Hooked on Hiking
Who does not like hiking ? Don't answer "me", we know what you did last summer (or even last weekend)!
That's a fact, the past years have seen a growing (or renewed) interest in outdoor activities across the world. Interestingly, the younger generations, and particularly Millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996) seem to drive this trend.
For example in Korea, where 70% of the land is covered with mountains, hiking has long been part of the culture and the national identity. Every weekend, almost all year round, the country's numerous trails have been crowded by millions of avid hikers, mostly in their 40s or 50s. However, young Koreans have traditionally not shared the same appetite as they basically viewed hiking as a social and professional obligation and therefore a chore.
The situation changed when hiking became a popular Instagrammable experience and "outdoor" became synonymous with "escape" and "relief" in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. This recent fondness is not specific to Korea and in many countries, hiking is hip, as well as biking, camping, etc.
We can only praise the increasing popularity of outdoor recreational activities due to their many benefits for the mind and body. However, we should keep in mind that they may also have negative impacts on the local populations and environments if not properly supervised and controlled. Indeed, massive flows of hikers can not only be detrimental for the flora and fauna but also be a source of disturbance for the locals who may not be prepared to welcome crowds during off-peak season. On the other hand, hiking can be an engaging tool to promote responsible behaviors and sustainable practices.
Millennium Hikers promoting Inclusiveness
On October 3rd, 2021, Millennium Destinations organized a special hiking event in Dobong mountain (aka Dobongsan), located in the northeastern section of Bukhansan National Park in Seoul, South Korea.
This international event was aimed at celebrating the 2021 World Tourism Day and 개천절 (Gaecheonjeol), the National Foundation Day of Korea.
This year, WTD's theme was "Tourism for Inclusive Growth" and this hike put it into practice through making sure no one was left behind (unless they wished it).
The hike gathered a very diverse group of Millennium Hikers from Canada, China, Colombia, France, Germany, Korea, Morocco, Vietnam and the US.
#tourism #travel #2021WorldTourismDay #WTD #hikingdestinations #mountaintourism#montagne #randonnée #trekking #leports #outdoorleisure #등산 #sustainabletourism #travelandtourismm
Sustainability in motion
Millennium Hikers is a global initiative promoting local sustainable development and community empowerment through responsible, intercultural outdoor experiences such as hiking and walking, in a wide variety of environments.
Millennium Hikers is also an international community of hikers and walkers committed to have a positive impact on people and the planet.
In 2021, Millennium Hikers was registered as a French association (loi 1901).
Millennium Hikers is a project of the One Planet Sustainable Tourism Programme, a multi-stakeholder partnership that promotes knowledge sharing and networking opportunities to better implement sustainable consumption and production in the tourism sector.
Would you like us to organize YOUR Millennium Hikers event?
Has the COVID pandemic created new opportunities for the global wine tourism?
In spite of a slight decrease in 2020 (-2.8%), the worldwide wine consumption is expected to bounce back this year. In South Korea, ranked as the second most attractive wine market in the world, wine imports hit a new high, especially due to increased home and solo consumption. Indeed, the Korean wine market is still growing and maturing, mostly driven by women and young drinkers.
Since her arrival in Seoul in 2005, Catherine GERMIER, Founder & CEO of Millennium Destinations, has been active in promoting wine knowledge and appreciation in Korea through a variety of events and initiatives such as Wine & Women Korea. More recently, she has been been active in fostering wine tourism as a tool for rural development and community empowerment, especially through the Herost online platform featuring eco-friendly travel experiences that are good for People and the Planet.
Since April 2021, Millennium Destinations has been partnering with C&Y, a French company supporting independent winemakers in their marketing efforts towards Asian markets and particularly South Korea as pilot country, either under the UniK Wines brand or individually.
In August 2021, Catherine GERMIER and Charlène COURTAT, Cofounder & CEO of C&Y, undertook a field trip to French wine-producing regions such as Alsace, Champagne, Roussillon, etc. in order to meet winemakers and wine professionals willing to explore the potential of the Korean market.
