On the occasion of the Fête du Sport 2019, the celebration of sports initiated by the French Ministry of Sports and supported by the French Embassy in Seoul, Millennium Destinations organized a special Millennium Hikers event, aimed at promoting sustainable, international and intercultural hiking in urban environments.
The hike took place in Gyeyang mountain in Incheon, South Korea, and was hosted in partnership with Décathlon store in Songdo, and the French Institute in Seoul.
"Hikers who care"
Millennium Hikers was created in 2016 to increase awareness on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as promoted by the United Nations, and the role of hiking experiences in promoting sustainable behaviors and mindsets. This international and intercultural group is dedicated to all sustainable and smart hikers / trekkers / walkers around the world who care about their social, environmental and economic impacts on destinations, while co-creating, promoting and sharing unique, community-based experiences between local hosts and their guests, especially in mountain destinations but not only.
Catherine GERMIER-HAMEL, Founder & CEO of Millennium Destinations attended as Panelist the 18th Asia Pacific Forum for Graduate Students Research in Tourism (APF), which took place at Sol International School - Woosong University in Daejeon, South Korea, on June 21 to 23, 2019.
The Forum was co-organized with the School of Hotel and Tourism Management at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and included three general sessions;
1. Sustainability in Hospitality & Tourism Industry,
2. Travel Industry in Asia Pacific Region Trends and Developments, and
3. Hospitality & Tourism Education in the 4th Industrial Revolution Era.
Catherine GERMIER-HAMEL was a Panelist of session 2, moderated by Dr. Richard Johnson, Dean, SIS/Woosong, together with Dr. Mario Hardy, CEO of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and Dr. Jin, Hong-Seok, Chairman of the Korea MICE Convergence Leaders Forum. She particularly insisted on sustainability as a value added to tourism and hospitality, as well as the necessity to secure loyalty not only from visitors and guests, but also from employees. Finally she reminded that sustainable tourism was about promoting quality over quantity, or value over volume.
On the occasion of the Asia-Pacific Forestry Week 2019, Green Drinks Seoul and Green Drinks Songdo happily and successfully co-hosted their first joint-networking event on 20 June 2019.
Green Drinks Seoul is set-up by a group of people working on environmental issues from the private and non-profit sector. It is supported by the European Chamber of Commerce in Korea - ECCK, the French Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry - FKCCI, and the Cercle des Entrepreneurs Francophones en Corée.
For more information, feel free to contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Green Drinks Seoul Page: www.greendrinks.org/Seoul
Green Drinks Songdo Page: http://www.greendrinks.org/Songdo
Within the framework of the Herost project, Catherine GERMIER-HAMEL, Founder & CEO of Millennium Destinations undertook a mission to Laos on April 12 to 19, 2019, in order to identify potential local partners and explore eco-friendly and community-based travel (CBT) experiences, especially in Luang Prabang region, in Northern Lao.
The mission took place during the Lao New Year, or Pi Mai (Lao: ປີໃໝ່), which is celebrated every year on April 13/14 to April 15/16 in Laos, as well as in Cambodia (Chaul Chhnam), Myanmar (Thingyan), and Thailand (Songkran).
During three days, corresponding to the hottest time in the region, more or less copious amounts of water are sprinkled or thrown at passers-by on the street, very often using buckets, hoses, water guns or any available tool. This may put a strain on water resources, in spite of their relative abundance in LAO PDR.
Particularly in Luang Prabang, listed as UNESCO World Heritage site in 1995, the Buddhist festival has become a very popular attraction for domestic and foreign visitors. It offers many opportunities to share unique cultural experiences with the locals, including a spectacular procession with the golden statue of Prabang, the most revered image of Buddha, or building sand stupas in order to keep the evil spirits at distance for the coming year.
Apart form Buddhist monks, thousands of locals take part in the Pi Mai parade, wearing a variety of traditional outfits, such as the traditional Hmong hand-embroidered costumes.
In 2018, Luang Prabang was granted an ASEAN Clean City Award and an ASEAN Sustainable Tourism Award for Phousy Hill at the ASEAN Tourism Forum in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Several eco-friendly initiatives have been implemented, particularly aimed at reducing the generation of single-use plastic waste, including safe drinking water refill stations and the spreading of bamboo straws.
