Organises Workshop on Ecotourism for a Sustainable Future of the Asia-Pacific
In March of 2019, UNITAR’s Affiliated
International Training Centre for Authorities and Leaders (CIFAL) organized a
4-day workshop on ‘Ecotourism for a Sustainable Future of the Asia-Pacific’ in
Jeju, South Korea. The event took place
from March 20th to March 23rd and included 21 participants and 5
topical experts from various government departments, international
organizations, universities and NGOs throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
This workshop was timely as environmental conservation and wildlife
preservation concerns remain global challenges impacting ecosystems.
Consequently, central and local governments are facing difficulties in
developing appropriate policies and initiatives that both enhance the economic
environment of their communities while simultaneously and sustainably
protecting their culture, heritage, and environment. Ecotourism has the
potential to stimulate economic growth, social equality, and environmental
protection, which are all appropriately the three pillars of the United
Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
Resource experts were on site during the workshop to share their
expertise. We had the honor of hosting Dr. Mihee Kang, Asia-Pacific Director at
the Global Tourism Council and GSTC Country Representative for the Republic of
Korea; Dr. Paul Rogers, Director of Planet Happiness, a global project focused
upon UNESCO World Heritage sites; Dr. Natarajan Ishwaran, Editor-in-Chief/ Professor
for the Environmental Development Journal (Elsevier)/ International (UNESCO)
Centre on Space Technologies for Natural and Cultural Heritage [HIST]; Dr.
Yunseon CHOE, Tourism Management Research Professor at Kyung Hee University;
and Mr. Reza Pahlevi, UNITAR CIFAL Jeju Best Practice Award Winner and
Programme Officer from Aceh Besar Culture and Tourism Department.
Countries represented in the workshop included
Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Laos, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, the
Republic of Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam. The workshop served as a platform to
enhance the capacity of decision makers within the tourism space to make
informed decisions on policies and sustainable strategies for ecotourism
efforts in their respective countries. Presentations focused on key topics
including tourism as an economic development tool, identifying natural and
cultural resources for ecotourism development, monitoring and evaluation of
ecotourism projects, and the concept of ecotourism in relation to the UN’s SDGs.