As a continuation, Millennium Destinations provided its support to C&Y for the organization of its first mission in Seoul, on September 27 to October 4.
Since 2019, Catherine GERMIER has been working with public and private organizations and professionals involved in trade and tourism for the identification of eco-friendly wine tourism experiences to be featured in the Herost platform, with a focus on Colombia, the Czech Republic, France, Portugal, Spain, etc. but also less-known yet promising winemaking countries such as South Korea.
Since July 2021, Millennium has provided its support to the Czech Tourism Office in Seoul for the development of a sustainable tourism strategy and the design of pilot sustainable tourism products in the Czech Republic, dedicated to the Korean market. This products will highlight rural tourism & agritourism experiences such as farm stays and visits of wineries and breweries.
During her visit to the Seoul International Wines & Spirits Expo 2021, Catherine had a chance to notice how wineries have progressed in Korea, as a result of significant R&D efforts aimed at improving winemaking techniques and introducing new grape varieties.
Additionally, Catherine attended (online) the 5th UNWTO Global Conference on Wine Tourism which took place on Sept. 9 & 10, in Alentejo, Portugal, under the theme ‘Wine Tourism – a driver for rural development’.
On June 18, she had joined a seminar on eco-friendly wine tourism (Œnotourisme et développement durable : l'éco-œnotourisme est-il possible ?) hosted by the Ecole Supérieur d'Agriculture d'Angers (ESA - Higher School of Agriculture of Angers) in France.
Millennium Destinations is an accredited operator of the Chèque Relance Export program providing technical and financial support to French SMEs in their efforts to develop their businesses overseas.
Check more here: https://lnkd.in/gKJRy8eK and feel free to contact us if you have any plan to expand your wine-related activities in Korea.
Written by: Anneleen Debruyckere, Herost Global Youth Ambassador
Scandinavia championing sustainable tourism
In a recent study by Euromonitor, titled “Embracing a Green Transformation for Travel Recovery” and looking at 99 countries, Sweden came out on top for sustainable tourism in 2020. The top 20 in the ranking is made up of only European countries.
In Scandinavia, 65% of travel businesses have reportedly implemented a sustainability strategy. This makes it the most environmentally aware and engaged region in the world, with Sweden, Finland and Norway standing proudly at place one, two and five in the ranking. Sweden has initiated specialized research to better understand consumer behavior and consumption patterns. This way, they intent to create more value-driven businesses, rather than sustaining the current volume and profit based model.
It is no coincidence that Sweden tops Euromonitor's list this year. The country has quickly understood the importance of dealing with climate change and is highly committed to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. It is for example the originating country of Flygskam ‘flight shame’, which is a movement criticizing our air-travel consumption, thereby encouraging rail transportation and domestic travel. There has been a visible decline in flight passengers the past few years, and the phenomenon is gaining more supporters in Europe.
Sweden aims to reestablish their tourism industry in a more sustainable and resilient way post-COVID pandemic. The country promotes rural and regional tourism, expanding the national railway network to provide an alternative form of transportation besides flying. The government stimulates digital green transformation for businesses, and it aims to become a zero emission-country by 2045.
These are the top 20 countries for sustainable tourism, as researched by Euromonitor:
1.Sweden - 2.Finland - 3.Austria - 4.Estonia - 5.Norway
6.Slovakia - 7.Iceland - 8.Latvia - 9.France - 10.Slovenia
11.Switzerland - 12.Lithuania - 13.Croatia - 14.Czech Republic - 15.Ireland
16.Germany - 17.Belgium - 18.Denmark - 19.Netherlands - 20.Portugal
Sustainability is broader than environmental issues
hen we hear the word ‘sustainability’, we often think about the environment, e.g. the impact we have on the planet. However, sustainability is way broader than that! The final ranking was drawn up based on seven pillars on which each country was evaluated. Those pillars are the following:
Another area often overlooked is economic sustainability. This is for example about how dependent an area or a country is on tourism. If it is overly dependent, it might be very vulnerable to external factors such as natural disasters or geopolitics. As a result, a sudden decrease in tourism will put the most vulnerable stakeholders at risk, such as local communities and small businesses.
