Greetings to everyone who loves ecotourism and participates in it.
I'm Jong-Geel Jel who was elected as the fifth president of the Korea Ecotourism Association.
The warm spring is here, but I cannot welcome it with ease.
Environmental issues, such as climate change, fine dust, and the forest fires in Gangwon-do which destroyed the surrounding beautiful forests and homes, cloud our mind.
It is also embarrassing to see news about over-tourism and its negative impact on environment.
I am sure that you all agree.
As you already know, ecotourism origins from tourism which provides tourists with opportunities to learn and enjoy well-protected nature.
Ecotourism is now well known for its responsible contributions to nature conservation and positive impacts on local communities. However, we are still struggling because at the destination level, ecotourism has not yet been developed properly.
We need to look at ecotourism in terms of industry. Ecotourism should generate revenue. That is how it can contribute to the local economy and sustainable development.
If that happens, individuals or communities who benefit from ecotourism will try to protect the nature and culture of tourism resources in the regions.
The creation of this virtuous circle should be led by the association and people who are passionate about ecotourism.
In 2002, at the World Ecotourism Year designated by the United Nations, many people who were interested in ecotourism in Korea gathered together in Jeju island to form an association.
However, eight years later, in 2010, the association was founded and started as a registered division by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, but is currently working for the Ministry of Environment.
In the last few years, despite the various attempts and efforts, the association has failed to make the ecotourism sector robust. We will create a network of relevant organizations and experts to work together and make effort to gain trust from members who have a passion.
In addition, we will have more talks with the Ministry of Environment and do our role as an intermediary so that ecotourism can move on to the way.
The flow of tourism around the world is changing to ecotourism and sustainable tourism.
Of course, there are some places where ecotourism is not proceeded in a proper way, but the direction towards ecotourism is sure to spread further.
Although it is a long time late, we will actively join the trend inside and outside of the country as well as the international movement.
Everyone! We will be together with you for the development of ecotourism in Korea and in your country.
Please support us a lot and keep in touch.
Thank you very much.