On March 16, 2019, the General Assembly of AMFORHT unanimously approved the Republic of Korea as the host country of its 2020 World Annual Forum.
The World Association for Hospitality & Tourism Training and Education - AMFORHT hosted its 23rd World Forum in Paris, France on March 14th to 16, 2019, under the theme “Education and Tourism, Change the Future Through Actions”. The event marked the 50th anniversary of the Association.
Catherine GERMIER-HAMEL, AMFORHT Delegate for South Korea, and Founder & CEO of Millennium Destinations, attended the Forum together with Amb. DHO Young-Shim, Chairperson of the Seoul-based International Charity Foundation, in order to submit the proposal of South Korea to host the 24th AMFORHT World Forum.
On March 15th, around 150 participants from over 30 countries gathered at Hotel Lassay, Residence of the President of the French National Assembly, for the opening ceremony of the Forum.
Several high-level personalities were invited by AMFORHT President, Mr. Philippe FRANCOIS to give a speech to the audience, including: Mr. Jean-Baptiste LEMOYNE French State Secretary of France to the Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, in charge of Tourism, Lamia BOUTALEB Morocco State Secretary of Tourism of Morocco Ms. Pascale FONTENEL-PERSONNE, French Lawmaker – President of the Tourism Committee of the French Parliament, Mr. Francesco FRANGIALLI, AMFORHT Non-Executive Chairman – Honorary and former Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Dr. Taleb RIFAÏ Jordan, former Secretary-General UNWTO, and Amb. DHO Young-shim, as well as representatives of many prominent education, training, tourism and/or institutions from the public and privates sectors.
The afternoon was dedicated to a series of conferences and panel discussions focused on education and training in tourism and hospitality, with the necessity to take into account the specific learning needs and profiles of Millennials.
The day was concluded by a celebratory dinner a the application restaurant of CFA Médéric Ecole Hôtelière de Paris.
During AMFORHT General Assembly on March 16th, Catherine GERMIER-HAMEL introduced South Korea as a top MICE (Meetings Incentives Conventions and Exhibitions) destination. After all participating members unanimously approved the candidature of the Republic of Korea as host of the 24th AMFORHT World Forum in 2020, AMFORHT President officially handed over the flag of the Association to Amb. DHO Young-shim.
The 24th AMFORHT World Forum, the first one in Asia, would take place in Seoul in May 2019, and would be the first one in Asia, hosted in Seoul in May 2020, and many delegates have already expressed their strong interest in being part of it.
An initiative of UNWTO, AMFORHT was launched 50 years ago in France and is recognized as the key international network for vocational training and higher education programs and research in tourism and hospitality.
A UNWTO Affiliate Member, AMFORHT was granted a special consultative status by the United Nations in 2017.
As of today, AMFORHT is serving over 650 active members, supporters and business partners from 64 countries, mostly in Europe but not only, including educational and training institutions, public and private organizations and professionals from the travel and tourism industry, as well as national and international entities from related sectors.
On February 25 to March 4, 2019, the Herost team undertook a pilot mission in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Since Oct. 2018, the Herost project has been developed by Catherine GERMIER-HAMEL, Founder & CEO of Millennium Destinations, and Louis HAAG, Managing Director of GreenBIM Engineering, as a global community-based tourism (CBT) platform including a digital marketplace for sharing CBT experiences, and associated services such as strategic and operations consulting and training. Thailand was selected as pilot country for the implementation of the project, whereas the Great Mekong sub-region was selected as pilot region.
With the support of Ms. Jaranya DAENGNOY, Director of the Thailand Community-Based Tourism Institute (CBT-I) in Chiang Mai, Catherine and Louis started their mission with a one-day trip hosted by the CBT Tailue Luangnue group, on Feb. 27. 2019.
The program included several CBT experiences such as: making Kao-Kab, a staple Tai lue food and snack, visiting a local workshop producing wooden figurines to be sold as souvenirs, understanding the design and fabrication process of the figurines, and then painting them, cooking a traditional Thai meal, making Tai Lue's style bag, dressing with Tai Lue costumes, etc.
The trip was concluded by a discussion with the CBT group leader, to learn more about the Tai lue’s history and traditional ways of life and understand the needs, expectations, and challenges of the CBT group in the process of designing, developing and marketing CBT activities, and involve other members of the local community.
On Feb. 27 to March 2nd, 2019, the Herost team attended the 2019 GSTC Asia-Pacific Sustainable Tourism Conference in Chiang Mai, hosted by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council - GSTC and DASTA, the Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration (a Thailand Public Authority).