Also, it is not always easy to find the right balance between mass tourism and niche tourism. Too many tourists might be overwhelming but too little tourists might not be enough to support the destination. A solution for this would be value creation, which means that the product will be designed around local specialties instead of being volume-driven. As a result, the majority of the tourist’s spending goes directly to local businesses.
In terms of transport, sustainable transport doesn’t necessarily implies the absence of air transport, but it definitely concerns the moderation of it and the offer of alternatives. Both domestically as internationally, a country shouldn’t be too dependent on flying, even though overall, it is the cheapest option for travelers. Of all possible transportation methods, flying and individual road travel accounts for the most damage to the planet in the form of carbon dioxide.
‘Sustainable lodging’ concerns every accommodation type in terms of energy usage, water consumption and carbon footprint. Carbon footprint is not something many guests consider when choosing their hotel. However, the difference between lodgings can be huge. Full service hotels in Hong Kong emit over 270 kg CO2e, compared to 17kg in Iceland. Euromonitor’s research also points out that a bigger variety of accommodation types will make the sector more resilient in a crisis. It is not all about the numbers though. Employing people in the area, using local products or participating in regional initiatives are other ways to be a sustainable company.
The COVID pandemic, an opportunity to rethink tourism
Little by little, the world will reopen for travelers worldwide. However, due to the different COVID spread and vaccination stages in which countries find themselves, global travel will probably not go back to ‘normal’ just like that. It is unlikely that mass traveling is to resume in 2021, and even 2022 might be too early. Since maximizing volume is currently not an option, many businesses will have to find another way to attract customers and make enough revenue.
Environmental and social awareness among customers and companies is increasing. Chasing volume is still more common, but many businesses switch to a greener way of operation. Although going green might be seen as an altruistic move, it certainly has its perks in other fields as well. A survey issued by Euromonitor in January 2021 tells us that 66.4% of the respondents wants to have a positive impact on the environment through their daily actions in 2021.
The current pandemic has forced us to look at our travel habits with a critical look. It becomes more and more clear that prioritizing people and planet over profit and quantity will be essential to ensure a future for the travel industry. Businesses should aim to accomplish a high value product on the long run, rather than short term volume. Since this is a break in the tourism industry, many think it is time to ‘build back better’, to rethink the idea behind tourism and create a more mindful industry.
Traveling is not only about the traveler, it is also, and maybe primarily, about the destination and its inhabitants. We should get used to the idea that sustainability can increase the travel experience, instead of limiting it. As the pandemic has highlighted, the world is still unequally divided. Low-income workers were especially prone to lose their job and fall into poverty; small stakeholders are often deprived of their fair share of the profit. A sustainable tourism model ensures a resilient and adaptable industry, one that caters for all stakeholders.
Would like to feature your destination's sustainability in Millennium Destinations and/or Herost?
Within the framework of its activities aimed at promoting sustainable tourism in Colombia, Millennium Destinations attended the Colombia Travel Mart 2021.
Following its fruitful participation in the Colombia Nature Mart 2020, Millennium Destinations attended the Colombia Travel Mart (CTM) as buyer from South Korea. The event was co-hoted by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Tourism and ProColombia, and took place virtually on April 28 to May 4, 2021.
This year, the largest tourism event in Colombia involved 162 Colombian companies and 315 travel businesses from 35 countries, including several from Asia.
Catherine GERMIER-HAMEL, Founder & CEO of Millennium Destinations, was invited by the Seoul office of ProColombia to participate in the business matchmaking forum on May 3 to 5. She had meetings with representatives of 15 businesses and NGOs offering a variety of tourism-related services and experiences across Colombia.
