The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has announced the third edition of the Best Tourism Villages list 2023, which features 54 villages, chosen out of almost 260 applications. Three Korean tourist sites, the villages of Dongbaek and Sehwa in Jeju Island, and Mosan in South Jeolla province have been recognised on the list.
Launched in 2021, the UNWTO’s Best Tourism Villages initiative is part of its Tourism for Rural Development Programme that seeks to facilitate development and inclusion in rural areas and fight depopulation. It evaluates the submitted villages based on nine criteria including environmental sustainability, infrastructure and connectivity, and health, safety and security.
Dongbaek Village, located in Jeju’s Seogwipo city, is well known for producing local products made from camellia. The name ‘Dongbaek’ means camellia in Korean.
Sehwa Village is also located on the east of Jeju Island. This village is well known for the preservation of the Haenyeo (female divers) ecosystem.
Mosan Village of Jeollanam-do province (South-West of Korea), and pictured above is home to one of the world’s top dolmen sites where you can experience life during the Bronze age some 3,000 years ago.
Another city in South Korea that is gaining global recognition for its historical heritage and tourist attractions is Busan. The site of the Busan Wartime Capital entry was added to UNESCO’s Tentative List in the modern heritage category.