As part of the track "Quality Tourism: Delivering Sustainable Quality Experiences" on March 1, Catherine moderated the panel session "Community Benefit through Tourism", in collaboration with the following panelists:
On March 2, a post-conference tour was organized for the participants in Chom Thong district in Chiang Mai province. Focused on culture, nature, and community-based experiences, the tour included a hiking in Ban Mae Klang Luang, a village inhabited by Karen communities. In 1985, the village replaced opium poppy crops with creative and sustainable crops such rice pad terraces, strawberry fields (hopefully forever), coffee and tea. It has also developed CBT activities including homestays and excursions led by trained local guides.The tour continued with a lunch at the Royal Agricultural Station, an excursion at Doi Inthanon National Park, and a visit of the great holy relics pagodas Nabhamethanidol and Nabhapolbhumisiri.
On March 3, the Herost team had a meeting with Guilherme (Gui) BROTTO, Permaculture Designer at The Little Urban Farm. Originally from Brazil, Gui is currently living in Chiang Mai and is travelling across the world to promote several projects aimed at regenerating the planet, especially through education and awareness-raising, but also the promotion of innovative products such as the beeswax wraps produced by Superbee, providing an eco friendly food storage alternative to plastic wrap.
Herost mission also included local food experiences together with Mr. Vincent VICHIT-VADAKAN, Bangkok-based journalist specialized in food, travel and lifestyle, and travel blogger Jennifer RYDER JOSLIN.
Herost is still in development stage, and we are currently gathering positive energies and creative initiatives to make our planet a better place to live, travel, and enjoy transformative, fair experiences. You too can be a Herost, do not hesitate to contact us to be part of the journey!
For its networking event on Feb. 19, 2019, Green Drinks Seoul invited Korea Forest Service (KFS) to give a presentation of the Asia-Pacific Forestry Week 2019 (APFW). Co-hosted by KFS and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), APFW will take place on June 17-21, 2019 in Incheon, South Korea. The presentation also introduced the exemplary case of reforestation in South Korea.
This event was sponsored by Millenium Destinations and Green BIM Engineering, and supported by the European Chamber of Commerce in Korea - ECCK, the French Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Cercle des Entrepreneurs Francophones en Corée.
Green Drink Seoul is a group of professionals from the public and private sectors involved / interested in environment, sustainable development, green growth and ecology.
Facebook Group: GreenDrinksSeoul
s a continuation of the 2018 Global Campaign "Fair Travel Living Together", an initiative of the Seoul Metropolitan Government, Seoul Tourism Organization, and Barcelona City Council, in collaboration with the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), a friendly meeting was organized in Paris with some partners of the campaign.
Participants of the meeting included Ms. Emilie THIRY, in charge of the tourism division at the cabinet of the Deputy-Mayor of Paris for Sports, Tourism and Olympics, Ms. Helena REY de ASSIS, Programme Administrator, Production and Consumption Unit, Ressources & Markets Branch, Economy Division at UN Environment, Ms. Béatrice BELLINI, Director of the Positive Business Chair of Paris Nanterre University, and Ms. Catherine GERMIER-HAMEL, Founder & CEO of Millennium Destinations.
The meeting was also attended by Mr. Hervé GUILLON, in charge of Sustainable and Accessible Tourism at the Marketing Direction of the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Ms. Svitlana MIKHALYEVA, Consultant for the Sustainable Tourism Programme, One Planet Network.
The discussion focused on sharing insights, experiences and practices in relation with various topics such as: sustainable urban tourism, community-based tourism, green meetings and certification for hotels and tourism operators, promotion of local, eco-friendly experiences in Paris, fostering sustainable tourism as part of the lifestyle, nudging and serious games to encourage responsible behaviors, overtourism and initiatives to deal with it in Paris, circular economy, etc.
Both Ms. Béatrice BELLINI and Ms. Catherine GERMIER-HAMEL are members of the Scientific Committee of the World Association for Hospitality and Tourism Education and Training - AMFORHT, another partner of the 2018 Global "Fair Travel Living Together".
We, as individuals or organizations, all have the potential to shine and to enlighten our world. The inner spark that can transform us into influencers, celebrities, advocates, or gurus, is within all of us. But how can we unleash the power of our personal and business brands?
And, what purpose will motivate and irradiate our journey towards achievement and fulfillment?
