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:
The Korean-French collaborative team Ensemble ("together") hosted its 4th Eco-Quartier ("eco-neighborhood") Seminar in Suwon, South Korea, on October 4th, 2018.
The seminar took place at the Korea Farmers Center and included two presentations:
Also read Seoul Spearheads Global Efforts to Promote Fair and Sustainable Urban Tourism.
The seminar was concluded by a visit of the "Romadic" micro-compact house, specially designed for romantic urban nomads by Architect Seong-Hun KIM.
"Ensemble" is a French-Korean team of professionals involved in eco-architecture, green urban development, biodiversity conservation, and sustainable smart urban tourism. It was established in 2017 with the purpose to build and implement collaborative and participative solutions and projects aimed at promoting sustainable development strategies, business models and lifestyles in urban environments.
Ensemble team is currently composed of:
Millennium Hikers, a Seoul-based international group promoting intercultural, responsible and sustainable sports and leisure experiences, was an official partner of the first edition of Fête du Sport in Korea, which took place on Sept. 21 to 23, 2018 in France.
To celebrate this initiative, as well as the bilateral sports cooperation between France and Korea, Millennium Hikers organized a special urban hike on Sept. 22, 2018.
This was also an opportunity to raise awareness of fair and sustainable urban tourism and the global campaign “Fair Travel Living Together” led by the Seoul Tourism Organization.
Also read Seoul Spearheads Global Efforts to Promote Fair and Sustainable Urban Tourism.
On Sept. 28, representatives of Millennium Hikers were invited at the French Embassy to commemorate Fête du Sport, together with other partners, friends and several personalities such as Mr. LEE Hee-beom, Chairman of the Pyeongchang Organizing Committee, Mr. UM Hong-il, a the famous Korean mountain climber, Mr. CHO Jaekhee, Chairman of the Korea Sports Promotion Federation, Mr. Jake Eunsuk KIM, the Secretary-General of the Korean Canoe Federation.
Author: Catherine Germier-Hamel, Smart sustainable tourism consultant
“Tourist Go home”
“Tourist: your luxury trip, my daily misery”
“Your tourism kills my neighborhood”.
These kinds of messages have likely been noticed in travel destinations that have become victims of their own success and attractiveness. Indeed, for many residents living in popular landmarks, tourism can often be experienced as a nightmare rather than a dream.
While many cities have been overwhelmed by mass tourism and what is now called “overtourism”, Seoul has been striving to promote alternative forms of tourism that do not put pressure on destinations and offer quality experiences to citizens as well as visitors.
As the host city of the 7th UNWTO Global Summit on Urban Tourism, which recently took place on 16-19 September, the South Korean capital is determined to spearhead global discussions and efforts towards fair, responsible and sustainable urban tourism.
Tourism Larger than Life?
Over the past decade, international tourist arrivals (or overnight visitors) have grown steadily across the world to reach a total of 1.3 billion, according to the estimates published by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). In 2017, international arrivals grew by a noticeable 7%, the highest increase since 2010. By 2030, they are expected to exceed the threshold of 1.8 billion.
The world third-largest export sector, tourism is a fast growing industry which accounts for 10.4% of the global GDP through its direct, indirect and induced effects, and represents one in 10 jobs on the planet. Due to the investment and economic benefits or opportunities it provides, tourism has become a priority sector for many countries, especially developing nations where it represents a major source of revenues.
The positive contribution of tourism has been acknowledged by the United Nations and the international community. At the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in 2012, global leaders have recognized that “well-designed and well-managed tourism” can contribute to the three dimensions of sustainable development, to job creation and to trade. Tourism is clearly mentioned in the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and three of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals adopted in 2015 by the international community, and the UN General Assembly designated 2017 International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.
Having said that, tourism development strategies have usually focused on quantitative rather than qualitative objectives, namely increasing the number of tourism arrivals, most of the time without any specific plans to prevent, control and monitor the negative impacts of tourism.
As a human activity, tourism is a heavy consumer of local resources that are often scarce. Occasionally dubbed “an industry without chimney”, tourism can cause environmental damages and pollution, including noise and visual pollution. Tourism activities can threaten natural and cultural heritages, and disturb the social and cultural harmony of host communities. Moreover, a recent study of the University of Sydney, Australia, has quantified the carbon footprint of the global travel and tourism industry across the supply chain, and revealed that it contributed to 8 per cent of the global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, 70 per cent of them being due to transportation. It is likely that this contribution will continue to augment in the future, and some tourism experiences and even destinations might disappear due to climate change.
