Sustainable development is an imperative for all sectors, and the United Nations has declared 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.

How to best develop sustainably? Do travelers wish to buy sustainable products?

GSTC – the global organization created by the United Nations system and leading global conservation organizations to develop standards for sustainability in travel and tourism – has partnered with Korean hosts to assemble an all-star group of experts on sustainable tourism to provide leading-edge insights into these important questions. Participants will network with and share knowledge with an international group of sustainable tourism experts.

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Participants come from the private sector, public sector, NGOs, and academia to learn and share contemporary ideas that can be translated into action.

Registration fees are modest. Host city Suwon is easily accessible from Incheon Airport. Simultaneous translation will be provided in English, Korean, and Chinese.

Join us at the conference to be part of the solution to these important questions.




October 5th: 18:30 Reception, opening ceremony, dinner

                    13:00-18:00 GSTC Pre-conference Workshop on Ecotourism

                    16:00-18:00 Pre-conference workshop on Sustainable MICE (in Korean only)

October 6th-7th: 8:30 – 18:30 Conference (full programme)

October 8th: Complimentary post-conference field trips (full details)



More details and full list of speakers

luigi100x100Luigi Cabrini, Chair of the Board, GSTC

randy100x100Randy Durband, CEO, GSTC

cathy parsons100x100Cathy Parsons, Chair,  Accreditation Panel, GSTC

Dirk Glaesser 100x100Dr. Dirk Glaesser, Director, Sustainable Development of Tourism Programme, UNWTO


Marketing Sustainable Tourism:

Sustainable development isn’t effective if travelers don’t buy the more sustainable products. Marketing is key. But we’ve learned that labeling products as “sustainable” or “responsible” or “green” does not work well in the marketplace. In these sessions, Dr. Xavier Font of Surrey University in the UK, a leading thinker in the marketing of sustainable tourism, will provide a keynote address and lead panel discussions on best approaches to marketing sustainable product to both business travelers and leisure travelers, and considering the realities of travel to both urban destinations and nature-based or rural destinations.

More details and full list of speakers

Xavier100x100Prof. Dr. Xavier Font, University of Surrey, UK

Global thought-leader on the marketing of sustainable tourism

JaneAshton100x100Dr. Jane Ashton, Director of Sustainability,
TUI Group, UK

Leading of one of the largest tourism groups, with millions of customers

Jim Sino 100x100Jim Sano, Vice President for Travel, Tourism and Conservation, WWF

willemniemeijer100x100Willem Niemeijer, CEO, YAANA Ventures, Thailand

Founded Khiri Travel with 17 offices spread over South East Asia and the USA


Sustainable City Tourism and Sustainable MICE:

We will consider these two topics both separately and jointly. Keynote speaker Roger Simons will open the theme by speaking to holistic approaches in management that speak to the needs of business travelers, leisure travelers, and local residents. Breakout sessions will explore leading-edge sustainable management of cities and MICE business from a number of perspectives.

More details and full list of speakers

Roger Simons100x100Roger Simons, GMIC President and MCI Regional Sustainability Director APAC

Leading expert on sustainable MICE and Sustainable City Development

Catharina Cecilie Aas 100x100Catharina Cecilie Aas, Convention Project Manager, Wonderful Copenhagen, Denmark
Hannah Jamieson 100x100Hannah Jamieson, GM External Relations, Business Events Sydney (BESydney)

Nichapa100x100Nichapa Yoswee, Director of MICE Capabilities Development, Thailand TCEB

Responsible for Thailand’s MICE industry global standards


Ecotourism and Community-Based Tourism Development:

Most of the best case studies of sustainable tourism are found in the realm of nature-based tourism, ecotourism, rural tourism, and community-based tourism (CBT). While many mass tourism destinations are facing over-crowding, the less urban and less accessible destinations see great potential for growth. Experts in these areas will share the latest strategies for tapping into that growth potential while remaining true to the highly sustainable aspirations of these forms of tourism.

