWTO Secretary-General

While the United States is noticeably absent from the list, Asia’s presence is also minimal. The selected villages largely offer an alternative view of Europe crisscrossing Austria, Switzerland, Italy and Spain, before heading further afield to South America or Morocco.