GSTC Sustainable Tourism Training and MOU with Jeollabuk-do Ecotourism Sustainable Center

On September 2nd and 3rd, 2021, GSTC held a Sustainable Tourism course in Gochang County, Jeollabuk Province, South Korea, as part of the GSTC Sustainable Tourism Training Program (STTP)

Jeollabuk-do Ecotourism Sustainable Center (JBESC), an NGO member of the GSTC, hosted the two-day in-person training. Dr. Mihee Kang, GSTC Director for Asia-Pacific, led the workshop as a lead trainer. In addition, Mr. Randy Durband, CEO of GSTC, introduced the trends of sustainable tourism and the GSTC.

Gochang County’s Ungok Wetland and Jeongeup City’s Wolyeong Wetland and Solty Village are National Ecotourism Destinations designated by the Korean Ministry of Environment. Each destination is benchmarked as a model of ecotourism development in the province and throughout Korea.

On-site Sustainable Tourism Training

A total of 15 individuals participated in the day and a half classroom training and half-day field exercise. Participants included local ecotourism leaders and municipal officials from Gochang and Jeongeup, the secretary generals and eco-guides of two local ecotourism associations, and JBESC CEO and staff.  The training focused on the GSTC Destination Criteria (GSTC-D).

Lively discussions on sustainable ecotourism development took place, resulting in constructive criticism and tangible ideas.

Dr. Kang said “I was very moved to hear that by applying what they had learned, they could see their destination’s issues and the direction they should take. COVID-19 and masks can’t stop these enthusiastic activists from moving forward and making destinations more sustainable”.

Memorandum of Understanding

On September 2, 2021, Jeollabuk-do Ecotourism Sustainable Center (JBESC) and Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) signed a partnership agreement focused on sustainable tourism training and destination assessment.

Recognizing the problem of unsustainable tourism development, the two organizations agreed to cooperate in the capacity building of local stakeholders and raise awareness of both residents and tourists on sustainable tourism.

As a member of the GSTC, JBESC plans to organize another STTP for other ecotourism destinations. In addition, they aim to initiate various campaigns and activities for carbon-neutral ecotourism development in collaboration with the GSTC Asia-Pacific office.

Jongseok Park, CEO of JBESC, said “GSTC Criteria will be used as a basis for setting the direction of Jeollabuk-do ecotourism management. The center will play a supporting role so the 12 ecotourism destinations designated by the province can follow these criteria.”

Randy Durband, CEO of GSTC, added “It is so encouraging to see such commitment to excellence and sustainability by the leadership and all team members present at this session. GSTC is proud to provide any support we can to their plans for continuous improvement. They also appreciate the value of applying the globally and inclusively-created GSTC Criteria.”

About Jeollabuk-do Ecotourism Sustainable Center

JBESC is a non-profit organization. It was established in 2015 as a DMO supporting and managing ecotourism and nature-based tourism development in Jeollabuk-do. The provincial government funds JBESC activities. Contact: Jeollabukdo Ecotourism (

About the GSTC Sustainable Tourism Training Program (STTP)

The GSTC Sustainable Tourism Training Program (STTP) offers opportunities throughout the year for tourism professionals interested and engaged in sustainability. With the aim of strengthening awareness of sustainable tourism in destinations around the world, the training program covers global trends in sustainable tourism and sustainability best practices for businesses and destinations.

You can learn more about the STTP and join one of the upcoming courses: Sustainable Tourism course, Sustainable Business Travel course, and Sustainable Hospitality course.

Follow updates on the STTP on social media with the hashtag #GSTCtraining.