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.
As part of its activities in the field of Community-Based Tourism (CBT), Millennium Destinations became a Partner Member of the Countrystyle Community Tourism Network - Villages as Businesses.
Launched over 35 years ago in Jamaica, the Countrystyle Community Tourism Network (CCTN) has developed positive relationships with a large network of local communities willing to play an active role in community tourism development.
CCTN has been offering tailor-made community vacations, community experience tours, and Countrystyle community tourism consultancy and training, marketed through the International Institute for Peace through Tourism (IIPT).
The Villages as Businesses (VAB) program was created by CCTN in collaboration with the National Best Community Foundation (NBCF), in order to offer professional training to the communities for a variety of areas including hospitality skills, small business management, product development, marketing and community governance. The initiative is funded through the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) REDI.
Catherine GERMIER-HAMEL, Founder & CEO of Millennium Destinations, also joined CCTN/VAB as Partner Consultant and will be in charge of supporting the CCTN/VAB consultancy and training programs, and developing the network in South Korea, as well as other countries in Asia.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent confinement measures and travel restrictions, it is with a heavy heart that the World Association for Tourism and Hospitality Education and Training (AMFORHT) has decided to postpone its 24th World Forum to 2021.
This first Asian edition will take place as initially planned in Seoul, South Korea.
Stay safe and tuned!
By Catherine GERMIER-HAMEL
Last month, I undertook a "bleisure" (business + leisure) trip to Vietnam on my own, at the beginning of what was about to become a worldwide crisis, the COVID-19 outbreak. An interesting journey that inspired me several thoughts about responsibility.
“Please confirm you are a human”
I don't consider myself a control-freak but I really don’t like when people make decisions for me. Being able to choose makes me feel empowered and I often enjoy being offered multiple options. At the same time, I sometimes feel relieved when I don’t need to choose or even when I believe I have no choice. Let me confirm it, I am a human.
To be responsible is to be in charge. This means at least two things: to have the capacity / authority to make decisions and to be accountable for the consequences of these decisions. Responsible decision-making is not easy, especially when losses are involved and choices are many, but in the end, this may be the best expression of human nature.
Does the travel industry fear responsibility?
Fear and anxiety are arguably the worst enemies of travel. Over the past weeks, many travel and hospitality businesses have seen their activities frozen due to increasing concerns over the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. In particular, the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions) sector has been seriously affected by serial cancellations of events. Early March, and for the first time in its 54-year history, the top world travel fair ITB Berlin was cancelled by its organizers, based on the recommendations of the Federal Ministries of Health and Economics. Although made with a heavy heart, and for obvious health and safety reasons, this last-minute decision has received mixed reactions from the travel industry. For some professionals, the cancellation of the not-to-be-missed trade show actually sent a wrong message to the world: if even travel professionals are discouraged to travel, what can we expect from the general public? The fact that many people, especially from Asia, were already in Germany at the time of the decision may explain this stance.
On the other hand, this 2020 edition could have been the last in the history of ITB Berlin if it had been maintained. But who knows? Someone took the responsibility to upset dozens of thousands of people who had themselves taken the decision not to cancel their participation, after evaluating the risk of being contaminated or contaminating their peers. Nobody should be blamed but everybody should feel responsible. According to the oxygen mask rule, we are advised to ensure our safety first before providing assistance to others and especially children. This could be called an adult decision and this is probably not what people would immediately choose to do but there is a rationale behind this seemingly selfish recommendation. If you are out of the game, how can you possibly help others? I guess this also applies to travel professionals.
In this world of unpredictability and uncertainty, decisions are not easy to make and sometimes, we have no choice but to trust our gut (well, you'd rather not if you are a Head of State). In any case, we should be ready to assume the results of our choices, especially when they affect other sentient beings.
Inaction as a pain (and gain) killer
For some, doing nothing may be the safest option even if the consequences of inaction can also be painful and far-reaching. In the case of the COVID-19 crisis, the decisions to cancel or postpone public gatherings are devastating economically, socially, culturally, and psychologically. They not only confirm our fears but also nurture and even intensify our anxiety. They may be seen as a defeat against adversity and at the same time, a safe escape from conundrum and choices.