On Nov. 22 and 23, 2018, U.K.-based Business of Brand (BoB) School hosted their inaugural class in Korea, aimed at teaching entrepreneurs how to design, build and activate a brand led-growth plan.
The class was hosted by Seoul-based agency Asiance, and Catherine GERMIER-HAMEL, Founder & CEO of Millennium Destinations was part of this maieutic (and even chaotic) expedition.
After this two-day process, she was able to declare the purpose of Millennium Destinations, which is (roughly) : "to connect people and communities together to reach harmony and progress".
Read the Korea Times' article here : BoB School seeks to raise brand awareness among entrepreneurs
On Nov. 10 to 14, 2018, Catherine GERMIER-HAMEL, Founder & CEO of Millennium Destinations, carried out a short fact-finding mission in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in order to collect information on innovative inititiaves in the fields of community-based tourism and education, and share ideas and insights with relevant stakeholders in these areas.
This was an opportunity to work together with French Visual Artist Ulla REIMER who is currently living in Cambodia where she is offering creative workshops for visitors and locals.
The mission started with a meeting on Nov. 2, with Ms. Sophea SOK, an Ecotourism and Community-Based Tourism (CBT) Expert, who has worked with Cambodia Community-Based-Ecotourism Network, and is now serving as Quality and Standards Expert at the Regional Secretariat for ASEAN Tourism Professionals. The discussion focused on the opportunity to mainstream CBT and to change the business model of CBT so that local communities really benefit from tourism. Moreover, it appeared necessary to work closely with community-leaders to overcome language and culture barriers. Check the ASEAN Community-Based Tourism standards here.
This meeting was followed by a visit of Light of Mercy Home, a center for children with disabilities (deaf, blind or hindered by old illness), founded in 1997 by two sisters, Sr. Marie-Adelphe, Providence Sister, and Sr. Denise, sister of Mercy. Nowadays, 31 children and youths live in the center.
Ulla REIMER has been working with these children - even the blind ones - to teach them art photography as an empowerment tool. At the same time, the purpose is to promote the different eco-activities of the center, for example through the newly installed Aquaponics system for urban farming, combining pisciculture with soilless plant culture (hydroponics). Many of the children appear to be smart and talented, both artistically and technically, but are usually not offered satisfactory career options.
On Nov. 14, Catherine and Ulla paid a visit to Ms. Anne CHAPALAIN, Deputy-Country Director of the Agence Française de Développement (French Development Agency - AFD)'s office in Cambodia.
Tourism has been identified as a key growth driver for Cambodia, which has welcomed 5.6 million foreign tourists in 2017, i.e. a 11.8 % increase, mostly concentrated in Siem Reap (Angkor Vat) and Phnom Penh. To reach the target of 7.5 million tourists by 2020, the sector would need 500.000 additional professionals. It seems indispensable not only to diversify the offer with new, dispersed experiences, including ecotourism, but also to develop more skilled human resources throughout the country.
Against this background, AFD is supporting a 20-year project (2015-2035), through the financing (loan and grant) of two components:
In September this year, France and Cambodia have expressed their willingness to strengthen tourism cooperation through an MoU, based on the French know-how in tourism engineering and destination development, management, and promotion.
On the same day, a meeting was organized with Mr. Songthoul FERNANDEZ, Founder and CEO of Kennary Tours, a Phnom-Penh-based travel agency established in 1999 with a strong commitment to solidarity and social responsibility. Around 180 houses have been built in poor areas thanks to the donations of Kennary's clients and supporters.
Mr. Songthoul highlighted the need to diversify inbound markets, to increase flight connections with Cambodia, to increase the duration of the stays, and to develop new alternative destinations. Whereas game tourism in Sihanoukville has become a key tourist attraction for the Chinese market, Cambodia offers many unique intangible assets that would appeal to Westerners.
Moreover, a better organization and management of tour guides is required in other to secure the best level of services to visitors. Catherine mentioned that Cambodia has the potential to become a key tourism destination, based on a strong vision shared by all stakeholders, a branding strategy focused on quality, sustainability, and inclusiveness, and a bottom-up approach considering the needs and interests of local communities.
Finally the mission was concluded by a dinner with colleagues and friends met at the 2016 Mekong Tourism Forum in Sihanoukville: Ms. Nancy Jaffe, Director and Head of Strategy & Research of Mango Tango, one of the leading advertising agencies in Phnom Penh, Ms. Marissa Carruthers, Southeast Asia-based freelance journalist and editor of AsiaLife Cambodia, and Ms. Katerina Kim.
