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More than 400 delegates joined us in Luang Prabang for the 2017 Mekong Tourism Forum.  Thanks to our host, the Provincial Government, and the tireless support of the Ministry of Information, Culture, and Tourism of Lao PDR, as well as the support of our sponsors and partners, speaker and facilitators. We were able to stage an engaging, inclusive, and purposeful tourism industry gathering.

We were part of an experiment to create a truly inclusive and responsible tourism conference. All sessions embraced the theme of "Prosper with Purpose", important themes were discussed, including child protection, heritage preservation, green-clean cities, gender equality, as well as talent development and community-based tourism, just to name a few.  Even sessions that traditionally focus on growth and demand generation, like marketing and hotel investment, focused their discussions on responsible and sustainable practices. 

Supported by Exo Foundation, we were inspired by Anna Pollock's thought-provoking message that passion and purpose breeds prosperity. Panels moderated by journalist Imtiaz Muqbil explored the future of tourism development in the GMS by considering past learnings. And finally we laughed and cried when native tourism professionals from the Mekong member countries made passionate pitches to focus on key opportunities and threats to drive responsible development in the region. We brought in the youth and the future leaders with MIST, our own Mekong Tourism Accelerator Program to connect promising entrepreneurs and startups with the travel and tourism industry. Their innovation will be the foundation to build a prosperous and purposeful future.  Finally, we tried to make the entire event more purposeful and responsible by saving single-use plastic waste and gave every attendee their own 'limited-edition' refillable MTF 2017 water bottle, supported by GIZ, while session venues dubbed as refill stations. We saved an estimated amount of around 5,000 single use plastic bottles during MTF 2017. 

We took a risk by experimenting with a new MICE model for smaller towns without big hotels and conference centers, and create an inclusive platform for cooperation. MTF 2017 in Luang Prabang demonstrated that by making the destination the venue, and having delegates experience over 16 tourism products, matched with topical sessions, moderated by subject matter experts, true engagement can be achieved. This event was truly an event by the industry for the industry. 

International Media covered the event, and brought exposure to the host destination Luang Prabang and Laos, speakers, partners and sponsors, as well as the Greater Mekong Subregion as a whole. For the first time in the history of MTF, CNN covered the event.

If not before at MTF 2018 in Nakhon Phanom, Thailand,  I look forward to seeing you again soon - hopefully at our first Mekong Trends Seminar on GMS Aviation on October 10 in Bangkok, and welcome you as an active member of our Mekong Tourism Community.

Jens Thraenhart
Executive Director - Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office

Presentations & Photos: Available for free download
Presentations are available for free download at
A new model for inclusive events?
MTF 2017 innovated a new model for inclusive conferences - and prestigious Events Publication CEI published a case study on MTF 2017
Mr. Peter Richards, MTF 2017 session facilitator and International Trade Centre responsible tourism specialist remarked ‘While complex from a logistics standpoint, the organizer’s efforts paid off to create one of the most inclusive and experiential tourism conferences yet by making the destination the venue. This is a new benchmark for inclusive conferences. It was marvelous.’
Excited to Launch the Experience Mekong Collection

The “Experience Mekong Collection” showcases responsible and sustainable travel experiences in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS).  Feel free to nominate any responsible travel experiences in the GMS that you feel should be included in the EMC.  Nominations/Applications as well as listings are free. As a capacity building initiative in the GMS, these best practices are to motivate other operators to learn and get inspired. Officially, we will launch the Experience Mekong Collection at ITB Asia during the CSR Workshop.

More information about the concept and how to get engaged, please visit

In addition, we are excited to be nominated as Best Responsible Tourism Website for the ITB Asia / TravelMole Web Awards 2017. With the launch of the "Experience Mekong Collection & Showcase", we continue to contribute to Responsible Travel in the Greater Mekong Subregion. Please vote for us here - we thank you! :)

Mekong Moments: Start creating your free campaign
As announced at MTF 2017, we are now starting to invite companies to list their experiences on a free website on, and start create their own campaigns but encouraging guests and staff to share their moments by tagging #MekongMoments and #YourExperience when uploading on social media from Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and offering prizes for the most inspiring shared moments. Please visit for more information.
Everybody, please remember to tag #MekongMoments when sharing your experiences on social media (photo & video).

Officially, we will launch the Experience Mekong Collection at ITB Asia during the CSR Workshop. We are also planning an exciting Breakfast Launch Event during ITB Asia. If you would like to get an invite, please send us a message.

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.

How to Collaborate with Mekong Tourism


Contribute Your Tourism Expertise

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.

Tell Your Mekong Travel Stories

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.

Share documents to the Mekong Tourism e-Library

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.
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 © 2017 Mekong Tourism, All rights reserved.

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