Doing nothing can also be interpreted as carrying business as usual as if in denial, instead of acknowledging the reality of an unpredicted situation. Like those airlines that are running empty “ghost” flights during the coronavirus outbreak because of European rules.
But then again, too many scenarios can be overwhelming, particularly when they are disaster scenarios. In today’s society, media are constantly feeding us with alarming news and scary stories of risks, dangers and losses. Climate change communication has generated a great amount of eco-anxiety and depression among Millennials and Gen-Z kids, but not only. As a result, our more or less rational fears are paralyzing us, and rather than making our own choices, we have become increasingly dependent on algorithms, decision-making tools, influencers and advisers that are choosing for us, not necessarily to our best interests. As a result, we have become irresponsibly passive. Or we may just panic and let our reptilian brains take control over our decisions and make us buy toilet paper in bulk. In this context, being nudged towards responsible choices and behaviors may be useful and even indispensable.
A microadventure in Vietnam
A few months ago, we all wanted to believe that 2020 would be a fantastic year. At least, it could not be worse than 2019. As for me, my new-year resolution was simply to travel to Vietnam, where half of my roots are grounded. Although I was born and raised in France, it happens that my four Vietnamese Tonkinese great-grand mothers have married or dated French settlers at the time of the French Indochina. As a member of the third generation of Eurasians in my family, I’ve never really paid great attention to my Asian heritage until quite recently.
At the very beginning of what was about to become a worldwide sanitary crisis, and more precisely on January 25, 2020, I resolved to undertake a journey to Vietnam. I had actually made that decision the previous month during a family gathering in France. I then confirmed this plan on the first day of the Lunar New Year, called Têt in Vietnam and 설날 (pronounced "seollal") in Korea. I have celebrated Têt every year for as long as I can remember but I only understood the meaning and significance of this special occasion after I moved to Seoul in 2005. This year, I wanted to properly pay respect to my ancestors and unmask myself.
I visited Vietnam for the first time in 2004. For about four weeks, I have traveled throughout the country from North to South, together with my soon-to-be husband. The only thing I found familiar and rather comforting was the local food, which I had enjoyed during my whole life thanks to the culinary talents of my grand-mothers and my mother. Again, I had never really shared my family's love for Asian food, until I live in Korea. The second time I went to Vietnam was in October 2018, when I attended the International Conference on "New Tourism - Local to Global Initiatives" in Ninh Binh, Northern Vietnam. The third and last time was a couple of weeks ago.
This time, I had planned to go to Hanoi on my own for many reasons which reason knows nothing of. Actually, I badly needed this journey to reconcile with my Asian half, which I had neglected or even rejected. This is probably one of the reasons why it did not come to my mind that I should cancel my trip over health concerns. Indeed, Vietnam was calling me in a more and more pressing way, and nothing would stop me from executing my project.
Initially, my plan was to get in touch with a few persons and institutions in Vietnam in relation to the 24th Annual Forum of the World Association for Hospitality & Tourism Training and Education (Association mondiale pour la formation hôtelière et touristique - AMFORHT), which was expected to take place in Seoul, South Korea on May 19 to 22. On February 11 [updated: postponed to 2021]. The same day of my departure to Hanoi, I had introduced the AMFORHT Forum at the monthly meeting of Skal International Seoul. At that time, all my Skaleagues were confident that the COVID-19 situation was under control and would be over with the warming of the temperatures. I shared the same confidence, or let’s say that I chose to stay positive.
Although Vietnam is not that far from Korea, I did not want to travel there for just a few days, partly because I did not think it was a responsible way of travelling. Moreover, I keep telling people that overseas stays should be extended as much as possible and I felt I should be consistent with what I preach. I therefore decided to include visits and meetings in relation with sustainable, community-based tourism in Vietnam. In particular, I wanted to have a chance to introduce the consulting and training services offered by Millennium Destinations for tourism and hospitality marketing and sustainable development. In recent years, international tourist arrivals have increased significantly in Vietnam, to reach 18 million in 2019 (from about 2.1 million in 2000), hence the need to educate and train local human resources, and build their capacities. Moreover, smart, sustainable tourism development as well as Community-Based Tourism (CBT) have become a priority for the country.