This was an opportunity to introduce the Herost platform, developed by Millennium Destinations as an online travel guide and toolkit promoting tourism experiences that have a positive impact on the local communities and their environments. As of today, almost 40 experiences in Colombia have been listed in Herost.
Sustainable tourism development is a national priority for the second most biodiverse country in the world where many initiatives have benefitted indigenous communities.
"We are committed to the recovery of tourism, and this business forum was the opportunity to strengthen our offer in countries where Colombia is beginning to have a presence, but also in distant markets. We have 18 participants from Asia, for example," said ProColombia president Flavia Santoro.
"We identify interest from companies in these destinations that have seen how Colombia has prepared itself for the current situation and how we are offering high-quality, sustainable, and reliable experiences," she added.
About 40 percent of the countries participating in the business forum included the United States, Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, and Argentina, which are priority destinations for Colombia’s promotion, in addition to markets such as India, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, and China, which are part of Colombia’s commitment to diversify its offer.
Millennium Destinations and Corée Voyage signed an MoU for the joint promotion of sustainable tourism and ecotourism in South Korea for the French-speaking markets.
Promotion of Korea to French-speaking Travellers
Both established in Seoul, South Korea, and led by French CEOs, Corée Voyage, a Destination Management Company (DMC) organizing, implementing and selling events, activities and tours in Korea, and Millennium Destinations, an impact company specialized in sustainable tourism development, management and marketing, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to mutually promote sustainable tourism and ecotourism in Korea.
In particular, the two companies will jointly design, develop and operate value-added ecotourism experiences and products directed to Corée Voyage's core targets, the French-speaking travellers in Korea and overseas.
This partnership not only intends to highlight the remarkable yet underrated natural and cultural assets of Korea but also build on the growing interest for outdoor, nature-based activities as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, the partners will put a special emphasis on the benefits for the local communities.
Korea Promoting the Sustainable Development Goals
Although South Korea may not be strongly associated with sustainable tourism and ecotourism, the fourth Asian economy has been actively involved in several sustainable development initiatives over the past decades. The capital city Seoul is hosting several international NGOs and intergovernmental organizations such as the Global Green Growth Institute, the Green Climate Fund, the Global Social Economy Forum, just to name a few.
Last year, the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) established its Asia-Pacific office in Seoul. On November 9 & 10, 2019, Felix KONG, Founder & CEO of Corée Voyage attended the GSTC Sustainable Tourism Training Programme in Seoul, hosted by Millennium Destinations. He received a Certificate in Sustainable Tourism after successfully completing the official exam.
This 2-day training program was an opportunity to explore GSTC's sets of criteria for destinations and businesses such as hotels and tour operators. It included presentations by Randy DURBAND, CEO of GSTC, Dr. Mihee KANG, Director of the GSTC Asia-Pacific Office, Catherine GERMIER-HAMEL as GSTC Trainer.
Sustainability and Francophonie in Motion
In 2015 and 2016, Corée Voyage and Millennium Destinations collaborated within the framework of the France-Korea Year celebrating the 130th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Together, they designed an international, cross-cultural ecotour aimed at encouraging responsible hiking and trekking while promoting French and Korean mountain destinations.
This project led to the organization of a special hiking event in March 2016 during the Francophonie Week in Seoul, followed by the launch of the Millennium Hikers initiative by Millennium Destinations.
Since then, several Millennium Hikers events took place in Korea, together with public and private partners, including the Institut Français de Séoul (Seoul French Institute) and Decathlon Korea.
In December last year, Catherine GERMIER was invited by Corée Voyage to talk about sustainable tourism for its podcast in French Corée Voyage Show.
For many of us, 2020 has been a challenging, off-the-beaten-path hike that left us short of breath and deprived of liberty, certainty and predictability.
