Since Oct. 2018, the Herost project has been developed by Catherine GERMIER-HAMEL, Founder & CEO of Millennium Destinations, and Louis HAAG, Managing Director of GreenBIM Engineering, as a global online platform aimed at sharing sustainable, community-based travel experiences, and associated services such as strategic and operations consulting and training.
CBT Trip to Tailue Luangnue
With the support of Ms. Jaranya DAENGNOY, Director of the Thailand Community-Based Tourism Institute (CBT-I) in Chiang Mai, Catherine and Louis started their mission with a one-day trip hosted by the CBT Tailue Luangnue group, on Feb. 27. 2019.
The program included several CBT experiences such as: making Kao-Kab, a staple Tai lue food and snack, visiting a local workshop producing wooden figurines to be sold as souvenirs, understanding the design and fabrication process of the figurines, and then painting them, cooking a traditional Thai meal, making Tai Lue’s style bag, dressing with Tai Lue costumes, etc.
The trip was concluded by a discussion with the CBT group leader, to learn more about the Tai lue’s history and traditional ways of life and understand the needs, expectations, and challenges of the CBT group in the process of designing, developing and marketing CBT activities, and involve other members of the local community.
GSTC APAC Conference in Chiang Mai
As part of the track “Quality Tourism: Delivering Sustainable Quality Experiences” on March 1, Catherine moderated the panel session “Community Benefit through Tourism”, in collaboration with the following panelists:
- Ms. Jaranya DAENGNOY, Director, CBT-I,
- Mr. Tung PAKONGSUP (Panot), Asia Field Manager, Planeterra Foundation,
- Dr. Jaturong POKHARATSIRI, Professor of Architecture, Thammasat University, Thailand; Vice-President of ICOMOS International Cultural Tourism Committee,
- Mr. Nithi (Nutty) SUBHONGSANG, Co-founder, Nutty Adventures.
Based on the experiences and cases presented by the group, the main conclusions of the session were:
- By its very nature, the tourism experience is local and local communities should be put at the core of all tourism development, management and marketing initiatives.
- As the most desirable form of sustainable tourism, community-based tourism should be mainstream and universal, as it can be implemented both in rural and urban areas, whatever their levels of development.
- Community benefits through tourism development are usually not immediate and not permanent, and patience and vigilance are therefore needed.
- Local communities should not depend on tourism as their main livelihood but rather consider it as a complementary income-generating activity.
Moreover, Catherine shared two papers that have been a source of inspiration for the Herost project: 1. Community-based tourism: From a local to a global push and 2. Development of a conflict management model as a tool for improved project outcomes in community based tourism.