Getting over with big numbers
In addition to megatrends such as globalization, urbanization, demographic shifts, rising middle-class and affluence, together with technological innovations leading to increased convenience and awareness, the emergence of new tourist destinations, and the rapid rise of low-cost carriers have fueled the expansion of international travel at a tremendous rate. Due to the overcrowding of their environments and the subsequent nuisances and disturbances, local residents have been under constant pressure, stress and tension, leading to a growing rejection of tourists and tourism, sometimes called tourist-phobia. This has been worsened by the emergence of home-sharing platforms that have priced residents out of the property market.
Even if tourism has been taking its toll on destinations for decades, the term “overtourism” is actually quite new and has become a hot topic only a few years ago. In Collins dictionary, it is defined as “the phenomenon of a popular destination or sight becoming overrun with tourists in an unsustainable way”.
According to the report published in Dec. 2017 by the World Travel & Tourism Council and McKInsey (Coping with Success, Managing Overcrowding in Tourism Destinations), overcrowding can be associated with a variety of major issues, including alienated local residents, degraded tourist experience, overloaded infrastructure, damage to nature, and threats to culture and heritage.
At the same time, there has been a growing interest or even demand for more responsible and respectful forms of tourism that have net positive effects and impacts on the visited areas and their residents, at environmental, social and societal, cultural levels. This has been called fair travel, responsible tourism, or sustainable tourism.
The concept of sustainable tourism has emerged as an answer to reconcile and harmonize the different and sometimes antagonist dimensions of tourism, namely economic, social and societal, environmental, managerial, etc. Whether it is considered as a human activity or an economic sector, sustainable tourism can be apprehended as an approach of tourism, which seeks to conciliate the needs and experiences of all involved tourism stakeholders, including the visitors, the industry, and the host communities, while optimizing their immediate and future effects on the local economies, societies, cultures, and environments. In the end, sustainable tourism can be defined either as a strategic vision (or visionary strategy), a business model, or a lifestyle.
Overtourism and the cities
About 50% of the world population lives in urban agglomerations and research indicates that the volume of tourism demand for city destinations has increased by approximately 50 % worldwide in the last decade.
Some key destinations, particularly European cities such as Amsterdam, Netherlands, Barcelona, Spain, and Venice, Italy, just to name a few, have been exploring various measures to preserve the quality of life of their citizens without giving up on tourism development, promotion and competitiveness.
The seventh largest city in the world with almost 10 million inhabitants and the third largest metropolis with more than 25.6 million people, Seoul has been actively and efficiently promoted as a top urban destination for leisure and business over the past decades, which resulted in a significant growth of international arrivals.
In 2016, a total 13.45 million foreign visitors were recorded by the Seoul Metropolitan Government. It was planned that the the milestone of 20 million arrivals would be achieved in 2018, boosted by the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. In comparison, Venice’s 63,000 residents receive 30 million visitors a year.
Concurrently, various landmarks in Seoul have suffered from excessive noise, traffic congestion, and littering due to overcrowding, for example Ehwa and Bukchon villages in the central district of Jongno. Due to its well-preserved Korean houses known as hanok, which date back to the Joseon dynasty (1392-1897), Bukchon village has become a key tourist attraction receiving a daily average of 10,000 visitors, 70 per cent of them being foreign tourists. In the 2000s, Bukchon residents had been encouraged to renovate their hanok through government support so that these traditional houses can be promoted as key sightseeing spots and even offer home stays. However, the locals quickly started to feel overwhelmed by the uncontrolled flows of tourists ruining the quality of their lives. According to an academic study released in 2017, the tourism boom in Bukchon contributed to a 14 per cent decrease in the number of residents over the past five years.
This situation prompted Seoul to explore sustainable strategies through developing new tourism experiences and contents, focusing on value over volume through indicators such as the level of spending per visitor, the propensity to consume, and revisit rate, and establishing a series of measures to prevent and control overtourism.
Seoul fair and sustainable solutions
The first Seoul International Fair & Sustainable Tourism (SIFT) Forum was organized in 2016 to discuss topics related to sustainable tourism and community-based tourism in megacities, including the case of Bukchon. It was also an opportunity to reaffirm that “fair and sustainable tourism is the one respecting residents, not just visitors, and preserving environment of the tourist destinations”.
Hosted annually by the Seoul Metropolitan Government in collaboration with UNWTO, and organized by the Seoul Tourism Organization, the SIFT Forum has gathered global and local experts and policy-makers, representatives of tourism business, and academia members to advance strategies and practical solutions to address the needs of the local communities as well as the visitors.
