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Dear Mekong Tourism Stakeholder,

To start, we would like to congratulate Bagan in Myanmar and The Plain of Jars site in Lao PDR to achieve UNESCO World Heritage Status. There are now a total of 27 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the GMS. 

As our annual Mekong Tourism Forum was successfully hosted in Dali, Yunnan, we are now working on our 2019 MIST Event, to celebrate innovation with our annual travel startup competition. MIST is our Mekong Innovative Startups in Tourism program, that is now in its 3rd year, and was established by the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office and the Mekong Business Initiative with funding by the Australian government. Now a priority initiative of the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office, with support from the Asian Development Bank, MIST received over 400 applications over the first two years.

Now in its third year, this time in Bangkok, the MIST 2019 Forum is planned for the second week in October. 10 startups - two startups each from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam - will pitch their ventures to a jury of investors and industry experts. 

Recognizing that travel startups are not just about technology,  in 2020, we plan to launch a dedicated track for social travel enterprises. The dedicated social ventures track within the MIST program will be the first travel social enterprise startup program in Asia, and is in talks to partner with the Booking Booster program by At this year's MIST 2019 Pitch Competition, we already start evaluating travel tech startups and travel social enterprise startups separately. 

We are working with the tourism ministries of the Mekong countries, accelerator programs, and co-working spaces to locate interesting and relevant startups. We also encourage anybody to nominate innovative startups, as well as encourage relevant startups to contact us to be part of MIST 2019.

We invite anybody to join us for the 2019 MIST Pitch competition and the half-day Travel Startup Asia Forum on October 9th in Bangkok, hosted in partnership with ADB Ventures and PATA. Please visit for more information.

Kind regards,

Jens Thraenhart
Executive Director
Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO)

Impressions from events

Arival Asia - Bangkok

Mekong Tourism was a partner of the first in-destination experience event in Asia - Arival Asia. Jens Thraenhart, Executive Director of the Mekong Tourism Board, together with Khun Siripakorn Chaewsamoot, Deputy Governor for Digitalisation, Research and Develpment of the Tourism Authority of Thailand were on a roundtable about "DMOs & the State of In-Destinatino in Asia" moderated by Mario Hardy, CEO of PATA.
Ms Anula Galewska, Responsible Tourism Manager at Urban Adventures features the Mekong Moments platform in her sustainable tourism workshop as a global best practice to achieve inclusive growth and sustainability. 

ASEAN Tourism 2019 - Bangkok

Mekong Tourism was part of the ASEAN Tourism 2019 Forum during the 34th ASEAN Summit in Bangkok to share insights on our opportunities for the six member countries through some of our initiatives such as MekongMoments and MekongMinis at a panel discussion on ‘Digital Tourism’.

UNWTO Brand Development Workshop - Ulaanbataar, Mongolia

Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office was invited to present at the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Seminar on Brand Development, and the Greater Tumen Initiative GTI board meeting the following day, in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
Upcoming Event - Mekong Forum
Upcoming Event - MIST 2019
The Mekong Innovative Startups in Tourism initiative in its third year, is accepting nominations for startups in two categories: TravelTech and Travel Social Enterprises. Nominate travel startups until 31 August 2019 on Selected start-ups will be invited to join the MIST pitch competition with workshops, pitching, and mentorship sessions in October 2019 in Bangkok.
Featured Mekong Tourism Campaign
Remember to share your experiences on your own social media in video format of 60 seconds or less by tagging with #MekongMinis. Be part of promoting the Mekong Region in a collaborative way, and get a chance to win exciting prizes. For any organization, please contact us to learn how you can participate and increase exposure for your business.
Featured shared experiences from
Share your experiences in the Mekong Region on your own social media  (Instagram, Twitter, YouTube), and tag with #MekongMoments #<country> #<business>.  Visit to learn how to list your business for free.
Featured Stories


The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) aims to increase yacht tourism from Europe, especially from landlocked Eastern European countries such as the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland


Two new sites in the Greater Mekong Subregion have been inscribed to the UNESCO World Heritage List. This makes it 27 sites in the six member countries of the Mekong Region. The new sites are:Bagan, Myanmar and Plain of Jars, Lao PDR.


Laos will begin offering electronic tourist visa (eVisa) applications in July this year, allowing visitors to apply for a visa online prior to arriving in the country.

The official website for the e-visa application process is


Shanghai-based airlines are competing with each other to open direct flights to popular destinations in Southeast Asia to cap the rising travel demands amid the Belt and Road Initiative.

Spring Airlines announced on Tuesday to open the first direct flight between Shanghai and Yangon in Myanmar from July 1. The budget carrier will operate four flights weekly that take five hours in a one-way journey, half of the time taken by existing transfer flights.

Recent Additions to the Mekong Tourism e-Library
Baseline Report on the Integration of Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns into Tourism Policies

UNWTO expects international tourist arrivals to reach 1.8 billion by 2030, if not before. A sector regularly outgrowing the world economy or international trade, the tourism sector is already facing the challenge of decoupling its growth from the use of natural resources. Advancing sustainable consumption and production (SCP) patterns is therefore essential if the sector is to contribute effectively to sustainable development.

Download here
Sustainable Routes Linking Royal Development Projects & Tourism Destinations in GMS Countries

The Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) countries have adopted the GMS Tourism Marketing Strategy and Action Plan 2015-2020 which focuses on sustainably developing thematic and multi-country products in secondary destinations and jointly promoting GMS tourism products. The focus is in line with the Royal Thai Government’s vision and concept “From the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy to Sustainable Development Goals” based on the philosophy of His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand.

Download here
Featured Experience Mekong Collection Member
The 24-hour Nam Nern Night Safari takes visitors by boat deep into the Nam Et-Phou Louey protected area of northern Laos. Daytime activities include birdwatching and listening to the sounds of the forest, exploring onshore and eating. In the evening the boat drifts silently with the engines off, as tourists scan the riverbank for sambar deer, loris, civets, monitor lizards, porcupines, owls and for those who are very lucky you will see a bear or leopard.
Visit to see all current EMC members.
The Experience Mekong Collection (EMC) curates small businesses that focus on sustainable and responsible practices to create a unique experiences for guests. Anybody can nominate businesses to be included in the Experience Mekong Collection, and an advisory board of tourism experts vets nominations for integrity and relevance. In partnership with Mahidol University, each year, one business per country (six in total) is selected to be one of the Experience Mekong Collection Showcases, with case studies to highlighting the nature and innovation of the business. Nominate your favorite small responsible business today for inclusion in the Experience Mekong Collection!
Featured Video
Mekong Minis 2019 submission by Alex Broadstock (Instagran: @alex_broadstock, YouTube: Alex Broadstock)
To see our new media page with our latest press releases here
MTCO is active on various social media platforms under the universal handle @TourismMekong. Please
Tag with #MekongMoments #TourismMekong and follow us:
The Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office is a collaborative effort between the governments of Cambodia, China, Lao PRD, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam to promote the Greater Mekong Subregion as a single tourism destination.
Copyright © 2019 Mekong Tourism, All rights reserved.

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