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Green tourism steps forward in Seoul

Tourism chiefs from Southeast Asia and Mongolia have completed a project in Korea to boost green travel in their countries.

Foreign government officials, lecturers and tour guides traveled around Korea taking in popular tourist spots such as temples and Seoraksan as well as studying the language for ten weeks until Dec. 9.

Malaysian tour guide Loke Chew Koon said the experience would help her assist people traveling to her country, as 262,000 Koreans did last year.

“It is very useful so that we can promote our country in an effective way, and to be connected with other tourism workers from other ASEAN countries,” she said.

Siriluck Prachpunyathorn, director of Thailand’s Smile Plus Holidays said: “Many Thai people prefer to travel in Korea to experience Korean culture, visit spots like Seoroksan and go to shopping areas like Myeong-dong.” 
UNWTO ST-EP Foundation ambassador Dho Young-shim (center, front row) poses with ASEAN Plus Project participants in their national dress. (UNWTO ST-EP Foundation)
UNWTO ST-EP Foundation ambassador Dho Young-shim (center, front row) poses with ASEAN Plus Project participants in their national dress. (UNWTO ST-EP Foundation)

The ASEAN Plus Project was part of the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s ST-EP program, which is headquartered in Seoul. The program, which stands for Sustainable Tourism Eliminating Poverty, aims to use tourism to fight world poverty in an economically and environmentally sustainable way.

“Sustainable tourism is very important.” Mongolian National Tourism Center marketing officer Erdenechimeg Byambaa said. “In Mongolia, tourism is growing well so we must make sure that we develop sustainably.”

The annual program aimed to develop tourism ties across different Asian countries as well as promoting green growth in the industry.

Dho Young-shim ambassador for the UNWTO ST-EP Foundation said: “When people ask ‘What do you remember when you visit a country?’ it is not the pyramids and it is not the Eiffel Tower.

“It is not an object or a building that lives with you, it is the people.

“At the end of the day it all comes down to people and that is why the personal relationships built on this program are so important.”

By Kirsty Taylor (kirstyt@heraldcorp.com)
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