At the same time, this special year brought us to new heights and offered us different perspectives on our purpose in life as well as opportunities to reconnect with ourselves and our environments.
Most important, it (partially) relieved us from the comfortable yet dangerous illusion that unsustainability has a future.
The adventure is not over (will it ever be?) but whatever your journey, your destination and your situation, you can rest assured that we will be there for YOU.
Together, we can co-create the world we want through promoting positive places, experiences and practices. Join us to make it happen.
We wish you all an exciting, energizing and healing New Year 2021. Fighting!
Millennium Hikers, international community of hikers who care
Herost, sustainable travel guide and index
AMFORHT had its 2020 General Assembly on Dec. 15, 2020, at ESHRA in Algeria.
Catherine GERMIER, Founder & CEO of Millennium Destinations attended the 2020 General Assembly of the World Association for Tourism & Hospitality Education and Training - AMFORHT, as AMFORHT Country Delegate for South Korea.
The General Assembly was hosted by the Ecole Supérieure d'Hôtellerie et de Restauration d'Alger - ESHRA, with the participation of Ministers and leading personalities from the hospitality and tourism world in Algeria. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was attended virtually by AMFORHT Members.
The 24th AMFORHT World Forum in Seoul, Korea was announced during the General Assembly. Initially planned in May 2020, the World Forum will tentatively take place in April or October 2021. It will be co-organized by Millennium Destinations.
As part of the development of its activities in Latin America, Millennium Destinations took part in the Colombia Nature Travel Mart 2020 and had a series of promising matchmaking meetings with local travel businesses.
The 8th edition of the Colombia Nature Travel Mart was held virtually on Nov. 17 to 20, 2020. It was organized by the Government of Colombia at the head of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism and ProColombia, with the support of FONTUR, the National Tourism Fund of Colombia.
Against this background, ProColombia's office in Korea invited Millennium Destinations to participate in the Macrorrueda Colombia Travel Mart (CTM) 2020 as a Seoul-based impact company specialized in business services and solutions for sustainable tourism development and marketing.
From Nov. 18 to 20, Catherine GERMIER-HAMEL, Founder & CEO of Millennium Destinations met a dozen of Colombian travel businesses, including eco-friendly accommodation providers such as eco-lodges, eco-resorts, glampings, etc. as well as travel agencies, tour operators, hosts of nature-based experiences including bird watching, whale watching, hiking / trekking, etc.
She took this opportunity to introduce the two flagship solutions of Millennium Destinations: Herost, online travel guide and index promoting sustainable destinations, experiences and practices, and Millennium Hikers, global initiative using hiking, walking and outdoor activities as tools for local development and community empowerment. Following those promising discussions, some offerings have already been listed in the Herost platform which has selected Colombia has pilot country.
Sustainable Tourism in Colombia
Whereas sustainable tourism has become a top priority for Colombia, nature tourism has been been developed as a key activity to reactivate the economy. It now stands as the segment with the greatest potential in the country that has the second highest level of biodiversity in the world, after Brazil. "The new tourism points towards responsible nature trips that are respectful of destinations, and that is precisely the offer that Colombian entrepreneurs are going to show international companies in this macro-round,” explained Flavia Santoro, ProColombia President.
The overseas markets that participated in this 2020 edition were Argentina, Belgium, Canada, the Dominican Republic, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, South Korea, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States. And the participating Colombian departments were Cundinamarca, Valle del Cauca, Bolívar, Antioquia, Risaralda, Caldas, Magdalena, Quindío, Santander, Nariño, Casanare, Putumayo, Chocó, Atlántico, Meta, Tolima, Amazonas, Huila and La Guajira.
On Dec. 3, 2020, Catherine attended a lecture on the National Park of Chiribiquete by Carlos Castaño Uribe, hosted by the Colombian Embassy in Korea.
