Brgy Bojo in Cebu named world’s best ecotourism village


A quaint barangay blessed with a scenic 1.4 kilometer-long river in southwestern Cebu has been named by the United Nations World Tourism Organization as one of the best tourism villages of the world.

The UNWTO, the leading international organization in tourism, announced Friday that Barangay Bojo from the fourth class municipality of Aloguinsan, Cebu was among the 44 world’s Best Tourism Villages of 2021.

Similarly, another village in the Philippines, Barangay Tenani in Paranas, Samar, was named among those who qualified to be given support by the UNWTO under its Upgrade Program.

“The Philippines has made waves as a promoter of community-based ecotourism development,” Philippine Consul General in Madrid Adrian Cruz said.

Bojo and 43 other villages from Japan, Russia, China, Slovenia and other countries bested 130 other villages which were nominated from 70 countries all over the world.

Bojo is famous for its Bojo River, home of 22 mangrove species and wildlife habitat. Its 1,869 residents, mostly fisherfolks, have banded together to form a community of environment stewards called “Bojo Aloguinsan Ecotourism Association”

Their main tourism activity is a three-hour Bojo Eco-Cultural River Tour where they conduct lectures on mangrove ecology, bird and wildlife to tourists. Income generated from this tourism activity is shared among the local government, the community fund, the barangay fund, wages and payment to the suppliers.

Philippine Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UNWTO Philippe J. Lhuillier and DOT Undersecretary Verna C. Buensuceso received the award from UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili during the UNWTO 24TH General Assembly in Madrid Spain.

“As a Cebuano and a Filipino, it is with great honor and privilege that I receive this distinct recognition in behalf of the people of Bojo, Alonguinsan, Cebu. I laud the strong drive and resiliency displayed by our villages and communities who remain committed to pursuing responsible tourism as a strong driver of their development and wellbeing,” Ambassador Lhuillier said.

This feat adds to a number of international recognition received by Bojo internationally. In 2016, it won the Asean Tourism Award in the community-based category.

“Tourism can be a driver of social cohesion and inclusion by promoting a fairer distribution of benefits throughout the territory and empowering local communities,” UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said. “This initiative recognizes those villages committed to making tourism a strong driver of their development and wellbeing.”

In its website, the UNWTO recognized Bojo for recrafting its tourism vision to become a  “progressive town showcasing sustainable and people-centered development with strong partnership between local government and the community; safe and enjoyable place for residents, visitors and investors.”

Aside from Bojo, 43 other villages from 32 countries across the five regions of the world were recognized this year. 

“They stand out 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),” the UNWTO said.
The other villages named as Best Tourism Villages are:

  • 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

Aside from Barangay Tenani, UNWTO will work with the following villages participating in the Upgrade Programme:

  • Ordino, Andorra
  • Khinalig, Azerbaijan
  • Koprivshtitsa, Bulgaria
  • Kaštelir Labinci, Croatia
  • Agros, Cyprus
  • Fuwah, Egypt
  • Western Samos, Greece
  • Hollókő, Hungary
  • 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

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