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Dear Mekong Tourism Stakeholder,

The summer is over and we move into the last few months of 2018! But first, a quick look back what happened at Mekong Tourism Forum 2018...

The Minister of Tourism and Sports and the Province of Nakhon Phanom together with the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office welcomed over 400 delegates to Thailand’s Northeastern or Isan province of Nakhon Phanom for MTF 2018, during 25-29 June 2018, with the theme of ‘Transforming Travel – Transforming Lives.’



Please feel free to view the summary video,  and view photos, and download MTF 2018 presentations

The highlight of this year's MTF 2018 unmistakenly were the 8 Thematic Strategy Sessions in 8 community villages. Please read impressions from one delegate, blogger Kate



Another highlight was the 1st Asia Film Destination Conference & the Mekong Mini Movie Festival Screening & Awards. Take a look at the winners of phase 1 - don't forget the campaign is ongoing until November 15, and final prizes will be announced at ASEAN Tourism Forum 2019. 



We also recognised the the Experience Mekong Collection Showcases, a collaboration with Mahidol University to develop best practice case studies. Filter by "Showcases" to view the 2018 selection when going to www.ExperienceMekong.com.

The Mekong Innovative Startups in Tourism program (MIST) showcased the finalists of this year's competition. 

Our Mekong Marketplace always had a great buzz of people exploring and discovering local businesses and startups. The Mekong Marketplace also featured the Mekong Photo Exhibition.



Finally, for the second year in a row, and as probably the first tourism conference in the region, we banned single-use plastic at the event.



To highlight the global issue, we added a special session on #NoPlastic, and encouraged delegates to give their Plastic Free Pledge. We are planning to launching a NoPlastic.Asia site to highlight initiatives, solutions, and best practices. Any input, support, and collaboration is highly appreciated. 



Just to mention a few of the many highlights at this year's MTF.  We are working on a MTF 2018 Post Conference Book that will summarise all the highlights of this year's event.
Hint: Sponsorship opportunities are still available :)

Right afterwards, MTCO headed to China to start planning for the next MTF, which will be held in May of 2019 in Dali, Yunnan. 

Other initiatives included the participation at the ASEAN Heritage Forum, and the announcement of the Heritage website on MekongMoments.com - for launch at ITB Asia.  We also helped organise a successful blogger trip to Luang Prabang as part of the Visit Laos Year 2018.

We look forward in collaborating with all of the travel and tourism stakeholders in the GMS. 

Have a great week!
Jens Thraenhart
Executive Director, MTCO

News & Articles of the Week

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

AIRBNB WELCOMES 5 MILLION VISITORS TO THE MEKONG, INJECTS US$1.67BN INTO LOCAL ECONOMIES

At the inaugural Mekong Tourism Forum 2018 in Nakhon Phanom, Airbnb announced the milestone of 5 million guests in 2017 to the Greater Mekong region, namely Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. This marks a significant 147 percent growth year-over-year. ... Read more about it.

PATA: MEKONG TOURISM GROWS 13%

More than 59 million travellers visited the five countries that are members of the Greater Mekong Sub-region during 2017, according to the Pacific Asia Travel Association’s Annual Tourism Monitor 2018. ... Read more about it.

HCM CITY MEDICAL TOURISM GUIDE RELEASED

The Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism and Department of Health on May 23 released a bilingual Medical Tourism Guide with basic information about travel and healthcare in the city. The guidebook in Vietnamese and English has the names, addresses and phone numbers of 14 health facilities in the city. ... Read more about it.

THAILAND, THE MAINSTREAM DESTINATION WITH NICHE AMBITIONS

Thailand may well be on its way to another record year in tourism, welcoming 13.7 million visitor arrivals in the first four months of 2018, nearly 14 per cent more than the same period last year, but the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) says its international marketing strategy is no longer about pursuing the numbers game. ... Read more about it.

VIETNAM EXTENDS VISA EXEMPTION FOR UK PASSPORT HOLDERS

A visa exemption for UK passport holders travelling to Vietnam has been extended for three years. The agreement covers single-entry stays of up to 15 days and will run until July 30, 2021. ... Read more about it.

TOURISM CREATING WEALTH OF JOB OPPORTUNITIES FOR LAO PEOPLE

The United Nations’ World Travel and Tourism Council unveiled its latest report recently, which indicated that tourism has directly resulted in 114,000 jobs being created in Laos. This is expected to rise to 121,000 jobs in 2028, which will represent about 3 percent of total employment. ... Read more about it.

CAMBODIA’S ANGKOR WAT NAMED AS WORLD’S BEST-RATED LANDMARK FOR 2018

Travel website TripAdvisor has placed Cambodia’s ancient temple complex of Angkor Wat as the world’s No. 1 landmark in the 2018 Traveler’s Choice Awards, the Apsara Authority, which manages the ancient site, said in a news release. ... Read more about it.

CHINESE TOURISTS TO VIETNAM SURGE IN JANUARY-MAY

Vietnam received nearly 2.2 million Chinese visitors between January and May, or 32.1 percent of the total international arrivals, recording a year-on-year increase of 37 percent, the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism said. ... Read more about it.

THE FIRST CAMBODIA TOURISM INVESTMENT FORUM

The overall objective of this event is to strengthen Cambodia’s tourism sector by bringing together public and private actors as well development partners to discuss the important issues relevant to tourism investment. ... For more information & Register.

PATA DESTINATION MARKETING FORUM 2018

The PATA Destination Marketing Forum (formerly the New Tourism Frontiers Forum) stems from the need to help secondary and tertiary areas grow and develop into widely recognised, bucket-listed tourism destinations. ... For more information & Register.

NOMINATE RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL BUSINESSES FOR THE EXPERIENCE MEKONG COLLECTION

The Experience Mekong Collection seeks to showcase the most innovative responsible and sustainable travel businesses in the Greater Mekong Subregion, as part of our Mekong Responsible Travel commitment. Please nominate your favourite businesses. ... Read more about it.

FEATURED MEMBER OF THE EXPERIENCE MEKONG COLLECTION: THE TONGSAI BAY – KOH SAMUI, THAILAND

Apart from the impression of our service, the guest also loves our lush atmosphere and our environmental management practice. Over 60% of our guest is repeating guest. We also have green booking from the new guest who knows us from the website and reviews and select us because of our environmental caring practice and becomes the repeating guest then. ... Read more about it.
 

Recent Additions to the Mekong Tourism e-Library

SECOND GLOBAL REPORT ON LGBT TOURISM

Following the success of the first edition of the UNWTO Global Report on LGBT tourism published in 2012, UNWTO and Affiliate member International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) decided to embark in the preparation of the 2nd Global Report on LGBT Tourism, offering a more extensive analysis of LGBT (lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual) Tourism. ... 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
Copyright © 2018 Mekong Tourism, All rights reserved.


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