Tourism in Colombia
Colombia's National Sustainable Tourism Policy (in Spanish)
On Nov. 11, 2020, eminent representatives of the global tourism community gathered online and shared valuable insights during a forum co-hosted by the World Association for Tourism & Hospitality Training and Education - AMFORHT and the Korean daily newspaper Chosun Ilbo.
Whereas the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the global travel and tourism industry very hard, and especially the MICE (Meeting Incentives Conventions and Exhibition) segment, the 2020 Asian Leadership Conference - ALC exceptionally took place online, on November 11. This 11th edition of the flagship annual event hosted by the Chosun Ilbo was initially planned in Seoul in May 2020, in commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the leading Korean daily newspaper.
Over the past years, the ALC program has included a special track dedicated to tourism. This year, the Chosun Ilbo invited the World Association for Tourism & Hospitality Training and Education - AMFORHT to hold a special webinar on "Practical Solutions for Travel & Tourism in Post-COVID-19 Era". This was also an opportunity for AMFORHT to announce its upcoming 24th World Forum, initially scheduled in May 2020 Seoul during ALC.
Moderated by Philippe FRANCOIS, AMFORHT President, and Young-Shim DHO, Chairperson of UN SDGs Advocates Alumni Group and Former Chairperson of UNWTO’s ST-EP Foundation, the webinar gathered a diverse panel of leaders of the global travel and tourism industry, including:
As the issues of employment and training are high on all agendas, the webinar focused on delivering a message of hope and solidarity to all people who have contributed to the success and health of the travel and tourism industry over the past decades.
In his welcoming address, PARK Yang-woo, Minister of Sports, Culture and Tourism, Republic of Korea, mentioned that: “In order to have sustainable tourism, the technology must be kept active so we can adapt to the new realities, and we have to have a strong support for the tourism industry."
“Keeping abreast with this trend, our Ministry has actively adapted the new technologies, especially the adaption of the new technology and the digital technologists who will secure the safety of passengers and at the same time develop pleasures for the tourists to enjoy. By developing a lot of interesting contents, the Ministry will continue to keep pace with the global changes so that the tourism industry can take leadership in the post-COVID world."
“Crisis can be turned into an opportunity for progress and innovation, and in a sense, I believe that the Asian Leadership Conference will also give us a guiding light for us to move.
The organization of the webinar was coordinated by Catherine GERMIER-HAMEL, Founder & CEO of Millennium Destinations, AMFORHT Delegate for Korea and Secretary-General of the Organizing Committee of the 24th AMFORHT World Forum in 2021.
Concurrently, the Seoul International Travel Industry Fair - SITIF took place offline on Nov. 9 to 12 at SETEC Convention Center with a reduced participation of 140 exhibitors from 37 countries compared to the previous years, while it was decided to hold the Seoul International Travel Mart - SITM online, on Nov. 6 to 27.
On Nov. 10, 2020, Skål International Seoul elected its 2021 Board at its Annual General Meeting.
The Members of the new Board are:
As the first French woman holding a position in the Skål International Seoul Board, Catherine GERMIER-HAMEL took this opportunity to praise Kamala HARRIS who made history as the first female, first black and first Asian-American US vice-president-elect.
Headquartered in Spain, Skål International is the world's largest global network of Tourism Professionals promoting Tourism, Business and Friendship worldwide since 1934. Its members are Directors and Executives of the Travel, Tourism and Hospitality sectors. As of today, Skål International in present in 101 countries and has more than 13,500 members.
The SKÅL International Seoul club was established in 1969 and has been the most prestigious and dynamic travel and tourism club in Korea.
On Nov. 11, 2020, the CEO of Skål International, Ms. Daniela OTERO, participated in a webinar on "Practical Solutions for Travel & Tourism in Post-COVID-19 Era" co-hosted by the World Association for Tourism & Hospitality Training and Education - AMFORHT and the Chosun Ilbo, the Korean leading daily newspaper, during the 11th Asian Leadership Conference.