The mission found out that Phousy Hill (Sacred Hill), located in the center of Luang Prabang on the peninsula between the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers, was littered with candy wrappers, and other plastic waste, probably due to an increased affluence of visitors during Pi Mai. Apparently, candies are common Buddhist offerings and some visitors (likely kids but may be adults as well) like to eat them before littering the wrappers on the spot, instead of using the many bins that have been installed.
Finally, the mission got a preview of some CBT projects and eco-friendly sites, such as Ta Kuang Si, 30 km away from Luang Prabang. In spite of the beauty of Kuang Si waterfalls, a popular tourist attraction, the sides of the Discovery Trail were littered with plastic bottles and snack wrappers, while several waste bins have been installed. In less than 10 mn, a full bag of trash was brought back.
Herost has been designed and developed by Millennium Destinations and its partner GreenBIM Engineering as an online platform and marketplace aimed at co-creating, promoting and sharing community-based travel experiences, with a focus on South-East Asian countries such as Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam, as well as Korea and Japan.
On April 11, 2019, Green Drinks Seoul co-hosted a networking event with the Global Green Growth Institute.
From 6.30 p.m. around 70 participants gathered at the headquarters of GGGI and were given a presentation about its history, activities, and HR policy and management, before visiting the newly LEED-certified premises.
The event was supported by the European Chamber of Commerce in Korea - ECCK, the French Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry - FKCCI, and the Cercle des Entrepreneurs Francophones en Corée - CEFC, and sponsored by Millennium Destinations and GreenBIM Engineering.
Green Drinks Seoul is set-up by a group of people working on environmental issues from the private and non-profit sector. GDS' organizing team includes: Magali Deschamps, Catherine GERMIER-HAMEL, Louis HAAG, Se Jeong KIM, and Hortense SERRET.
Facebook Group: GreenDrinksSeoul
Green Drinks Seoul Page: www.greendrinks.org/Seoul
Chaired by the 8th UN Secretary-General BAN Ki-moon, the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) is a treaty-based international, inter-governmental organization dedicated to supporting and promoting strong, inclusive and sustainable economic growth in developing countries and emerging economies. Working across the thematic priorities of sustainable energy, green cities, sustainable landscapes, and water & sanitation, GGGI aims to deliver impact through six strategic outcomes:
Autor: Beatriz Perez-‐Soto, written on March 18, 2019
When I was invited to be a guest speaker at the Universidad Metropolitana of Machala in Ecuador, my host asked me if I wanted either to go to the Peruvian border “to say I have been to Peru” or to visit a local tribe community. My choice was clear, I was so excited to have the opportunity to visit this Amazonian tribe based in South Ecuador at sea level. It was my first trip to Ecuador and I was elated to have this amazing opportunity.
After the conference and talks and when the week was sadly coming to an end, we drove to the location of the tribal site. On the road trip, I detected that the beautiful and fertile land was abruptly sliced by a huge quarry. I learned that foreign companies have been exploiting these amazing mountains with no limits. We all know that Ecuador is the Eldorado of banana trees and gold and copper mines nevertheless it is still a land having much to offer.
Doing some research about the group, I came across the UNOP organization that published some background info about the 'Shuars’ lands assigned to Canadian and Chinese companies. Those companies harnessed the resources of the land and the tribe was forced to endure persecution and violence. Therefore, the Amazon Land battle still persists. Although current president Moreno seems to be more open for dialogue, the Shuar movement wants to create political and diplomatic pressure for the respect of human rights and protection of the environment and ancestral lands in Ecuador. According to their beliefs, their lands are inherited from the past generations and borrowed from the future ones, and therefore need to be protected from degradation.
According to other sources, Shuars are considered a minority; however, they have won battles against local governments and today they claim their rights and their land. In 1964, they founded the Shuar Federation, to defend indigenous communities from the 1964 agrarian reforms that actively promoted the colonization of the Amazonian region. The Shuar Federation was one of the earliest indigenous resistance organizations in Ecuador, and their achievements have been made it a model for other groups. Their education programme has enabled Shuar to reassert themselves and take pride in their cultural inheritance. Strategic adaptation to changing realities gives them an improved chance of long-term survival as a people and their initiative may be followed by other groups.
Sources: https://minorityrights.org/minorities/shuar/; https://joshuaproject.net/people_groups/14920/EC
More interesting facts published in this blog are relevant to knowing the Shuars’ cultural heritage:
But who are the Shuars? Their ethnic background says Shuars belong to the Jivaroan ethno-linguistic group and live in the upper Amazonian region of Ecuador as well as in Peru. They are the second largest indigenous community in Ecuador. Preserving an abundant and rich cultural legacy, the community’s religion and beliefs system is based on respect for the nature and for their ancestral lands.
During our almost three-hour journey, we finally arrived at the village where the family community has settled for over 40 years now. The ancestral amazon tribe is settled in 470-hectare of land expanding to a rich mountain of gold mines and thermal waters near the southern coast of Ecuador.
The grandparents of Marcia Lequi came looking for water and they arrived to the southern coast. Marcia is one of the chief tribe members with a total of 10 families, each family has a leader, and they have all 10 children each and she kindly agreed to tell the story of her community during an interview. “The community is only one big family, like you and other many people have come to us trying to help us and is true we have received some help though, telling us how we have to proceed improving and do things better to preserve our cultural heritage and our land”.
This community arrived by the coast more than 40 years ago. The community migrated from Amazonia. Marcia’s grandparents moved to Mocaye and lived in Bucal for over 20 years, apparently occupying more than one piece of land, the tribe members were spread out in different locations as they were looking to own great pieces of the discovered land. Finally, Marcia says “we found land when L. F. Cordero was named president. From that moment, our indigenous tribe declared their position as strongly as our grandparents did when they left Bucal. All the tribe did, by moving to the coast near the Naranjal region, they found this region where they were able to settle in thanks to God.”
When Marcia’s grandparents arrived to this Naranjal new land, they lived in a township up there, they stayed approximately two years, and she says: “then they moved to the wild mountain region, and from there they moved again to this place to work as workers”.
“At that time, they were many land invasions, therefore in order to protect our lands, my brothers, sisters and parents decided to establish a cooperative organization, and they all followed the initiative.” Marcia says that they were very well organized and they shared in fairness the land among all the tribe’s members. One member had a piece of land up in the mountains, another one another piece, she adds: “however we never thought that the land where we just moved would be so rich with all these thermal waters and other resources”. Apparently, this unexpected discovery had an unpredictable impact with reactions on the nearer village community. Marcia adds: “When our neighbors grasped that we were fortunate to have an abundance of natural resources such as hot waters pupping up from almost everywhere in our land, troubles started to surface. From every hole we would dig, a hot water field would come out”. She described it as a blessing from the spirits they believe in.
The objections started by the small village members against the Shuars, Marcia adds. Some of the arguments used by the villagers against the Shuars included that they should go back to their former lands to the Eastern side of the country. Not only issues of identity and land were raised but also the villagers wanted to steal their houses, their land, they wanted to kill the Shuar’s family, Marcia says: “our kids running on the hills were in danger threatened to be killed.”
This conflict lasted for almost 10 years, it was considered as a fight, even a war, the approximate dates are 1972 to 1982. After the long dispute, the Shuars were able to keep their land, therefore they decided to set the boundaries of their land. Marcia adds:” the most important was that we won the battle and that we had our land and we were protected by law.” They efforts paid off when Shuars decided to protect themselves, the community was strongly unified, they decided to bring a lawyer to help them to inform them about their rights and how to be respected as a tribal indigenous minority and community land owner.
Marcia says that “unfortunately our innocence and our lack of value for money, nor the idea of how much the water sources could be worth, made our position extremely weak facing the Hispanics. We never thought that this hot water would have so much value, what could it be worth? I mean value for other Hispanic people, the value of the hot waters was value for money, we never thought that could be so valued. Before the conflict arrived and so the Hispanics, we were sharing all the waters with the local inhabitants of the area, we were bathing together, all neighbors were coming, there was no question about the site and the abundance of what was under our fit. Positively, we shared a lot, food, joy and events.”
After a while, the same issues we had with the local neighbors came back, they claimed that they wanted to get the lands we were in. They try to buy us with material things, unfortunately my uncle, who was the oldest of the family, was seduced by what they brought: meat, food, TV (we did not have TV), good things that could improve our lifestyle says Marcia. They even showed us what beds were, how a home could be according to their criteria. Our bed is called “Cuca.” Marcia explains that there was a powerful gentleman who came and offered all these comfortable and unaffordable things to their community, he offered many beautiful things, Marcia adds: “he even gave us electricity for free during 5 months, anything we would ask they would provide it.” The gentleman and his team offered some money to my uncle, when he visited him, he would always manage to get him drunk, he told my uncle that he was a millionaire. Therefore, the gent proposed my uncle to buy our land for a lot of money (that’s what he alleged Marcia says). The end of the story was: “he gave my uncle 300 dollars, a TV, a bed and many other things that you can wish to have in a home, my uncle seemed to be so satisfied with the deal.” The rest of the community did not accept anything from them, even my two brothers who were studying abroad, refused any kind of deals with the gentleman and his team. My brothers were less naïve than my uncle who did not know what the value of money was in this new world to him.
Moreover, my uncle decided to go for the deals alone and started selling “solares” (parcels of land), so he did, one after the other. When uncle had enough, he stopped and we were left with a tiny piece of land. My poor uncle after being trapped and ripped off, he was confused, he did not know what to do, to be with them, or to be with us. It was hard to make a decision for him as he was alone, had no wife no children, he even admitted that he did no longer care about our community land.
The rest of the family/tribe met for a tribal council and decided to take the lead and fight for what was left. The council team knew nothing about money, and the value of it, nor payment issues, at that time, but one thing the tribe council knew for sure was that we did not want to lose our land. Therefore, in order to protect what was left of our heritage based on thermal spring waters. In order to be financially more independent, we decided to set an entrance fee to anyone who would like to visit the site and bath in the pristine waters, thus we started with a minimum fee of 50 cents.
When the neighbors from the nearby village, “the ones who were ready to take our lands” “oh yes” exclaims Marcia, they heard that we were asking for an entrance fee, they were extremely outraged by our decision. We tried to explain that it was a way of protecting our assets and that it was a rule for anyone who would like to take benefit of staying in our community, bath and enjoy our medicinal water sources, had to pay. Marcia concludes: “Believe me, the pressure started to be quite high between us.”
The idea of making foreigners or any person external to the community to pay, came from Marcia’s husband who is Hispano (Hispanic), he suggested it to the community, and the tribal council accepted. At that time, we did not have any money to pay an attorney, the eldest brothers were going often to Quito to find out about our rights and trying to find an attorney who would help us to protect our heritage and keep it, was highly challenging with no money. Lawyers told us that we could not do much to win the battle against the local neighbors who wanted our lands with the current laws, however these statements did not stop us to pursue, and we finally started a case which lasted for years and recently two years ago (2016) we finally won the case.
After the neighbors’ defeat, they claimed back one of the “solares” they have bought for about 500 dollars to my uncle. We found out that my uncle never received any money, however, we thought that with this money he could have built a house, unfortunately he did not know what the value of money was representing, at that time, he was such an innocent man, Marcia adds.
