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Welcome to the 7th edition of our Mekong Tourism Newsletter.

It has been a busy period, and we are ramping up for the next Mekong Tourism Forum in July in Sihanoukville with the theme "Authentic experiences along the Mekong River."  We have a great program, and the best part: courtesy of the Ministry of Tourism Cambodia, MTF 2016 is free of charge for the first 150 travel professionals that register online. Don't miss it, and register today!

I look forward to seeing you in 2016.
Jens Thraenhart
Executive Director - Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office

Events: Join cultural festivals in the GMS in May
One example: The Royal Ploughing Ceremony, or ‘Bon Chroat Preah Nongkoal’ in the Khmer language in Cambodia. 
Check out other festivals in the GMS by visiting our Events Calendar.
Rides we shouldn't take 
Elephant riding has become a sensitive subject over the past few months with various tour operators boycotting the activity. Read the analysis by our Mekong Tourism contributor TTR Weekly about the subject.
2016 Mekong Tourism Forum announces top speakers
Don't miss WTTC founder and former UNWTO Deputy Secretary General Professor Geoffrey Lipman giving some controversial thoughts when he frames authenticity in the context of sustainability. National Geographic will give inspire MTF delegates with destination case studies that have developed and promoted authentic experiences. Get engaged in the Open Forum when we brainstorm the next 10-year Mekong Tourism Sector Strategy. Enjoy the film screening of award-winning Khmer movie "The Last Reel", with an exclusive discussion with the director and producer. And much more! See the current program by visiting
Featured Contributor Story: Remembering the Charm of Doi Mae Salong
Read the story of the co-founder of niche tour operator Smiling Albino, when he first landed in Thailand from Canada, and was moved by his experiences.  
Partner Opportunity: "The Southeast Asian Traveler" Phocuswright Research 
MTCO and Phocuswright have partnered on a new consumer research project: “The Southeast Asian Traveler” . The Southeast Asian Traveler Project provides insightful research and analysis into what drives these travelers, from dreaming and destination selection through planning, purchasing, experiencing and sharing. The research uncovers general traveler behavior by demographic, spend, incidence, motivation and destination in the key markets of Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. Participation is open to any company or organization that wants to benefit from this fast-growing travel market.  
Please send me an email if you are interested, and we are happy to provide more information, and connect you with the executive at Phocuswright leading this project.
Top 5 News from the MTCO
May is a busy month. Here are some of our activities to engage with industry. If you are not already involved, find out how.
1. MEDIA FAM TRIP: We are organizing a media fam trip in collaboration with the tourism ministries of Thailand Laos, and in partnership with Air Asia, Accor Hotels, Mekong Cruises, and other local partners. we received applications from many journalists and blogger. Media that is interested in joining future fam trips, please fill out the media accreditation form
2. SOCIAL MEDIA: We have now exceeded 1,000 followers on Instagram - almost doubled the number from the previous month. This is an enormous increase, and shows the engagement we are seeing by sharing visual stories about the Mekong Region. Please follow us on social media (links below), if you haven't already - and pass to your friends and colleagues.
3. EXPERIENCE MEKONG ADVISORY BOARD: We are putting together an advisory board of passionate experts to help curate the most amazing responsible experiences in the GMS. We are particularly interested in the hidden pearls of the Mekong Region. The plan is to showcase these experiences, make them accessible to the public, and develop case studies for capacity building and learning in collaboration with the College of Innovation at Thammasat University. Interested to get engaged? Please send me an email.
4. Mekong Tourism Contributor Program: Our brand new Mekong Tourism Contributor Program is gaining tration. We have close to 40 applications, and gradually add new verified contributors to the site. Qualifications are easy: passion and expertise, and willingness to contribute content, from travel stories to tourism business articles. Find out more and become an official Mekong Tourism Contributor, and earn your personal badge after 5 accepted contributions. 
5. SocialMedia Campaign: We are starting to plan our first social media campaign to ask travelers and citizens to share their #MekongMoments on Instagram and Twitter. The campaign is only possible with the collaboration with travel companies, and we are starting to work with some of them (ie Khiri Travel).  We need prizes (in exchange for some great exposure), promotion (ie ask your guests to share their experiences), and any other support. We are looking to launch the campaign in the second half of the year. If you want to get involved, please contact me.

MTCO has activated accounts on various social media platforms under the universal handle @TourismMekong to engage with stakeholders and disseminate content. Please follow us by clicking on the links below.
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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