More details and full list of speakers

Mihee100x100Dr. Mihee Kang, Research Professor,
Seoul National University, South Korea

Key thought-leader in Korean and East Asian ecotourism sphere

Kazuhiro100x100Kazuhiro Arai, Representative Director, Daisetsuzan Nature School, Japan

Dedicated activist for community-based environmental conservation and education

hak sookim100x100Haksoo Kim, Chair, Korean Ecotourism Destinations Network

Leading grassroots movement for sustainable ecotourism development

SusandeCardenas100x100Susan Santos Cárdenas, President & CEO, Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. (SSTDI), Philippines

A sustainability and ecotourism champion


Standards & Certification:

GSTC develops and maintains global baseline standards for sustainable travel & tourism; the famous GSTC Criteria. As such, leading experts in the world on standards and certification are either within GSTC or engaged with GSTC, and some of those key leaders will join us in Suwon to discuss the growing application of standards and the latest trends in certification.

More details and full list of speakers

Li Tienan 100x100Tienen Li, China Standard Conformity Assessment (CSCA)

Administers the China Compulsory Certification (CCC) System

RodHillman100x100Rod Hillman, CEO, Ecotourism Australia

Approved by GSTC and have recently started to move into the South Pacific region

Andre Russ 100André Russ, Vice President Sales, EarthCheck

The world’s benchmarking certification and advisory group for travel and tourism

 cathy parsons100x100Cathy Parsons, Chair,  Accreditation Panel, GSTC


Government Policy for Sustainable Tourism:

Two levels of government engagement will be reviewed: tourism policies at the national and provincial levels, and destination management. Emphasis will be placed on public authorities engaging with the private sector for true partnerships in managing and promoting sustainable tourism activities and destinations.

More details and full list of speakers

YeongHyeon Hwang 100x100Dr. Yeonghyeon Hwang, Chair, Asia Pacific Tourism Association

Expert on sustainable tourism destination development in developing countries

Daud100x100Muhamad Daud, Head, Culture and Tourism Unit, ASEAN-Korea Centre (AKC), South Korea

Cheng Kuang Fang 100x100Cheng-Kuang Fang, Director, Northeast and Yilan Coast National Scenic Administration, Taiwan Tourism Bureau

Lee Sungtae 100x100Dr. Sungtae Lee, Chief Researcher, Korea Culture & Tourism Institute


Cultural Heritage destinations:

Destinations featuring cultural heritage monuments and sites face special challenges in balancing preservation of tangible and intangible cultural heritage while maximizing the economic benefits of tourism for the community and to support preservation. Experts on creating that balance will speak to these issues. Following the presentation, all participants will travel from the conference venue to the nearby Hwaseong Fortress, a cultural UNESCO World Heritage site and the venue of the Suwon Cultural Festival underway during our visit.

More details and full list of speakers

Yuzhen Lv 100Yuzhen Lv, Director of Tourism Management Office, Mt. Huangshan (China) Administrative Committee
Jaturong Pokharatsiri 100x100 Dr. Jaturong Pokharatsiri, Professor of Architecture, Thammasat University, Thailand and Vice-President of ICOMOS International Cultural Tourism Committee
Scott Walker 100Scott Walker, Country Manager Korea, Tourism Australia

Daisy Park 100Daisy Park, Representative, Samoa Tourism Authority Korea



Venue: Novotel Ambassador Suwon Hotel, Suwon City, Gyeonggi Province, South Korea — near Seoul and an easy transfer from Seoul’s Incheon International Airport (directions can be found here)

Hotel reservations are the responsibility of the attendee and can be made directly with the hotel here. Please refer to the booking instructions to receive the special discounted rates.

Suwon: Suwon, capital of Gyeonggi-do province, is mostly known for its World Heritage–listed fortifications built by Joseon dynasty when moving the capital from Seoul to Suwon in 1794. Suwon City Cultural Festival will take place on 7-9 October.



Do you need a visa to enter South Korea? Read more here.

Travel Arrangements: International travelers should arrive Incheon Airport (ICN) October 5th prior to 16:00 to join the opening reception on time; departure times on the 8th or 9th should allow one hour travel time from Suwon to ICN plus adequate check-in time.

How to reach the venue: Reaching the Novotel Ambassador Suwon Hotel from Seoul’s Incheon International Airport is simple. Follow the directions here.


AGM2015 posters

PROMOTIONAL STANDS (limited number)

Want to project your organization’s message to key international thought-leaders of sustainable tourism?

A limited number of promotional stands are available, giving a unique opportunity to communicate your message to conference speakers, panelists, and participants.





Conference Hosts




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