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Dear Mekong Tourism stakeholder,

Organisation is well underway for Mekong Tourism Forum 2017, "Prosper with Purpose", which will take place June 6-9 in Luang Prabang, Laos.

This year, for the first time, there will be a "mini" Mekong Tourism Forum at ITB Berlin. Themed “Prosper with People” and moderated by Peter Semone of consulting firm Destination Human Capital, the session will explore how the tourism industry in our Mekong region is tackling the challenges – and achieving success – in the crucial area of human resource/capital development. Participating organisations will include GIZ, UN ITC, Dream Hotel Group, Myanmar Tourism Federation, Namkat Yola Pa Resort Laos, Tiger Trails, and Bangkok Airways. The NTOs of Thailand, Cambodia, Viet Nam, and Myanmar will also offer insights into how HCD/HRD is driving investment and tourism spend.

MTF@ITB Berlin 2017 will take place on Wednesday, March 8, 15:30-16:45 in Raum Regensburg (Hall 4.1), immediately after a Mekong Tourism Networking Reception sponsored by GIZ at 14:30 in Raum Weimar 3 (Meeting Bridge B / between Hall 4 and Hall 7). Everyone attending ITB Berlin is welcome to attend both events. We are particularly keen to meet with those based outside the Mekong region who also view HCD as a challenge and are keen to share their experiences. Read more about it here.

A reminder: Mekong Innovative Startups in Tourism (MIST) has opened applications to new tourism ventures based in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam (the MIST Startup Accelerator) and to more mature startups who want to enter those emerging markets (the MIST Market Access Accelerator). Applications close March 19. Read more about it here.

We look forward to hearing from you as always, and hope you enjoy this week's newsletter. And remember: sharing is caring.

Have a great week!

Jens Thraenhart
Executive Director, MTCO

News & Articles of the Week

News & articles that caught our attention over the past week:

Mekong Tourism at ITB: Human Capital a “Strategic Pillar” of Mekong Tourism
For the tourism industry to be responsible, sustainable, high-yielding, and inclusive, it must view human capital development as a “strategic pillar” ... Read more about it.

ASEAN at ITB: Culture, Cocktails, Fashion, and a Chat
ASEAN tourism will be celebrating its 50th anniversary at ITB Berlin this year with cultural shows at members' pavilions and two invitation-only events ... Read more about it.

Four Countries, 11 Provinces Join Upper Mekong Tourism Co-op
Eleven provinces from four countries in the upper Mekong basin have agreed to sign a sustainable tourism development cooperation agreement ... Read more about it.

DMC Hopeful following Myanmar, Thailand Deal
The head of a Myanmar DMC is hopeful that a new agreement between Thailand and Myanmar will lead to greater cross-border tourism opportunities ... Read more about it.

ADB Studies Cambodia’s Beach Tourism
The Asian Development Bank is funding a study on the development of beaches in Sihanoukville province for Cambodia’s Ministry of Tourism ... Read more about it.

Millions Go to Guangxi to Learn the Secrets of Longevity
China’s Guangxi region is known as the “home of long life”. Millions of tourists will visit this year and the government is keen to curb the negative impacts ... Read more about it.

China’s New Religious Pilgrims Flock to Yunnan
Buddhist tourism is encouraging the Bai, Dai, Tai, Naxi and Tibetan tribal peoples to be "as ethnic as they can for the delectation of Han Chinese" ... Read more about it.

Son Tra Mountain Named Vietnam National Tourism Site
Son Tra Mountain in Vietnam, "a lung for Da Nang", will become a national tourism site that will host a “luxury eco-tour resort complex” by 2030 ... Read more about it.

Thai January Tourism Arrivals up 6.5%, Revenue up 12%
International arrivals in Thailand rose 6.5% in January y-o-y. The number of visitors from China recovered despite the crackdown on “zero-dollar” tours ... Read more about it.

Hotels in Oversupply in Cambodia?
As investment in Cambodia’s construction sector continues to surge — a record $8.53 billion last year — the boom is causing problems for boutique hotels ... Read more about it.

Vietnamese Wind Energy Farmers Explore Ecotourism
A wind energy group is planning to develop ecotourism at wind farms in Vietnam to raise funds and further develop clean energy ... Read more about it.

Recent Additions to the Mekong Tourism e-Library

Thailand Tourism Forum 2017 – STR Presentation – Thai Hotel Trends
A Thailand Tourism Forum 2017 presentation delivered by Jesper Palmqvist of STR on Thailand's accommodation sector performance plus comparisons to other ASEAN markets ... Download for free.

ITB World Travel Trends Report 2016/2017
This new report by IPK covers predictions for global tourism growth and its sources; the Mekong tourism region; the influence of terror threats on travel behavior; the development of the Chinese outbound market; and trends in the sharing economy ... Download for free.

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 Innovative Startup Tourism (MIST)

MIST Helps Tour & Travel Tech Businesses Launch in the Mekong
Do you have a tourism business plan for Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar or Vietnam? Prepare for takeoff. MIST accelerator applications open until March 19 ... Read more about it.

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
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