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.
Sustainability in motion!
On the occasion of the 40th World Tourism Day, which took place this year under the theme of “Tourism and Rural Development”, Millennium Destinations organized a special hiking event in Bukhansan National Park, located in the north of Seoul, South Korea.
This international event was attended by a very diverse group of Millennium Hikers from Canada, Colombia, France, Korea, Morocco, Hungary and the US. It was organized in partnership with Decathlon Korea who offered mountain-related prizes to the participants.
Millennium Hikers is a global initiative promoting local development and community empowerment through responsible, intercultural hiking and walking experiences across the world. Millennium Hikers is also a Seoul-based international community of hikers and walkers committed to have a positive impact on people and the planet.
#tourism #travel #WorldTourismDay2020 #hikingdestinations #mountaintourism #montagne #randonnée #trekking #leports #outdoorleisure #등산 #sustainabletourism #travelandtourismm
By Catherine GERMIER-HAMEL, Founder & CEO of Millennium Destinations
As Korea is getting ready to host the XV World Forestry Congress in Seoul next year, I was invited to attend the 2nd Forest Interpretation Contest as Member of the Jury Panel.
When I relocated to Korea 15 years ago, I quickly realized how the country and its people were intrinsically connected to nature. Indeed, 75% of the country is covered by mountains, and even in the huge capital city of Seoul, they are an ubiquitous part of the landscape. Moreover, Korea has been praised for its succesful nationwide regreening and reforestation after decades of timber exploitation and intensive use of firewood. In 1946, after being freed from the Japanese colonial rule, the first Arbor Day was proclaimed and it soon became synonyous with tree-planting. Since then, many successful efforts have been carried out to reforest Korea and make it green again.
On Aug. 28, 2020, the Korea Forest Service, an independent agency overseen by the Korean Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and the Forest Interpreters Association of Korea co-hosted the 2nd Forest Interpretation Contest. They event took place at aT Center, close to Yangjae Citizen's Forest in the South of Seoul.
The yearly competition was launched in order to make forest Interpretation accessible to English-speaking foreigners and facilitate the dissemination of the Korean experience in reforestation overseas. It is open to professional forest education professionals as well as any ordinary people, whether they are Koreans or foreigners.
Nine candidates have been selected to present their works and were assessed by a panel of four judges, based on criteria such as the relevance, accuracy and interest of the contents. The program also included a lecture. The four winners will be invited to participate in the XV World Forestry Congress in May next year, and will have an opportunity to demonstrate their abilities by guiding foreign delegates during field trips organized during the Congress.
The programme also included a special lecture on the internationally acclaimed Korean model of reforestation.
In his speech, Dr. KO Kiyeon, Director of International Cooperation of the Forest Service, in charge of the organization of the World Forestry Congress General Assembly, invited talented people having an interest in forests and fluent in foreign languages to pay attention to this contest held every year.
As the world's largest gathering of the global forestry community, the World Forestry Congress (WFC) is held every six years. It is organized by a selected host country with the support and co-sponsorship of the Food and Agriculture Organization. The Congress welcomes thousands of delegates and serves as a forum for governments, universities, civil society and the private sector to exchange views and experiences and to formulate recommendations for implementation at national, regional and global levels.
The next WFC will be held in South Korea from 24 to 28 May 2021, to emphasize the role of forests in the context of the Global Forest Goals, Paris Agreement, Post-2020 global biodiversity framework and the 2030 Agenda, identifying key measures and enriching the prospective future of forests as the forest sector adjusts to the post-COVID-19 developments.
A knot tied in the rain never comes undone.
On Aug. 22, 2020, while monsoon rain was pouring outside Starfield Shopping Mall in Goyang City, located 17km away from Seoul, Pierre Lebrun, Store Manager of Decathlon Korea and Catherine GERMIER-HAMEL, Founder and CEO of Millennium Destinations signed a promising partnership agreement.
Through this agreement, the two organizations will join hands (and feet) for the preparation, implementation, and promotion of events and projects in South Korea aimed at promoting responsible hiking, trekking and walking, particularly though the Millennium Hikers' community of Hikers Who Care.
Whereas hiking has long been a hugely popular activity in Korea for older generations in a country with 75% of its land covered by mountains, hiking trails have been recently invaded by Millennials who have become hooked on hiking amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and are craving for safe exercise, fresh air, great food on the top and instagramable scenic views.
#itinerance #francaisaletranger #frenchconnection #entreprendreencoree #entreprendrealetranger #sportstourism #outdoor #sustainabilityinaction #franceencoree #millenniumhikers #montagne #mountaintourism #outdoorsports #loisirs #sports4development
Guest article - written by: Shinobu HAYAMA
We often talk about the impact of traveling on the planet. About its environment and wildlife. It is fairly visible. It is quite measurable.
Sometimes even more manageable, maybe because they don’t have a voice in the language that we know. And yes, it is extremely important.
But, so often, we forget about its people.
That is not a surprise because it sometimes feels more complex. Humans by nature, have a tendency to want to address issues like that another day.
But the truth is, ecology is just one leg of a three-legged stool, and sustainability is equally about our society and economy — it is “the balance” of this interconnected ecosystem.
