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Promoting Resource Efficiency: Sustainable Practices to Minimise Emissions and Waste

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UN Tourism
UN Tourism

Explore the innovative initiatives made by UN Tourism’s Best Tourism Villages as they embark on a journey towards sustainability. Recognised for their commitment to waste reduction and emission minimisation, these villages showcase how rural communities lead the way in adopting eco-friendly measures to boost efficiency and preserve their environment and cultural heritage. From Rwanda's Nkotsi to Portugal's Sortelha, each village unveils unique initiatives designed to mitigate environmental impact while promoting economic growth and community welfare.

Nkotsi, Rwanda

Nkotsi, a quaint village nestled in south-west Musanze, Rwanda, is part of Volcanoes National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, housing 30% of the global mountain gorilla population. To facilitate sustainable community development, Nkotsi engages locals in programs focusing on environmental conservation. To combat plastic pollution, The Igihoho Project was established to reduce plastic bag usage, offering eco-friendly seed bags made from banana barks, crafted by local women. Since its inception, over 15,000 bags have been made and more than 70% have been sold to nursery bed business in the region.

Pozuzo, Peru

Pozuzo, Peru is within the Selva Central tourist route, one of six destinations known for nature and biodiversity. As part of the "Sustainable Pozuzo 2023" program with the local government and universities, Pozuzo works to protect water sources, preserve fauna and flora species and safeguard biological corridors. Through eco-friendly practices such as utilising biodegradable packaging, prioritising local products, and repurposing organic waste, Pozuzo promotes sustainable tourism while harnessing renewable energies for street lighting.

Choachí, Colombia

Choachí, a municipality of Colombia, is located 39km from the country’s capital and has developed tourism by valuing its natural, cultural and gastronomic wealth. In partnership with the private recycling company Bancalimentos, Choachí has launched an initiative encouraging community members to exchange their household waste such as plastics, cardboard and other recyclable items, for food.

Slunj, Croatia

Situated alongside the serene Slurnjčica and Korana rivers, Slunj is prioritising environmental sustainability through practices aimed at minimising tourism's negative impacts, preserving protected landscapes and investing in infrastructure. Projects including “Drop the plastic, make a difference” highlight the town’s commitment to reducing plastic use and encouraging sustainable practices. Additionally, The Waste Management Plan, smart city initiatives, and Natura 2000 protection further emphasise Slunj’s dedication to minimising its ecological footprint and preserving its natural beauty. ​

Zell am See, Austria

Zell am See, a picturesque lakeside village in Austria has implemented 11 measures to support sustainability in the region through a programme called Klima und Energie Modell Region (KEM). This has resulted in a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, a new sustainable mode of transport, micro mobility and decreases in traffic levels. Also supporting the accommodation providers to become certified with the European Eco-Label, the village is focusing on waste reduction, more solar panels and food production, supporting local businesses and the community.

Sortelha, Portugal

One of Portugal’s best-preserved villages, Sortelha, demonstrates a strong commitment to sustainability through its energy pilot initiative, aiming to optimise energy efficiency to reduce its carbon footprint, positioning the village as a pioneer in eco-friendly solutions. Its €3M investment in a tourist resort also aligns with sustainability principles. From utilising local raw materials to supporting traditional construction methods, Sortelha’s efforts embody a commitment to responsible tourism and a greener, more sustainable future. ​

About UN Tourism

UN Tourism is the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable, and universally accessible tourism. As part of this mission, the UN Tourism launched the Tourism for Rural Development Programme to make tourism a driver of rural development and wellbeing. It is dedicated to leveraging the potential of tourism to drive sustainable development in rural areas worldwide and is driven by the belief that tourism can be a catalyst for positive change in rural areas. By supporting community-based tourism initiatives, capacity building, and destination management, the programme empowers local communities to actively participate in and benefit from tourism development.

By Naser Nader Ibrahim

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