Millennium Destinations will plan a mission during the first quarter of 2019, within the framework of a project of to develop an innovative CBT business model in South East Asia.
On November 9, 2018, the Korea Forest Service hosted a meeting at its headquarters in Daejon Government Complex, in preparation of the 28th session of the Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission (APFC) and 4th Asia-Pacific Forestry Week (APFW), two major events of the Food and Agriculture and Organization of the United Nations (FAO), which will take place in June 2019 in Songdo, South Korea.
Catherine GERMIER-HAMEL, Founder & CEO of Millennium Destinations was appointed Member of the Advisory Group for the Organization of these 28th APFC and 4th APFW. Since one of the five tracks of APFW is focused on "Harmonizing people and Forests", she mentioned it could be a great opportunity to discuss issues related to ecotourism and community-based tourism in forest environments. She added both FAO's events could used as a platform to promote CBT experiences in South Korea, as well as the country's tangible and intangible cultural heritage in relation with forests and timber.
In 2021, FAO will have its XV World Forestry Congress in South Korea, which is expected to bring together 10,000 forestry experts and supporters from 160 countries.
The Korea Forest Service is an independent agency specializing in forestry that is overseen by the Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
On Nov 6, 2018, Catherine GERMIER-HAMEL, Founder & CEO of Millennium Destinations, gave a two-hour lecture on "Community-based tourism spillovers" at Sejong University, Korea, to an audience of tourism government officials from Mongolia, Myanmar, Peru, and Sri Lanka,
The lecture was part of the 2018 Intensive Training Program for Working Level Tourism Leaders, an ODA project implemented by the Korea Tourism Organization, Sejong University, and Hyundai Research Institute.
During her lecture, Catherine insisted that tourism experiences are local by nature, and rural / urban Community-based Tourism has the potential to be mainstreamed as the most sustainable and desirable paradigm for tourism.
On October 26 to 30, 2018, Catherine Germier-Hamel, Founder & CEO of Millennium Destinations, carried out a mission in Northern Vietnam, together with Dr. Béatrice Bellini, Director of the Positive Business Chair of Paris Nanterre University in France.
The mission started with a one-day tour to Bai Dinh Pagoda, or Bái Đính Temple Spiritual and Cultural Complex, a popular Buddhist pilgrimage destination located in Ninh Bình Province. This large compound covering an area of 700 hectares was built between 2003 and 2010 by local construction company Xuan Truong. The construction materials include locally quarried stone and timber from Ninh Bình, and artisanal works from local handicraft villages were selected for the interior.
On Oct. 27th, the International Conference on "New Tourism - Local to Global Initiatives" took place at Bai Dinh Hotel, and was organized by the Faculty of Tourism and Hospitality of the National Economics University (NEU) in Hanoi, with the support of Hoa Lu University in Ninh Binh.
The conference included two concurrent sessions: Session 1 on Responsible and Sustainable Tourism, and Session 2 on Tourism Business and Initiatives.
Dr. Bellini gave a keynote speech on "Analysis of sustainability-branded tourism products in Vietnam: an exploratory study", and chaired the Session 1, together with Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pham Truong Hoang, Dean of the Faculty of Tourism and Hospitality of NEU.
As one of the speakers of session 1, Catherine Germier-Hamel gave a presentation on sustainable smart tourism development and promotion, with a focus on local communities as key stakeholders and right holders. She mentioned that the growing phenomenon of "overtourism" was often a matter of perception from local residents and visitors as well, and she took this opportunity to introduce the 2018 Global Campaign "Fair Travel Living Together" with Millennium Destinations and the Positive Business Chair as partners.
In conclusion, she suggested that while sustainable tourism could be defined as a strategic vision, a business model applicable to any form of tourism, and a lifestyle, it could also be seen as a spiritual system which requires not only faith and principles but also daily practice.
Session 1 also included presentations on: "New view on public-private cooperation for sustainable tourism development in Cambodia" by , "The Development of spiritual tourism in Thua Tien Hue province, Vietnam", and "Developing urban tourism product in Vietnam: facts and directions".
With (from left) Dr. Pham Truong Hoang (1st), DR. Chuk Chumno, Director of Department of Tourism Development and Director of Division of Tourism Management and Development, Ministry of Tourism of the Kingdom of Cambodia (2nd), Dr. Béatrice Bellini (3rd), Catherine Germier-Hamel (4th), and Dr. Tran Huy Duc, Head of Department of Hospitality Management (last)
In the afternoon, the conference was followed by a boat tour in Trang An landscape complex in Ninh Binh, inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014.
