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The 4th World Trails Conference

03.02.14

Category: Front News, Walking News

Attendance of 50 trails and organizations from 18 different countries. The official launch of Asia Trails Network, a council of 12 major trail organizations from Korea, China and Japan. Refined establishment of the ‘World Trails Network’, discussing the need to build regional hubs and establish the general principles of ethics

The Jeju Olle Foundation announced today the closing of the 4th World Trails Conference, where major trail organizations from all around the world gathered to discuss sustainable growth and enhanced network. 50 trail institutions and organizations from 18 countries were present for the three-day-long conference.

World Trails Conference is one of world’s leading trail events for trail personnel to convene and discuss the strategic direction for the trail industry. This year’s conference was especially notable as 12 major trail organizations from Korea, China and Japan came together to launch Asia Trails Network (ATN).

ATN will have Myung-sook Suh, President of the Jeju Olle Foundation, serve as the first chairwoman and with its headquarters set in Jeju Island. ATN’s vision is to ‘Improve the Quality of Life with a Trail that Cares for the Environment and Local Community’, and is expected to share knowledge with others, plan and execute projects to encourage trekking around Asia. These include Asia Walking Festival and Asia Trails Network Passport program. The official launch of ATN is expected to demonstrate tremendous influence on the fast growth of the long-distance walking and hiking culture, by having cross-border hikers from Korea, China and Japan.

The 4th World Trails Conference was also the main stage to present refined establishment of the World Trails Network. The World Trails Network Committee has been organized in November 2012 to found an international trails institution. The World Trails Network Committee had rewarding moments at the 4th World Trails Conference: they presented the strategic direction of the World Trails Network and the plan to build regional hubs, discussed benefits for participating organizations (securing network, knowledge sharing, etc.), legislated the general principles of ethics, opened website, launched newsletter and shared promotional ideas for the spread of the walking and hiking culture. There currently are 12 trails organizations from 10 countries in the World Trails Network Committee: Rim of Africa Trail, American Trails, Appalachian Trail, European Rambler’s Association, The Bruce Trail, Korean Trails Association, the Jeju Olle Foundation, Tottori Walking Resort, Paths of Greece, Lebanon mountain Trail, Turkish Culture Routes, Bibbulmun Track and Munda Biddi Trail.

In addition, a full line-up of remarkable programs, including small-size workshops (‘The Role of Education in Trail Preservation’ and ‘Trail’s Tourism Value’), Jeju’s traditional shrine culture experience and 2014 Jeju Island Myth & Culture Festival, drew a lot of attention at the conference. Case study presentation of Seuil’s Program to correct behaviors of those at juvenile detention centers and Junko Tabei’s narrative of how she took the victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake trekking to help them recover proved to the world the trail’s healing potential and the need to invest more in it.

Ms.Suh said in her closing remark, “We got to take a step forward and improve the global trails network at this year’s World Trails Conference, as we had the great opportunity to launch the Asia Trails Network and declare refined establishment of the World Trails Network. Let’s make full use of this great global network to build a trail that does well for the people, environment and community and create a healthy walking and hiking culture.”

The 4th World Trails Conference was held at International Convention Center Jeju and Jeju Olle Trail route 20 for three days, from January 15 to 17. The conference is organized by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, Korea Institute for Advancement of Technology, Jeju Institute for Regional Program Evaluation, hosted by the Jeju Olle Foundation and the Jeju Special Self-Governing Provincial Tourism Association and sponsored by Leaders in Industry-University Cooperation (LINC) at Cheju Halla University, Starbucks Korea and J-creation. The opening ceremony and featured lecture were supervised by the Jeju Olle Foundation, Jeju Institute for Regional Program Evaluation and LINC at Cheju Halla University.