There is a development gap between CLMV countries (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Vietnam) and the other ASEAN countries, according to a press release issued by the ASEAN-Korea Centre.
Nevertheless, with assets such as rich biodiversity, natural wonders, and diverse cultural sites, CLMV countries have great potential to become attractive ecotourism destinations.
Tourism practitioners from CLMV countries visited Korea to enhance their capacities on ecotourism-related policy development.
The ASEAN-Korea Centre organised an “Ecotourism Capacity Building Workshop” in Seoul, September 21-23, 2016 under the theme of “Policies, Preservation and Partnership in Ecotourism”. The delegates comprised representatives of governments and ecotourism products.
With the aim “to enable first-hand experience and learning of Korea’s best practice of ecotourism development”, the delegation visited the Marine Ecological Tourism Village of Daebu Island in Ansan, Gyeonggi Province. Daebu Island was designated as an ecotourism site by the Ministry of Environment of Korea, and will host an ‘Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference’ in 2017.
The ASEAN-Korea Centre hopes the visit will help delegates “enhance their understandings on public-private-people partnership for ecotourism development, as the Island has been developed as an ecotourism site through effective partnership between the Ansan City government and local villages”.
The delegation visited major tourism sites in Daebu Island such as Shihwa Tidal Plant, Daebu Haesolgil Walking Trail, and Jong-hyun Marine Village Mud Flat to gain insights on ecotourism development and the “public-private-people partnership” behind it.
Kim Young-sun, Secretary General of the ASEAN-Korea Centre, said: “The ASEAN-Korea Centre has made continuous efforts to support the development of ASEAN’s ecotourism policy by organizing various work programs including the ‘ASEAN-Korea Tourism Development Workshop on Ecotourism’ in June and ‘ASEAN Community-based Tourism Program’ in August.
“I hope this Workshop can serve as a platform for CLMV countries to enhance their capacities on ecotourism development, and thus contribute towards achieving a goal of ASEAN for greater regional integration as a single destination.”
The ASEAN-Korea Center press release defined ecotourism as “a sustainable form of tourism whereby visitors enjoy the nature, grow to love and protect it more, and in turn contribute to the development of the local economy”.
According to the press release, ASEAN Member States have been continuously promoting ecotourism sites to improve the wellbeing of its people and seize a growing market share of international tourism.
ASEAN leaders adopted the Pakse Declaration on the ASEAN Roadmap for Strategic Development of Ecotourism Cluster and Tourism Corridors at the ASEAN Summit two weeks ago.
The Declaration underlines the need for a balanced sustainable development of ecotourism, through partnerships between relevant stakeholders.