As mentioned in UNESCO's website, there are about 14,000 residents living in Trang An, a mixed cultural and natural property contained mostly within three protected areas: the Hoa Lu Ancient Capital, the Trang An-Tam Coc-Bich Dong Scenic Landscape, also known as “Halong bay on land”, and the Hoa Lu Special-Use Forest.
Trang An covers a surface area of almost 5,000 hectares and is most famous for its over 1,000 row boats owned by Xuan Truong company and managed by locals. Xuan Truong is in charge of aspects of conservation and tourism management in the Trang An-Tam Coc-Bich Dong Scenic Landscape area, and there are four small private tourist resort operations within the property.
Although the tourism boating industry in Trang An has generated new job and income opportunities for the local community, and therefore contributed to the elimination of poverty in the area among many other positive direct, indirect and induced effects, the site might become a victim of its growing popularity and eventually suffer from overtourism if the flows of tourists are not carefully planned, managed and monitored.
In 2017, Ninh Binh Province welcomed over 7 million visitors, up nearly 10 per cent against 2016, of which international visitors were nearly 860,000 (Ninh Binh Province Tourism Department). One of the three boat itineraries offered at Trang An landscape complex now includes a stop at the filming location of Hollywood blockbuster "Kong: Skull Island" (2017), an attraction that may not be compatible with its status of UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A responsible, smart, and participative management of the site is of utmost importance for the sustainable development of Trang An landscape complex.
On Sunday 28, the team participated in a tour to the Perfume Pagoda near Hanoi, locally known as Chua Huong. The tour was organized by Dr. Nguyen Van Thuy Anh from the Faculty of Human Resource Management and Economics of NEU. The Perfume Temple, also known as Chua Trong (Inner Temple), is located at the centre of the complex, in Huong Tich Cave. It is accessible by foot or by cable car.
The Perfume Pagoda is a very popular pilgrimage destination, and during the Huong Pagoda Festival, the longest and most elaborate annual festival in Vietnam, thousands of pilgrims and tourists are flocking from across the nation.
Monday Oct. 29 was dedicated to strategic meetings with local and international stakeholders in Hanoi, in preparation of upcoming initiatives and events aimed at co-creating and promoting innovative and responsible tourism experiences, businesses and contents in Vietnam.
In particular, key representatives of the Faculty of Tourism and Hospitality of NEU expressed their interest in hosting an international conference on smart and responsible tourism, in partnership with Millennium Destinations and the Positive Business Chair of Paris Nanterre University, that would include a Sustainable Smart Tourism Forum, and would connect academia, experts and tourism professionals from the public and private sectors.
On Oct. 30, a visit was organized at Animals Asia's Bear Sanctuary in Tam Dao, where moon and sun bears are rehabilitated and cared for and where bear teams gather evidence of the effects of bile extraction, usually operated by the bear bile farming industry.
According to Animals Asia, "more than 10,000 bears are kept on bile farms in China, and official figures put the number suffering the same fate in Vietnam at about 1,000."
Too many Traditional Medicine practitioners, especially from China, Japan, and South Korea, are still consuming bear bile, often illegal trade.
Bear bile has been used in Traditional Medicine for over 3,000 years, to treat fever, swelling and pain in cases of trauma, liver conditions and sore eyes. The Bear Sanctuary is promoting herbal substitutes as responsible alternatives.
The Vietnam Bear Sanctuary plays a crucial role in the areas education and research, through several knowledge sharing and awareness-raising activities. It also provides direct employment for Vietnamese people in areas such as bear care, horticulture, food preparation and security, and many local people are employed indirectly through services and construction.
The sanctuary is not open to general public on a daily basis in order to maintain its integrity but open day guided tours are available upon request on specific days each month.
Beside the bear program, Animals Asia in Vietnam has an ethical elephant project in Daklak, developed as an eco-tourism initiative aimed at replacing elephant exploitation and rides with observation and learning.
With a focus on urban tourism, the Global Campaign "Fair Travel Living Together" was launched in 2017 as an initiative designed and promoted by the Seoul Tourism Organization (STO), the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG), and Barcelona City Council in Spain, in collaboration with the World Tourism Organization’s #travelenjoyrespect campaign, within the framework of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development designated by the United Nations.
Now in its second year, the global campaign is seeking to achieve the following objectives: