By Catherine GERMIER-HAMEL
As a proud new member of Skal International, I had the privilege to introduce myself and Millennium Destinations to my dear Skaleagues in Seoul on the occasion of our monthly meeting in February, and to give a presentation on the upcoming 24th World Forum of the AMFORHT - World Association for Hospitality and tourism Education and Training, which will take place in Seoul, South Korea on May 19 to 22, 2020 (updated; postponed tp 2021).
For its first edition, the Forum will coincide not only with the prestigious Asian Leadership Conference (May 20 to 21) but also the Korea World Travel Fair & Seoul International Travel Industry Fair (May 21 to 24).
The meeting was also an opportunity to get an encouraging situation update on the COVID19 outbreak.
International Workshop in Cambodia Discusses Effective Measurement and Monitoring of Tourism Sustainability
By Catherine GERMIER-HAMEL - Siem Reap, Cambodia
The first Asia Workshop of the International Network of Sustainable Tourism Inventories - INSTO took place in November in Siem Reap, Kingdom of Cambodia.
The first Asia Workshop of the International Network of Sustainable Tourism Inventories - INSTO was successfully co-hosted on November 17 to 20, 2019 in Siem Reap, Cambodia, by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Minister of Tourism of Cambodia, in collaboration with the Monitoring Centre for UNWTO Sustainable Tourism Observatories (MCSTO).
I attended this highly inspiring and energizing event aimed at further advancing the dialogues among the established and potential observatories in Asia-Pacific region and strengthening knowledge about the regular monitoring of tourism at the local level, as the Founder & CEO of Millennium Destinations and delegate representing South Korea.
The workshop was targeted at:
Considering the continuous growth of tourism in the Asia and the Pacific region, it seems crucial to be able to collect and monitor the necessary relevant data to make sure that tourism is planned, managed and controlled.
As of today, there are 28 observatories in the world (including 9 in China), and the Kingdom of Cambodia expressed its intention to establish one Sustainable Observatory in Kompong Phluk in 2020. Japan and the Republic of Korea also expressed their interest in establishing observatories.
This was welcomed by Dr. Dirk Glaesser, Director of Sustainable Development of Tourism, and by Mr. Harry Hwang, Deputy Director of Regional Department for Asia and the Pacific.
The UNWTO International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories was created in 2004 with the main objective to support the continuous improvement of sustainability and resilience in the tourism sector through systematic, timely and regular monitoring of tourism performance and impact and to connect dedicated destinations in order to better understand destination-wide resource use and foster the responsible management of tourism.
On November 20, I took a field tour to Kampong Phluk Eco-tourism Community, located in Siem Reap province close to Tonle Sap Lake. The Kampong Phluk commune has 3,707 peoples (911 families).
Kampong Phluk Eco-Tourism Community was established on April 17, 2015. It covers 12,329 hectares in 3 villages and plays an important role to attract many national and international tourists.
GSTC Partners with Millennium Destinations for its 2019 Sustainable Tourism Training Program in Seoul, South Korea
The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) had its 2019 Sustainable Tourism Program in Seoul, South Korea on November 9 & 10, 2019 at the Seoul Global Startup Center.
This session was hosted in partnership with Millennium Destinations, with Catherine GERMIER-HAMEL as Lead Trainer and GSTC Director for Asia-Pacific Mihee KANG as co-Trainer, with the exceptional participation of GSTC CEO Randy DURBAND.
The training programme started with an introduction of GSTC and its four programs, as well as global trends in sustainable tourism, sustainability marketing, and sustainable tourism product development and management, followed by a detailed presentation of GSTC criteria for Industry and Destinations.
It also included presentations by Luis RIESTRA, General Manager of Crescendo Hotel about Planet21 initiative of Accor group and its actions in 2019, Lin HWANG, Founder & CEO of Damogo, a Seoul-based startup specialized in food waste reduction, and Louis HAAG, Co-Founder and CEO of HEROST, developed as a digital platform for co-creating, promoting and sharing sustainable, community-based travel experiences.
Through this interactive leaning journey, participants gained an in-depth understanding of the GSTC criteria as the global baseline standards for sustainability in travel and tourism, the roles of accreditation and certification in advancing the sustainability agenda in the tourism industry.
The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) manages the GSTC Criteria, the global baseline standards for sustainable travel and tourism; as well as acts as the international accreditation body for sustainable tourism certification.
On Dec. 4 to 7, 2019, the GSTC2019 Global Conference will bring together international and domestic tourism stakeholders involved in the development and promotion of sustainable tourism; including public sector, hotels, tour operators, academia, development agencies, NGOs, consultants, and more.
Given its beautiful sights and rich history, Japan is an ideal place to visit for adventurous millennials. There are certain highlights that every millennial must see, and no trip would be complete without any of the places listed below.
Harajuku is known worldwide as the centre of Japanese youth culture and fashion, with many of its streets lined with small, independent boutiques and cafés. You'll find yourself spoilt for choice as you browse the fashion boutiques, as well as Omotesando Hills – a large shopping centre home to over 100 shops. However, what makes Tokyo so incredible when it comes to shopping is its thrift-shopping culture. Despite being the land of technology, it's a mecca for hidden vintage outlets off the beaten tracks. In Harajuku, check out Kinji Used Clothing, a warehouse filled to the brim with incredible vintage items and categorised by both style and brand. If you're looking to become more sustainable, this is a great place to start.
The legendary Mount Fuji is the largest volcano in Japan, standing at 12,389 ft tall. Its spectacular core has made it a prominent feature in Japanese art and literature, and there are many ways for you to experience this magnificent sight – whether from a distance, or on the Fuji Visitor Center's observation deck. Travelling to the top can be an exciting adventure, with some trips around the mountain taking as long as 12 hours. It is quite cold at the top, so remember to pack layers.
The snow monkey – also known as the Japanese macaque – is a species native to Japan. They are famous for their red faces and their love for bathing in the hot springs. They are also noted as being an exceptionally intelligent species, quickly learning new skills such as eating and hunting. You'll need to venture out a bit to Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park in the Nagano Prefecture to see them, but it's well worth the visit.
Kyoto is home to a large collection of temples. Popular temples include Ryoan-ji, where you can sit in the zen stone garden and achieve a tranquil mindset, which is perfect for anyone who has difficulty attaining peace of mind. Kinkaku-ji – the Golden Pavilion – is one of the most scenic temples you could visit, especially if viewed from across the lake. And there's also To-ji, which is immersed in nature and full of beautiful gardens and majestic trees. Japan's 1600 temples will simply leave you spoilt for choice.
Hokkaido’s flower fields
Whenever millennials go anywhere, they are generally on the lookout for scenic sights to fill their Instagram pages. Some of the finest imagery can be found on the island of Hokkaido, which offers several beautiful flower fields. It's like looking out over a rainbow scattered over the land.
Shibuya Crossing, Tokyo
Another area that any millennial tourist should visit is the famous Shibuya crossing intersection in Tokyo. There’s so much life here, with a huge crowd of the city’s residents and visitors all milling together at once, making it a fascinating spot for photography.
Japan is an incredible country, with so much to explore. These scenic locations are almost guaranteed to offer you a transcendent experience, and will leave you yearning to come back to take in even more of this divine culture.
Don’t forget, though: it’s important to be a responsible tourist, and respect the locations you’re visiting – especially when they already receive huge numbers of visitors already. Part of the joy of travelling is finding hidden attractions off the beaten track (as well as the more obvious highlights like those above) so keep your eyes peeled for these hidden secrets on your travels. You never know what you might find out there.
As part of its efforts to promote ecotourism in Daebu island, Ansan city organized a fam tour for foreign residents in Korea on Oct. 26, 2019.
It can be sometimes challenging to promote a fragile and vulnerable ecosystem such as an island, when the least thing you want is to see it become a mass tourism destination. Nonetheless, sustainable tourism is definitely a powerful tool for local development and community empowerment, and a smart marketing strategy can help target and attract the right people: those who care and are equipped to co-create a sustainable, fair and responsible experiences with the locals.
Within the framework of its project to develop ecotourism in Daebudo (Daebu island), the tourism department of Ansan city, South Korea, organized a fam tour (familiarization tour) for foreign residents in South Korea on Oct. 26, 2019. Millennium Hikers, the international community of walkers and hikers founded by Millennium Destinations was invited to part of it.
Once called “the Hawaii of Ansan” and now dubbed “the Treasure Island”, Daebudo has been praised for its beautiful landscapes and has kept the appeal and characteristics of an island even if it is now linked to the Ansan mainland through the Sihwa seawall. With several thousand visitors per day day during peak season, Daebudo has indeed become a popular destination for Koreans, and particularly families or anyone looking for a beautiful, quiet and exotic escape. Many people, and particularly photographers, visit Daebudo and surrounding islands as top spots to watch the sunset. On the other hand, most visits to Daebudo usually do not last more than one day and the island does not seem to attract many foreign tourists or foreigners living in Korea, if we refer to the number of mentions on the Internet and in social networks.
Moreover, Daebudo has not been promoted as strongly as Ansan and/or is not perceived as an ecotourism or nature-based destination, even if Daebudo and Daesong wetland in Ansan have been designated as eco-tour zones by the Korean Ministry of Environment in 2014, together with Sanmakyi old trail and Lake Goesan in Goesan, Gasiyeon wetland and Lake Gyeongpo in Gangneung, Hyodon stream and Haryeli village in Seogwipo and Gochang dolmen.
According to researches, ecotourism is still considered a niche market but it has developed steadily over the past years. The market demand for ecotourism has been largely centered in the western world, mostly English-speaking countries, but more and more ecotourists are now coming from other regions such as the Asian Tigers.
For many ecotourists, the main motivation is the inherent quality of the landscape and wildlife of the destination, together with the opportunity to meet local people and experience cultural traditions and lifestyles. Many of them like to take photos and are even professional photographers. This is the case for more and more birdwatchers. Some ecotourists are looking for complementary activities such as hiking, cycling, etc.
In South Korea, outdoor and leisure / leports (leisure and sports) activities have become more and more popular. There are over 15 million regular hikers in South Korea and biking / cycling has developed recently. In general, a growing public interest in ecotourism has been reported in Korea.
Regarding Daebudo, it seems that tourism marketing efforts have been more focused on domestic visitors, and short term visits. Due to its characteristics, the island may compete with similar ecotourism destinations, in Korea or not, that are better known and/or or promoted, such as Suncheon Bay, which has become a renowned ecological tourism destination even among foreigners. Having said that, competition may become an opportunity if synergies and partnership can be created with those similar destinations.
The Ecotour in Daebu island designed by Ansan city included the following experiences:
Millennium Destinations provided its support to the project for the marketing and communication strategy and through arranging a diverse group of around 40 "Millennium Hikers", expats living in Korea and Koreans from different backgrounds (diplomats, professionals, professors, consultants, students, social media influencers, etc. ).
According to the results of the post-tour survey, all participants have been either very satisfied or satisfied with their experience in Daebu island, mudflat walking and interacting with the locals being their favorite activities. Conversely, foreign participants expressed their need for more information and interpretation in English (at least).
In any case, Ecotourism products in Daebudo should focus on protected areas as focal points. They should also intend to include experiences and activities that would contribute to reduce overcrowding and seasonality. Promotion activities should consider the carrying capacity of the island and should be carried out in concertation with the local residents.
Sustainable tourism may have become popular over the past years but what do we really know about it, and how to best achieve it?
If you want to be familiar with sustainable tourism and become an informed practitioner, join our upcoming 2019 GSTC Sustainable Tourism Training in Seoul!
This two-day training class is designed for travel, tourism and hospitality professionals interested in learning about sustainability good practices for businesses and destinations.
Through this interactive leaning journey you will gain an in-depth understanding of the GSTC Criteria as the global baseline standards for sustainability in travel and tourism, the roles of accreditation and certification in advancing the sustainability agenda in the tourism industry, as well as topics such as global trends in sustainable tourism, sustainability marketing, and sustainable tourism product development and management.
Ms. Catherine GERMIER-HAMEL, Millennium Destinations, Founder & CEO
Dr. Mihee KANG, GSTC, Director for Asia-Pacific
Hosted in partnership with Millennium Destinations, with the support of GreenBIM Engineering.
Information and registration here.
The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) is managing the GSTC Criteria, the global baseline standards for sustainable travel and tourism; as well as acting as the international accreditation body for sustainable tourism certification.
By Catherine GERMIER-HAMEL
Whereas France has been recently re-branded as a "startup nation", is there anything innovative, new and/or smart France can be proud of in the field of travel and tourism? And the answer is: absolutely (yes, I'm French)!
At least, this is what I intended to highlight during the 2nd OCOVA Forum in Asia hosted by the GSIPA - Gangneung Science & Industry Promotion Agency, on Oct. 16, 2019, under the theme of Tourism and the 4th Industrial Revolution.
In my presentation, I introduced French innovative inititiaves towards smart sustainable tourism, including France Tourisme Lab, the national network of incubators and accelerators in tourism, and tech for good initiatives that can be applied to tourism sectors.
As of today, 7 structures are part of France City Lab:
During the Forum, a partnership agreement was signed between GSIPA and Grand Sud Formation, a tourism high school based in Toulouse, France.
The Forum OCOVA has been organized annually since 2004 in Les Orres, a French ski resort located in the Hautes-Alpes department in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region. It has been providing a venue for networking and knowledge exchange on smart technologies and innovation, particularly in mountain areas. The Asian edition of the OCOVA Forum was launched in 2018 in Gangneung, South-Korea.
When it comes to promoting green inititiaves and eco-friendly behaviors, the grass should not be greener on the other side. The grass is actually greenest where it is properly watered, nurtured, and loved. This is why the Green Drinks Seoul's community is getting bigger and stronger than ever.
On September 10, 2019, Green Drinks Seoul hosted a networking event featuring a presentation by Christoph Heider, President of the European Chamber of Commerce in Korea (ECCK), titled "ECCK Going Green".
Christoph introduced ECCK, and reminded that the Chamber has mentored Green Drinks Seoul for one year before it can fly with its own wings.
He also presented other initiatives of the ECCK such as the ECCK Go Green Month campaign in September 2019, aimed at promoting 11 measures so that the Chamber becomes more sustainable as a service provider. Script of the speech here.
This move has spread among ECCK's employees, and is now inspiring Green Office campaigns led by ECCK member companies.
The event was also an opportunity to promote the upcoming campaign Anatomy of Action on September 15 to 30, 2019, a partnership project of UN Environment and the Unschool of Disruptive Design aimed at defining and communicating the most positively impactful actions anyone of us can take to add to the global movement around sustainable lifestyles to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Green Drink Seoul is a group of professionals from the public and private sectors involved / interested in environment, sustainable development, green growth and ecology. We organize regular events aimed at promoting inititiaves in Seoul towards the achievement of the sustainable development goals with a strong focus on SDG12: Sustainable Consumption and Production.
Green Drinks Seoul is supported by the ECCK, the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Korea, and the Cercle des Entrepreneurs Francophones en Corée.
Facebook Group: GreenDrinksSeoul
Green Drinks Seoul web page: www.greendrinks.org/Seoul
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to host / support a GDS event.
Guest post - written by Clayton Miller
Responsible tourism isn't just about jumping on a trend. It’s about being part of a crucial movement that minimises our carbon footprint, promotes eco-conscious awareness and helps us become mindful of adopting environmentally friendly habits. Responsible travel means choosing your destinations carefully, finding ways to support local communities, staying in hotels which advocate sustainability, picking restaurants with a strong focus on organic and local food, and travelling in a way that has as little impact on the environment as possible. Here are five ways you can be a more sustainable traveller.
1. Carry reusables
Bringing reusables when you travel may seem like a small step but the more we all participate, the chances are that big brands will start to wake up to the demand of less plastic packaging. With one in three millennials prepared to spend as much as £5k on a summer vacation, it's easy to think buying a few more bottles of water on your holiday and extra toiletries aren't going to add too much extra to the bill. But it's the cost on the environment that is the biggest concern, and reducing travel waste plays a big part. If you're camping or going self-catering bring canvas grocery bags for the farmers' markets. If you know you'll be drinking lots of water make sure to carry a reusable eco-friendly bottle. Use reusable bags if you're taking snacks on the airline and carry decanted toiletries in a reusable clear zippered pouch. Take it even further by bringing a fabric bag for dirty laundry.
2. Choose hotels that promote minimal impact
Make sure to do your research before booking a hotel. Big resorts and all-inclusive hotels are often owned by foreign companies that have little care for sustainability. But there are eco-friendly hotel portfolios out there doing their utmost to create a positive impact on the environment. Look around and you'll find luxury hotels which have a zero plastic policy, use renewable energy, build with local recycled or renewable materials, and have rainwater filter systems. Examples include the Bucuti & Tara Resort in Aruba which has become North America's first CarbonNeutral® resort hotel.
3. Support local communities
From avoiding imported foods flown into the county, to choosing hotels that source food from their own vegetable and herb gardens, there are many ways to support local communities when you travel. And it doesn't stop with dining. You can immerse yourself in local life by taking part in community volunteering projects, buying ethically made artisan gifts and clothes, and avoiding experiences where wildlife is put at risk or exploited. Making informed decisions about your carbon footprint is a critical step in travelling more sustainably.
4. Conserve water
Water is renewable so why do we need to conserve it? Pure and simple, it takes a lot of energy to pump and treat water and reducing your usage helps preserve the freshwater that fish and plant life thrive on. The best way to help minimise water usage is to choose hotels that use a rainwater filter system, take quicker less frequent showers, and be mindful of reusing towels instead of sending them over to housekeeping to be laundered every day.
5. Choose environmentally friendly activities
Leave no trace of waste and make sure your footprints are respectful to the environment. This can be anything from ditching the gas-guzzling taxis and choosing to cycle, swim or hike to using public transport instead of a private car from the airport to the hotel. Pick off-the-beaten-path destinations that haven't been over damaged by tourism, take part in eco-friendly sightseeing tours and use non-motorized boats such as traditional jukungs or kayaks.