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Dear Mekong Tourism stakeholder,

Last week I was honoured to contribute to a panel discussion at the first ASSET-H&C conference in Bangkok. ASSET-H&C is the Association of Southeast Asian Social Enterprises for Training in Hospitality & Catering. Its membership comprises training institutions that positively impact the lives of their students and turn out quality graduates. Now, through ASSET-H&C, they are able to network, share best practices, and potentially raise more resources for their excellent work.

Human resource development -- or human capital development as it is increasingly referred to -- is a very important issue. Demand for trained hospitality and tourism staff is outstripping supply. That's why the first MTF@ITB Berlin will be focused on this topic. A panel of Mekong-based public- and private-sector stakeholders will discuss and debate HRD challenges and best practices in the GMS. The special session will offer great insights for travel & tourism professionals from all over the world.

Our e-news will take a break next week but please continue to follow MTCO on social media (@TourismMekong, #TourismMekong) to catch news & current affairs stories that grab our attention. Enjoy this week's newsletter. If you find it interesting and useful, please share it among your colleagues and associates and invite them to subscribe.

Enjoy the holiday season if you observe it. And see you again early in the new year, which we trust will be a happy, sustainable, and prosperous one for all of us in the GMS!
Jens Thraenhart
Executive Director, MTCO

News & Articles of the Week

News & articles that caught our attention over the past several days:

VNAT, OTA Ask “Why Vietnam?”
Vietnam National Administration of Tourism with online travel agency have launched #WhyVietnam, a social media campaign ... Read more about it.

Cambodia Primed for Luxury Tourism Growth
High-end hospitality offerings, improved infrastructure, and more flights have have primed Cambodia for luxury tourism growth ... Read more about it.

Tourism Important to Vietnam ...
Tourism has boosted Vietnam’s economic growth, proving itself an important pillar of the country’s economy, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit ... Read more about it.

... but is Hindered by Lack of Workers, Guides
Labour shortages in Vietnam is restricting the growth of the tourism sector, and the problem may get worse, industry insiders have warned ... Read more about it.

Myanmar Tourism Investment up Despite Drop in Visitors
... but some travel industry operators are worried that investors and tourism entrepreneurs are basing investment decisions on bad data … Read more about it.

Ho Chi Minh City Looks at Waterway Tourism
About 1,000 km of rivers and canals connect Ho Chi Minh City with neighboring provinces, Thailand, and Cambodia ... Read more about it.

Beneath the Surface of Laos’ Cave Tourism Boom
Great tourism opportunities and significant sustainability challenges emerge as the sport of spelunking gains traction in Laos... Read more about it.

Shifting Idylls: Urban-Rural Dynamics in Cambodia
A look at how the city and the countryside – and perceptions of them – are evolving in Cambodia and possible implications for domestic tourism ... Read more about it.

Luang Prabang Wages Battle of the Pigs
Bernie Rosenbloom tells the tale of the Battle of the Pigs when Luang Prabang raised funds for families who make their livings recycling rubbish ... Read more about it.

Paddling through Time on the Mekong
"Humility is a rare commodity in the era of the smartphone, selfies and carefully–coiffed digital personas. Gratitude, too, is unusual in the modern world ... " Read more about it.

Whales in the Wild in the Gulf of Thailand
Taking tourists out to spot Bryde’s whales in the Gulf of Thailand is a relatively new product but there are concerns, and six whales were found dead this year ... Read more about it.

LINK CORRECTION: Volunteers Sought for Myanmar Responsible Tourism
The Myanmar Responsible Tourism Institute is seeking volunteers ... Read more about it. (The link in last week's e-news was incorrect.)

Recent Additions to the Mekong Tourism e-Library

Mekong Tourism Forum 2016 Report
The official summary report of the proceedings of Mekong Tourism Forum 2016, Sihanoukville, Cambodia. Cambodia proudly presented the report to the 38th Meeting of the GMS Tourism Working Group in Kunming, Yunnan ... Download for free.

Mekong Tourism Forum 2016 featured intensive sessions on digital marketing, authenticity, cruises, food tourism, responsible tourism, investment, and much more.

Mekong Innovative Startup Tourism (MIST)

MIST aims to support innovative new travel & tourism-related ventures in the developing destinations and source markets of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam. MIST will mentor new ventures, provide support and guidance, and match them with suitable investors. For more information and a form to register startups please visit Also join MIST's Facebook discussion group.

MTCO Seeks e-Library Contributions

In addition to economic reports, statistical analyses, industry studies, and much more, the Mekong Tourism e-Library hosts contributions in the following new categories:

Multi-Country Journeys & Mekong River Cruises
Tour and cruise operators offering multi-destination tours and cruises (defined as tours or cruises that visit more than one Mekong-region country) are welcome to send their eligible itineraries in PDF format. The objective is to develop a resource for those seeking Mekong experiences for their customers (or themselves).

Tourism Development Projects
Economic development agencies (bilateral or multilateral) and non-government organisations (NGOs) are encouraged to send, in PDF format, scopes of work, terms of reference, reports, and case studies pertaining to tourism-related projects in the Mekong region. The objective is to develop a resource for all Mekong tourism stakeholders.

MTCO Seeks Tourism Experts

Subject matter experts, such as consultants, executives, and industry journalists, who are active in GMS travel & tourism, are eligible to become “Official Mekong Tourism Experts“. In return for regular (non-exclusive) business-, trade- or policy-related content, Experts will receive a range of profile-enhancing benefits ... Read more about it.

MTCO Seeks Travel Storytellers

MTCO welcomes anyone with a passion for storytelling who wishes to share their unique and unusual travel experiences: multi-destination Mekong journeys and experiences linked to social, cultural, or environmental causes. In return for regular content, Storytellers will receive a range of profile-enhancing benefits ... Read more about it.


MTCO is active on various social media platforms under the universal handle @TourismMekong. Please follow and engage with us by clicking on the links below:

LinkedIn: Mekong Tourism discussion group
Mekong Tourism is a collaborative effort between Cambodia, China, Lao, Myanmar, Thailand,
and Vietnam to promote the Greater Mekong Subregion as a single tourism destination.
Tag with #TourismMekong - Follow us @TourismMekong
Copyright © 2016 Mekong Tourism, All rights reserved.

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