The value of mud was the key topic of the Marine Mud and Wellness Conference that took place in Boryeong, Korea, on 27 and 28 July 2022. The Trilateral Wadden Sea Cooperation was invited to contribute a presentation on sustainable tourism development in the Wadden Sea World Heritage Destination. Anja Szczesinski (WWF Germany), member of the Network Group Sustainable Tourism and longtime engaged in Wadden Sea – Korea exchange activities, shared impressions and experience of the challenges and chances of tourism development in a World Heritage region. Together with a presentation by Bong-Oh Kwon, professor at Kunsan National University and expert in the Korean tidal flats, the Wadden Sea contribution raised awareness for the ecological values of mud and the responsibilities of tourism development to be in line with the sustainability and conservation goals.
Exchange and cooperation between the Wadden Sea and the Korean “Getbol” (tidal flats) have a long history and within the framework of the MOU Wadden Sea – Korea, signed in 2009, numerous activities in various fields of work – ranging from science and monitoring, management and policy making to ecotourism and education - have contributed to a mutual gain of knowledge and inspiration for the protection of tidal flats.
With the recognition of four sites of the Korean Getbol as UNESCO World Heritage in 2021, the cooperation receives an additional umbrella and potential to enlarge the scope and further strengthen the cooperation activities to safeguard tidal habitats at a global scale.