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Dear Mekong Tourism Stakeholder,

We would like to wish all our partners and stakeholders "A Happy Lunar New Year of the Dog". 

Last week we had a successful launch of the 2018 edition of the Mekong Innovative Startups in Tourism (MIST) Program at the dtac co-working space in Bangkok. For the first time, the MIST Startup Accelerator is welcoming applications from tourism, hospitality, and travel tech startups headquartered in Thailand as well as from Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Viet Nam. The Startup Accelerator provides support to early-stage companies with innovative and scalable business models. Its 2018 cohort will close to applications on March 10, 2018. 



For anybody attending ITB Berlin in March, we are happy to announce that we were just confirmed that we will have our 2nd Mekong Tourism Forum at ITB Berlin on March 8th at 11am. After our successful 1st Mekong Tourism Forum at ITB Berlin last year with the theme "Human Capital Development", this year the theme will be "Innovations in Tourism Marketing Collaboration - leveraging the power of Social Commerce".  Please RSVP at https://mekongtourism.splashthat.com.



At the recent ASEAN Tourism Forum, we officially launched the first regional tourism marketing campaign in the GMS - the Mekong Mini Movie Festival.  We hope many of you share their experiences in mini movie format, and encourage your guests and staff to do the same. Prizes for country categories will be given out at the Mekong Tourism Forum in Nakhon Phanom during our Mekong Minis Movie Festival on June 27th when we screen the finalists.  As part of the campaign, we also look to raise awareness of the endangered Irrawaddy Dolphins. Don't miss to be part of our tourism marketing movement in the GMS, and please spread the word.  Watch the mini movie introducing the Mekong Minis.

We look forward to hearing from you as always, and hope you enjoy this third newsletter in 2018. 

Have a great week!
Jens Thraenhart
Executive Director, MTCO

News & Articles of the Week

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

PHOTO CONTEST CELEBRATES THE MEKONG RIVER

A selection of 30 winning photographs submitted to the Mekong River Commission as a part of their first photo contest are now online, depicting scenes from the mighty river and the communities that depend on it. ... Read more about it.

VIETNAM SEES DRASTIC GROWTH OF CHINESE TOURISTS

The number of Chinese tourists traveling to Vietnam has topped the four million mark so far this year, almost double the number during 2016. The General Statistics Office of Vietnam (GSO) made the announcement on Wednesday. ... Read more about it.

SPIKE IN CHINESE VISITORS DRIVES TOURISM BOOM

The number of Chinese tourists visiting Cambodia grew by 46 percent last year as China leapfrogged Vietnam to become the top country of origin of visitors to the Kingdom, according the Ministry of Tourism’s annual report. ... Read more about it.

MICE INDUSTRY TIES IN WITH REGION-WIDE TOURISM PROMOTION

The Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) hosted the Asean MICE Conference 2018 at the 37th Asean Tourism Forum in Chiang Mai. Held for the first time in conjunction with Southeast Asia’s most significant annual tourism-promotion event, the conference showcased “MICE Cities”. ... Read more about it.

MINOR HOTELS LAUNCHES A NEW TRAVEL WITH MEKONG KINGDOMS

Minor Hotels is launching a selection of river cruises replete with the colonial romance of river travel but with a modern twist and bespoke itineraries. Mekong Kingdoms cruises recreates and elevates the concept of river travel with their fleet of five vessels where guests can enjoy first-class services from gourmet meals to plush cabins with unique, curated experiences both aboard and ashore along the way. ... Read more about it.

MYANMAR SEEKS TO TURN BORDER GATE INTO INT’L LAND ENTRY POINT

Myanmar is seeking to turn the Chinshwehaw border gate with China into an international land point of entry, Minister of Labor, Immigration and Population U Thein Swe was quoted by the official Global New Light of Myanmar as saying Monday. ... Read more about it.

WORLD’S MOST-VALUABLE AIRPORT OPERATOR IS NOW IN THAILAND

After strong international tourist arrivals in 2017, Airports of Thailand Pcl surpassed Spain’s Aena SA as the world’s most-valuable airport services company. Powered by a 75 percent gain since May 1, the operator of Thailand’s main international airports also passed the 1 trillion baht ($31 billion) market capitalization mark. ... Read more about it.

MORE ASIAN TRAVELERS EXPECTED TO ARRIVE IN 2018

Industry players forecast tour packages from Asian markets to jump 25 percent in 2018 and 2019, while arrivals from European countries could dip by almost 20pc for the same period. U Khin Zaw, advisor of the Union minister of Hotels and Tourism, told The Myanmar Times on January 3 that the change in arrival pattern was due to the Rakhine crisis. ... Read more about it.

4TH SUSTAINABLE DESTINATIONS GLOBAL TO 100 COMPETITION OPEN

To nominate a destination that you think deserves recognition for their sustainability achievements, please e-mail top100@greendestinations.org. The deadline for 'early bird' nominations is February 18. ... Read more about it.

FEATURED MEMBER OF THE EXPERIENCE MEKONG COLLECTION: HANUMAN TRAVEL – SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA

Hanuman has been at the forefront of travel in the Mekong region since 1990. That’s more than 25 years and counting. No-one knows the region quite like Hanuman, as no other company has explored in such depth to bring the best of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam to the world. Hanuman is one of the most respected names in the business when it comes to arranging cultural journeys for discerning travellers. ... Read more about it.

Recent Additions to the Mekong Tourism e-Library

GUIDELINES FOR WATERSHED-SCALE VULNERABILITY AND ADAPTATION ASSESSMENTS (W-VAA) CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION PRACTITIONERS FOR GREATER MEKONG SUBREGION

The Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS1) Environment Operations Center (EOC) of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) initiated roundtable discussions in March 2013 to (1) bring together organizations working on climate change vulnerability and adaptation assessments (VAAs) in the Mekong region. ... Download for free.

GMS TOURISM SECTOR STRATEGY 2016-2025
In 2004-2005, at the request of the GMS TWG and with the support of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the first GMS Tourism Sector Strategy (GMS TSS) was formulated. In 2016, the GMS TWG updated the document to guide subregional tourism cooperation through 2025. ... Download for free.

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 “Mekong Tourism Experts“. In return for regular (non-exclusive) business-, trade- or policy-related content, Experts will receive a range of profile-enhancing benefits ... View and register.

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 ... View and register.

FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA

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:

Twitter: twitter.com/tourismmekong
Facebook: facebook.com/tourismmekong
Instagram: instagram.com/tourismmekong
Pinterest: pinterest.com/tourismmekong
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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