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Dear Mekong Tourism stakeholder,

Registration is OPEN for Mekong Tourism Forum 2017, "Prosper with Purpose".
To take place June 6-9 in Luang Prabang, Laos, MTF 2017 promises to deliver interactive topical sessions hosted at multiple experiential venues in and around the UNESCO World Heritage-listed town. Indeed Luang Prabang is the venue for MTF 2017!

In partnership with our hosts, the Ministry of Information, Culture, & Tourism, Lao PDR and Tourism Luang Prabang, we are keen to demonstrate that smaller towns in the Mekong region can compete for MICE. There are of course more moving parts than a single-venue event and it takes greater effort, communication, and collaboration to produce, but we are delighted with how it's coming together. We are sure you will enjoy it. So don't miss out! Capacity is limited. Register now.
I am in Berlin this week for ITB. Don't forget to say hello at the very first "mini" Mekong Tourism Forum at ITB Berlin tomorrow.

MTF@ITB Berlin 2017, "Prosper with People" will take place on Wednesday, March 8, 15:30-16:45 in Raum Regensburg (Hall 4.1), immediately after a Mekong Tourism Networking Reception sponsored by GIZ at 14:30 in Raum Weimar 3 (Meeting Bridge B / between Hall 4 and Hall 7).

In addition to discussing human capital development, we will pre-launch the new 10-year GMS Tourism Sector Strategy 2016-2025. Everyone attending ITB Berlin is welcome to attend our session. See you there!

Read more about MTF@ITB here.

Mekong Innovative Startups in Tourism (MIST) applications close March 19.
New tourism ventures based in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam, and more mature startups who want to enter those emerging markets can apply to the MIST Startup Accelerator and the MIST Market Access Accelerator until March 19. Finalist's pitches will take place at Mekong Tourism Forum 2017, "Prosper with Purpose".

Read more about MIST here.

We look forward to hearing from you as always, and hope you enjoy this week's newsletter. And remember: sharing is caring.

Have a great week!
Jens Thraenhart
Executive Director, MTCO

News & Articles of the Week

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

Mekong Tourism Forum at ITB Berlin: Tourism’s Got Talent?
The most valuable resource in tourism is human, according to Jens Thraenhart, who explains why people are a top priority for a tourism-based economy ... Read more about it.

International Accessible “Tourism for All” Standards in Two Years?
New international standards for accessible tourism, ISO 21902, are expected to be approved in 2018 and promulgated in 2019 ... Read more about it.

Should Elephant Riding be off the Tourism Menu?
Elephant riding and performances are still common in the Mekong Tourism region and steps are being taken to discourage the practice ... Read more about it.

Myanmar to Cooperate in Lancang-Mekong River Tourism
China was Myanmar's second most important tourism source market last year. About 500,000 Chinese visited in 2016; significantly lower than in 2015 ... Read more about it.

Cambodia, Laos to Create Cross-River Tours
Cambodia and Laos, in a bid to promote bilateral tourism, will create joint tour packages to facilitate visits to both countries ... Read more about it.

Cambodia Tourism Earns $3.4 Billion in 2016, Outbound up 20%
Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen said the country’s tourism sector earned $3.4 billion in 2016 and cited peace and political stability as prerequisites ... Read more about it.

Cambodia Pursues Inclusive, Clean, Green Tourism
Cambodia PM Hun Sen has also called on the country’s hospitality sector to use more locally-grown produce to improve rural economies ... Read more about it.

Is Vietnam’s Hotel, Resort Oversupply Overblown?
Vietnam’s resort and second-home segment boomed in 2015 and 2016. In 2017, stakeholders differ on whether or not there is an oversupply ... Read more about it.

Vietnam Tourism to Levy Foreigner Fee in Hotels
To raise funds for a tourism development fund, VNAT plans to impose extra fees on foreign tourists who stay at the country’s hotels ... Read more about it.

“Green Tourism” Trending in Vietnam
“Green tourism” is becoming a buzz-phrase in Vietnam, however there is a deficit of product development and marketing know-how in the country ... Read more about it.

Yunnan Vice-Governor Victim of Dodgy Tourism Practices
Before Spring Festival, Chen Shun, vice-governor of Yunnan province, launched a low-key inspection of the province’s tourism industry and was shocked ... Read more about it.

Doors Open to Princely Kengtung in the Golden Triangle
Easier overland access from Thailand could see more intrepid visitors discover the quaint town of Kengtung, Myanmar and its hinterland hill tribes ... Read more about it.

Mekong Innovative Startup Tourism (MIST)

MIST Helps Tour & Travel Tech Businesses Launch in the Mekong
Do you have a tourism business plan for Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar or Vietnam? Prepare for takeoff. MIST accelerator applications open until March 19 ... Read more about it.

Also join MIST's Facebook discussion group.

Recent Additions to the Mekong Tourism e-Library

ADB Releases CLMV Tourism Sector Assessment (2016-2018)
Documenting the strategic investment priorities of the Asian Development Bank and Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, & Vietnam in the tourism sector, the new report highlights performance and constraints as well as past and future plans ... Download for free.

Thai Tourism Resort Islands Enjoy Solid 2016
Thailand's resort islands of Samui and Phuket enjoyed solid arrivals growth in 2016, which has implications for their respective hotel markets. C9 hotelworks’ recent contributions to Mekong Tourism’s e-library take a closer look ... Read more about it. Greater Mekong Subregion: Twenty Years of Partnership
A 2012 publication by the Asian Development Bank, "presents images that illustrate the progress and challenges of 20 years of work in the Greater Mekong Subregion [by] everyone who has labored to make the GMS what it is today" ... 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.


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:

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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