Finally, I also wanted to identify potential partners and hosts for Herost, a social impact platform that I co-founded with three other partners, aimed at promoting responsible, eco-friendly travel experiences that are primarily centered on the local communities and their environments.
With the precious support of friends and colleagues, such as Randy DUBAND, CEO of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, and Theo NOH, CEO of NEO Marketing Plus, I had the chance to connect with extraordinary, courageous (considering I was coming from Korea) people such as Mr. David NAUDIN, Director of International Cooperation & Partnerships of CitySmart Hotel Management, Dr. Thu Hoang, Dean of Faculty of Management and Tourism, Hanoi University, Ms. Natalie DO, Director of Sales of Heritage Cruise, Ms. NGUYEN Thi Huyen, National Project Coordinator at the International Labor Organization (ILO), Mr. Bobby NGUYEN and Ms. LUU Quynh Va, respectively General Director and Deputy General Director of Crystal Holidays, Ms. PHAM Huong, Program Officer at UNESCO Vietnam, Dr. Hoang, Dean of Hospitality and Tourism School at National Economics University, and Ms. Phuong Tran, Head of Community Development at Evergreen Labs.
I also took the opportunity of this journey to evaluate a variety of accommodations implementing remarkable green, sustainable practices such as Mai Chau Ecolodge, Sunrise Premium Resort and Spa Hoi An, and Novotel Danang Premier Han River. I was particularly impressed by the bold decisions taken by the General Manager of Sunrise Premium Resort and Spa Hoi An, Mr. Sven SAEBEL, such as installing water refill stations to replace individual plastic bottles. I consider it a responsible decision, especially because it is fully assumed. I also enjoyed sharing stories with Mr. DU Quang Huy, Director of Mai Chau Ecolodge which employs 90% of local community members, including Ms. THAO Phuong Ha, from the Tay community who became Sales Director of Mai Chau Ecolodge.
Although I remained unmasked during my whole trip to Vietnam, involving stays in Hanoi, Mai Chau, Hoi An and Danang, I tried to follow basic recommendations to avoid catching the coronavirus and contaminating others. I was lucky to be able to enjoy Hoi An as it was ten years ago, but I quickly became a little concerned at the view of all those (relatively) emptied tourist areas. Whereas overtourism has become a hot issue for many destinations, we are now facing a worrying undertourism situation.
Responsible tourism: a booster shot
The concept of responsible tourism has become increasingly popular over the past decade, often as a replacement for sustainable tourism. In fact, many people do not feel comfortable with sustainable tourism, often viewed either as an oxymoron or an absurdity, if not a lost cause. For some of them, sustainable travel involves nit travelling at all. Very often, sustainable tourism is considered a niche market or a product whereas its advocates will insist that it is a journey, a strategy, a paradigm, an approach, a model etc. embracing any form of tourism and any kind of destination. As a result, people tend to give preference to responsible tourism or travel, which seems more achievable and accessible.
Developed through a participatory approach and adopted in 2002 on the occasion of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, the Cape Town Declaration on Responsible Tourism is about “making better places for people to live in and better places for people to visit.” As an integrated multi-stakeholder approach, responsible tourism:
For me, responsible tourism is the spitting image of sustainable tourism (although we should refrain from spitting, and particularly these days). But let’s not play with words and let’s try to focus on what matters most: achieving net positive impacts on people and places, a purpose supported by the power to make the right decisions and to fully bear for the consequences of the choices we make, whether we are hosts or guests.
I personally believe the tourism and hospitality industry should assert and demonstrate its determination, courage and sense of responsibility. Our main mission is to make people happy and we need to be positive, creative and audacious to fulfill it.
And as people say, including President John F. Kennedy in 1959, the Chinese word for "crisis" is a combination of two characters, one for "danger" and one for "opportunity". This may not be correct but why don't we pretend it is? Together, let's co-create these opportunities and let's support each other to demonstrate, once again, the resilience and responsibility of our sector.
To be continued...
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.