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Dear Mekong Tourism stakeholder,

This week I am in Luang Prabang working with the Ministry of Information, Culture, and Tourism (MICT) of Lao PDR; the Luang Prabang Provincial Information, Culture, and Tourism Department; and local tourism stakeholders on planning the upcoming Mekong Tourism Forum 2017.

Pictured: Thaviphet Oula, Deputy Director General of the Department of Tourism Development, MICT of Lao PDR and me during a site inspection Sunday.

Yesterday (Monday) morning Mr Thaviphet and I presented the concept of MTF 2017 to a group of local tourism stakeholders (pictured below) before undertaking more site visits in the afternoon. To take place June 6-8, MTF 2017's innovative format will allow delegates to experience Luang Prabang while they engage with the Forum content. We are happy to report that many local venues and attractions are keen to host MTF 2017 "breakthrough" sessions.

Many travel & tourism professionals I know have yet to visit the UNESCO World Heritage town of Luang Prabang so we are sure that the combination of destination and information
will attract tremendous interest in, and demand for, MTF 2017.

The theme for the Forum will be "Prosper with Purpose".

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
‘The Southeast Asian Traveler’ Trends Report Released
A 20% discount is available to GMS tourism stakeholders who wish to purchase Phocuswright's new report The Southeast Asian Traveler. The report covers tourism trends across demographics, trip types, and destinations, including travel purchase incidence and spend, online information sources, and booking behavior by channel and device.

Click here for general insights and the discount code.

News & Articles of the Week

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

GSTC Releases Sustainable Tourism Criteria for Industry
The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) has released the GSTC Industry Criteria, which had been under development for most of 2016 ... Read more about it.

Should ASEAN Leave Tourism Marketing to the Private Sector?
Critics of ASEAN’s cooperative efforts in tourism believe it may be better off focusing on capacity rather than branding and marketing ... Read more about it.

7m Visitors to Cambodia by 2020 is Achievable: Ho Vandy
There are four factors that Cambodia has to be mindful of to maintain tourism growth and attract more international visitors, according to Ho Vandy ... Read more about it.

US Ban Could Boost Tourism to Thailand: TAT Governor
Thai tourism might get a boost from the Middle East as a result of US President Trump’s entry ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries ... Read more about it.

China Source Market Remains Key to Vietnam Tourism Boom
Tourism arrivals from China in January increased 67.9% from a year ago to a record a high of 247,621; nearly a quarter of Vietnam’s total international visitors ... Read more about it.

Pilot Plan to Fill Skills Gap in Cambodia’s Tourism Sector
Vocational training for high school-aged students interested in a career in the tourism industry will be offered in Cambodia for the first time ... Read more about it.

Vietnam e-Visas a “Breakthrough”; HCM City Looks to Food Tourism
From Feb 1 Vietnam started granting 30-day single-entry e-visas to visitors from 40 countries. Meanwhile, HCM City is looking to food tourism ... Read more about it.

Ethnic Yunnanese Celebrate History in Northern Thailand
Home to thousands of ethnic Chinese, mainly from Yunnan, Mae Salong in Thailand’s mountainous north is being transformed by tourism ... Read more about it.

Angkor Price Hike No Problem: Cambodia Travel Agents
Cambodia's travel agents say that ticket price rises for Angkor will not hurt the industry, but that funds raised should go to infrastructure ... 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 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
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