Our case was on the national news, a journalist came, and a paper was published. We also had some visitors from a university in Guayaquil, they named our site “The hot spring waters of the Shuar’s community”, they came when we were in the middle of the conflict, they helped us by giving advice, sharing ideas, they told us that the hot spring waters were a treasure and that we had to protect it for Community-Based-Tourism development. These experts carried out some soil assessments to find out and show us all the water that could come out of the mountain. Marcia declares that Shuars community did not know the significance and value of the treasure they had, they were using the waters as a source to fulfill their private needs such as wash clothes, bathing, they did not even have built the pools. Marcia describes it as just a fall, a small waterfall that they were even drinking from and upmost enjoying the warmth temperature of the water. She pursues: “we did not value what we had and did not know what we had until the people from Guayaquil came and told us.” We also hosted some Canadians, they stayed with us for eight months, during the conflict period, they were respecting everyone, they helped us on environmental issues, including setting up the spaces to build the pools. Canadians also taught us how to protect our environment by managing our waste, collecting all the garbage that we had in our river. When we started collecting and cleaning, we were surprised by all the garbage and waste we had accumulated, as we never thought that we would have to collect our proper waste. They organized workshops for us to help us and train us about sustainable tourism practices. During the workshops, they showed us how to present ourselves, how to welcome tourist to our site, they taught us also how to separate the organic waste, and to recycle it. Canadians gave us a great example of protecting our lands and after when they left is when we really started taking care of our environment despite the fact that the local neighbors did not approve our new practices. We also received some help and advice with workshops from Guaya, which helped us a lot too. Only a few of us were able to attend and be assisted but we have been involved and caring more and more about our community and our precious waters adds proudly Marcia. This is how the site looks like today on a Saturday morning:
Marcia explains: nowadays, we do remain confident and stick to our goals, which are trying to improve our community’s tourism offer by working, even with such poor income, nevertheless we have tried to improve the situation and with no other external help. The major of the Naranjal community has been in power for 8 years now, and he claims to have helped “the Shuar community” by building a parking space in concrete for the visitors coming to the area. Unfortunately, our community has completely disagreed with this action which has destroyed the scenery of the location. However, whatever happens the entrance fee goes directly to our community, we are working and moving forward with new projects and one of them is to build another pool on the site.
We are currently seeking for an institution to help us. This touristic complex was formed first by the Shuar community enterprise and now it has been a year that our family has its proper official organization. Each family has named one leader who represents them as a member of our tribal corporation, we are a total of 10 tribal families. As per these changes, we have decided to take things further and move forward on our different projects.
Marcia represents her own family as the Tribal Family Chief. It is easier during the meetings to have only one family chiefs’ representative. She explains how they started with an entrance fee at 50 cents per person, then decided to reach one dollar, then after they reached 1.50 dollar. The entrance fee was also increased to 3 dollars, then when they saw that tourists were interested, and gradually they realized the great value of the site, hence that it was the only place nearby the coast of this country to offer such a resource with hot spring thermal waters. We were at 3 dollars fee for 10 years, since October 2018, we decided to increase the fee up to 4 dollars. We offer a service of medical and natural thermal waters to our visitors, we also offer drinks such as coffee, tea and water, we also offer beauty products for the skin made of our rich mud.
Marcia states: “My community, my family are saying that 4 dollars is too expensive, they say that people don’t come because of that. We know that there is a lot of competition, but what we offer is very unique.”
I would like to thank you my host Professor Jessica Lalangui for having introduced me to the Shuar community and made this interview possible.
The next step is to launch a fundraising campaign to help this community to build a museum in order to protect their cultural heritage and also make their site more attractive to tourism. Many pieces of their art have been kept by the entire community and they will be assembled for this project. By assisting this community, we are helping them to wide their vision into the future and show them also the existence of sustainable practices and products in tourism that they can apply to their site in order to ensure a prosperous future, making them independent and secured economically, financially and inclusively.
The outcome of this experiential and inclusive voyage is enabling me to partaking to a better future for this indigenous community. Hence hoping that this could be an example that any individual could be following in collaboration with Universities or institutions that are willing to support this type of actions.
Beatriz Perez-Soto, Guest Speaker for research projects Economic and Business Sciences Faculty
Department at Universidad Metropolitana UMET, sede de Machala, Ecuador
Pyeongchang Hosts its First Peace & Sustainable Development Forum and the Third Francophonie in Motion Hike
As Pyeongchang county is commemorating the first anniversary of the 2018 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, the timing seems just right to seat and think about the contribution of those Games to the host region, and particularly the socioeconomic development of local communities.
On March 30, 2019, one month after its Global Peace Forum 2019, PyeongChang city hosted its first Peace & Sustainable Development Forum at Woljeongsa temple, in partnership with the International Charity Foundation (ICF) and Millennium Destinations, under the theme “Peace, Sports and Sustainable Tourism”.