The Seoul International Fair & Sustainable Tourism Forum 2018 took place on 18 September, 2018, in conjunction with the 7th UNWTO Global Summit on Urban Tourism in Seoul. It started with the Session 4 of the UNWTO Global Summit titled “Fair and Inclusive Tourism: Building Cities for All”.
The Session was attended by hundreds of high-level representatives from National Tourism Administrations, city authorities and related tourism stakeholders, and offered a venue to share policy strategies and action plans to handle overtourism and to promote harmonious relationships between all stakeholders / co-creators of the tourist experiences, including travelers, host communities, tour operators, etc. Five panelists representing the cities of Amsterdam, Barcelona, Cape Town, Venice, and Seoul tourism organizations provided their insights on how to adopt a local approach to economic and social development in urban destinations by integrating the local community and its component along the tourism value chain.
Before the session, UNWTO launched its report “Overtourism? Understanding and managing urban tourism growth beyond perceptions”.
The SIFT 2018 continued in the afternoon with a special Session on Fair & Sustainable Tourism under the theme “Over tourism to Fair tourism: Tourism for Life, Sustainable City”, with three separate group discussions: 1. Transforming tourism: Overtourism to Fair tourism; 2. Transforming tourism: Sustainable tourism to Sustainable life, and 3. Transforming tourism: Promotion to Management. For one hour, foreign, regional and local participants discussed and proposed actions to deal with overtourism, to be implemented by the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the tourism departments of 25 local autonomous regions.
In the afternoon, participants of the Forum enjoyed a Seoul Fair & Sustainable Tourism Village Tour during which they were offered seven fair and sustainable tourism experiences, designed as an alternative to disperse tourists from more popular spots in Seoul.
One of the major outcomes of the SIFT 2018 was the signature of MoUs between the Seoul Metropolitan Government and Venice Municipality Council, and between the Seoul Tourism Organization and Amsterdam Marketing for the joint development and promotion of fair and sustainable tourism.
Additionally, Seoul has organized a “Fair Tourism Week” on September 17 to 30, providing a variety of fair tourism experiences to tourists visiting Seoul, and opportunities to exchange with local experts, professionals, academia members, and policy-makers. Within this framework, special tours have been proposed in various neighborhoods of Seoul, in order to highlight local experiences and products.
Promoting Compassionate and Responsible Travel Behaviors
As a result of the two first SIFT Forums, the Seoul Metropolitan Government and Jongno District in Northern Seoul announced a set of eight measures in August 2018, aimed at promoting fair and sustainable tourism in Bukchon Hanok Area through a better management of the flows of tourists:
With a focus on urban tourism, this global campaign was launched in 2017 during the second SIFT Forum under the theme “Urban Tourism: Fair and Sustainable City Agenda" 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:
The proposed actions are:
the French cities of Paris and Marseille, the European Network for Accessible Tourism - ENAT, the Global Alternative Tourism Network, the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, the International Center for Responsible Tourism, The Japanese Ecotourism Society, Kabani Community Tourism Service, Le Cordon Bleu University in Lima, Peru, Millennium Destinations, Peace Boat, the Positive Business Chair of Paris Nanterre University, socialtours, the Thai Community based Tourism Institute, UN-Habitat / Urban Resilience Hub, UN Environment, and the World Association for Hospitality and Tourism Education and Training - AMFORHT.
Good planning and management have been identified as key factors of success not only for sustainable tourism development, but also for overcoming the challenges of overcrowding / overtourism.
Based on its experience and the lessons learnt throughout its modern history, Seoul has proven its willingness and capacity to become a model of smart, sustainable, resilient and hospitable city.
Each destination is unique and should have its own personal agenda, but all tourism stakeholders, including administrations, governments, local authorities, policy-makers and regulators, destinations managers and promoters, private businesses and associations, NGOs, Academia, local communities and tourists, should continuously engage and join forces, so that the sector can grow in a responsible way, towards peace, global prosperity, social inclusiveness and environmental sustainability.
Special Exhibition “Tourism For All"
Hosted by Seoul Metropolitan Government and organized by the Seoul Tourism Organization
Dates: September 17 to 29, 2018
Venue: Bukchon Village Information Center, Seoul
Presentation of the Fair Travel Living Together campaign and the seven proposals for fair travel, and examples of harmonious coexistence between Bukchon residents and visitors.
Also read "The Challenge of Overtourism" by Harold Goodwin