The 2022 Global Sustainable Tourism Forum in Seoul, Korea
On the 10th and 11th of November, while the attention to environmental issues was at a high due to COP27, the city of Seoul became the setting scene for the 2022 Global Sustainable Tourism Forum, organized by the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Korea Tourism Organization, in partnership with the One Planet Sustainable Tourism Programme.
The event saw the attendance of Tourism Authorities from over 20 Member States and more than 100 representatives of tourism operators and companies, catalyzing their attention on different areas of innovation for sustainable tourism.
The forum was also an opportunity to take stock of the current progress of the sector towards sustainability. The signatories of the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative (GTPI) and of the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism were invited to share their insights and progress on the ambitious commitments made within the framework of the 2 initiatives.
For the readers who are landing for the first time on these two landmark initiatives, we thought it would be useful to provide an overview, in just two paragraphs, of what these commitments amount to.
Under the Glasgow Declaration, a fundamental pledge by the signatories is to support the global commitment to halve emissions by 2030 and reach net zero as soon as possible before 2050, a pledge that needs to be backed up by an ad-hoc climate action plan and annual reporting.
As for the GTPI, this initiative takes a strong stand in the fight against plastic pollution, by requiring signatories to make actionable commitments on the circular economy of plastics by 2025.
Moreover, we take this opportunity to share some of the most significant interventions made during the event:
First, Ms Jasline Ng, manager at Greenview, provided examples of solutions that the Sustainable Tourism Programme is offering within our network, discussed more in depth our philosophy of pre-competitive collaboration and consultative process to develop tools and presented the GTPI measurement methodology.
In an inspiring intervention, Mr Christian de Boer, who represents Jaya House, a hotel located alongside the Siem Reap River, made the point that to do so plastic-free operations can be very easy to implement when there is a willingness to do so.
Similarly, Rogers Hospitality, another signatory of the GTPI based in Mauritius and represented by Ms Axelle Mazey, provided examples of ambitious solutions they have been implementing to reduce plastic pollution but also to support efforts towards the implementation of Paris Agreement on climate.
Then, the intervention from Mr Petero Manufolao, from the Tourism Authority of Kiribati, another country whom we can proudly count among signatories of the Glasgow Declaration on climate action in tourism.
For those present, it was inspiring and persuasive to see representatives from countries which are highly exposed to climate change, in particular small island states, taking the lead in advancing climate action and being an example worldwide for successfully tackling plastic pollution.
To round off the forum, on the second day the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Korea Tourism Organization organized a technical tour to share with participants good practices of the Korean tourism industry in terms of sustainability.