Commemorating the first anniversary of the 2018 PyeongChang, the biggest Olympics and Paralympics ever, the Forum was designed as a venue to discuss about the PyeongChang Olympic Legacy Development Plan and sustainable development through sports and tourism, as well as sharing experiences and cases of cities around the world with the participants,
The event started with welcoming remarks by Mr. HAN Wang-kee, Mayor of Pyeongchang and Amb. DHO Young-shim, Chairperson of ICF and UN SDGs Alumni, and a keynote speech of H.E. Mr. YOO Jin-ryong, Former Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism of the Republic of Korea. This was followed by questions and comments by the participants, and an active debate on how peace and prosperity could be promoted through sustainable cultural, sports and tourism experiences.
The Forum was attended by an international audience of over 100 participants from across the world, including the Ambassadors of Egypt, Lebanon and Romania to South Korea and representatives of the Dutch and Norwegian Embassies. Many issues were raised about the necessity to focus on quality over quantity and value over volume while avoiding the risk of overtourism, in order to preserve the unique culture of the local communities and their natural environment.
Catherine GERMIER-HAMEL, Founder & CEO of Millennium Destinations mentioned that most Western tourists were unlikely to travel long distances to practice winter sport activities in South Korea or even its neighbors. She added that PyeongChang should rather be branded as a mountain destination offering all-year-round activities, such as hiking and cycling, while emphasizing the distinctive assets of Korean mountains. 70% of the Korean land is covered by mountains, and many Korean Buddhist temples are located in mountains and are surrounded by beautiful forests, which make them the perfect places for spiritual retreats, and connection with nature, towards mind and body healing for example through templestays or forest therapy.
On the other hand, tourists from South East Asia might be attracted by an exotic combination of snowy landscapes and fun activities in South Korea during winter.
The event also included visits of Olympic facilities, as well as a Templestay program offered by Woljeongsa temple.
On March 31, all participants, together with the Mayor of Pyeongchang and local residents, joined the "Francophonie in Motion" hike, or Randonnée "Francophonie en Mouvement", on the Sunjae trail of Odaesan mountain, organized by Millennium Hikers. This event was part of the official program of the Fête de la Francophonie, an international celebration of French language through culture, sports, and business events. Fête de la francophonie has been celebrated annually in South Korea since 2009.
"My mountain is your mountain": created by Millennium Destinations, Millennium Hikers is a Seoul-based group of hikers / trekkers / walkers around the world who care about their social, environmental and economic impacts on destinations, while co-creating, promoting and sharing unique, community-based experiences between local hosts and their guests in mountain destinations.
Articles in the press (Korean)
As part of the annual celebration of "Fête de la Francophonie" in Korea, the French-Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry - FKCCI, hosted its "2019 Francophonie économique" seminar under the theme of "Sustainable Development and Climate Change".
The event was organized in partnership with the Institut français de Séoul, and the Cercle des entrepreneurs francophones en Corée (CEFC), and included presentations by the Ambassadors of Cambodia, France, and Rwanda in Korea, and representatives of the Embassy of Côte d'Ivoire, as well as companies and the Green Climate Fund.
Catherine GERMIER-HAMEL was invited as President of CEFC and Founder & CEO of Millennium Destinations to speak during Session 2 - Business focus. She introduced Millennium Destinations and its services and solutions in the field of sustainable tourism development and promotion, with a focus on French-speaking countries. She also mentioned the efforts of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie and the Institut de la Francophonie pour le développement durable, especially in developing countries and small island states.
Fête de la Francophonie
Organized in Korea for more than 10 years, the Fête de la Francophonie features more than 100 events in the areas of culture, sports, business, etc. promoting the French language and the cultural diversity of French-speaking countries. In 2018, more than 10,000 participants participated to share these many moments of conviviality and, according to the Observatoire de la langue française, nearly 40,000 students learn French in South Korea.
Created in 1970, the International Organisation of La Francophonie - OIF represents one of the biggest linguistic zones in the world, with a membership of 84 States and governments (including 26 observers) representing over one-third of the United Nations’ member states and a population of over 900 million people, including 300 million French speakers.
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!