So when we try to be sustainable by focusing on being green and doing the equation without the people, in fact, it becomes an unachievable goal. Just as much as we depend on our environment, our humanity is a necessity for us to share a healthy planet.
Beyond “Us” and “Them”
So what does that actually mean? It might seem like a big question to address, but to take it step by step, today, perhaps we can start off with simple questions such as “who’s making the food on our table?”
Sure, they may be organic and made with fewer chemicals, but sometimes, the people harvesting them — although we don’t like to imagine — may have had to work under inhumane labor conditions and unfair wages on the other side of the world.
Why? Because for so long, our society has asked to buy more “quantity” of the same for “cheaper” prices, and businesses try to create in mass — in the name of efficiency, cheapening people to do so. Even taking that one vegetable on your plate, there might be a story of unbalance behind the scenes.
And sustainability is also not just about issues more common in developing countries, but all across the world — even the more developed countries.
Let’s take the example of Japan. It’s interesting that the nation draws quite some positive attention for a unique culture, nature and some of the most advanced technology. But what we don’t hear about is, at the same time, 896 towns and villages are estimated to disappear by 2040 — that’s about half the number of today.
Why? Depopulation and aging population play a large part, but the “overconcentration” in cities, where jobs and schools are flocked also create such a phenomenon. Often the rural villages have a heavy weight on the older population continuing on with their farming, fishing or other primary industry, and the younger population in search of more diversified jobs flowing outside — sometimes never to return. This is not a case singular to Japan, and similar situations exist in other countries.
For instance, let’s visit a remote chain of islands in the southern Kyushu Region of Japan, the Amami Archipelago. The five islands are gifted with a bounty of the ocean and mountains — colorful coral of 220 species, endemic species and wildlife, and small village communities called “shuraku” exist there — home to some of the longest living people in the world as recorded in the Guinness Book of Records. These people carry some of the oldest cultures of Japan, passed down over generations and still live today, including the “island dialect” language recognized as almost extinct in the UNESCO. As much as it is such a beautiful place, the population is decreasing yearly, and some shurakus consist of only one household (one of the islands have only one traffic light in the entire island!). In terms of travel, the area is often undiscovered as a destination, even domestically.
These communities are gradually vanishing. With unpredictable changes happening all over the globe now, it could happen to yours as well, for reasons beyond our imagination.
The Power of “Exchange”
So how might we bring back the liveliness, people and industries? How might we preserve cultural heritage? And all of this in a way that respects the destination’s carrying capacity and innate assets (i.e. not constructing more or newer shopping malls by destroying its nature) — vitalization in a sustainable way. And we believe that people from the outside can also play a unique positive role — if we do it the healthy way.Here, warm islanders welcome guests to join their life as it is. Through appreciating the vast nature together, or joining their weekly practices for their traditional dances and songs with their almost extinct language and cultural heritage, towards their annual summer festival where they heat up and dance away until dawn (“Hachigatsu-odori”, praying for a bountiful harvest). For the islanders, these traditional arts are largely their “Ikigai”, or reason for being in Japanese (of course, together with enjoying the brown sugar distilled liquor “Kokuto-jochu” made from local sugar canes!) — many say that this is what creates their strong sense of community, which is one of the secrets to their extraordinary longevity and wellness.
"It is hard to imagine our long-living traditions and language are bound to disappear sometime. But through receiving guests, we realized that this is the time we get to share them — and seeing their joyful faces makes us happy. It brings us a sense of pride, realizing that our culture, something ordinary for us, could be something special for others. It helps us preserve our cultural heritage. We can not host a group of 100 tourists for a luxurious tour, but we can share our simple life with nature, creating true connections with each traveler — hoping they might come back 100 times.”
When you travel somewhere, instead of flocking to photograph some crowded monuments, why not visit these destinations where you can touch real lives? Meet these local communities. Sing their songs. Share the sunset over their local liquor (if you drink!) together. They have stories to share and welcome the beauty of exchange.
Our Common Heritage
And if this kind of slow travel gently brings back a sustainable livelihood and local industry, then, their young people might, in fact, decide to stay there, weaving creative jobs, lives and a new circular economy — sustaining a precious destination, its knowledge, and ideas which are all indeed a common asset and heritage for our earth.
Share and learn something from each other, new perspectives or ways of coexisting with nature, or ways to recover from a crisis or disaster. These may certainly contribute to your home-ground when you return.
Yes, you might think twice if you think about the pollution flying may cause — but it is worth thinking thrice about the communities and humanity that may be enhanced — friendships and knowledge created towards global solidarity.
How can we live caring not only for the environment but the people that we depend on? How can we create a resilient world where we can help each other in times of adversity, beyond borders?
You can make your traveling footprints worthwhile. The three legs of the stool hold together one ecosystem — let’s try to strengthen each one before we lose balance forever.
Who we owe is not the bank, but our common future.
About Shinobu HAYAMA, Founder & CEO of Journey for Change and co-Founder of Herost
Sustainable development through intercultural exchange has been a part of Shinobu’s heart and professional life for almost a decade. She has extensive experience consulting and designing travel and learning for sustainability, bridging Japan and overseas. With a significant focus on resilience and revitalization of regions in Japan after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, projects extend cross-sector, across companies, academic institutions, government entities, industries including tourism, fishery, agriculture and communities.