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Dear Mekong Tourism stakeholder,

Happy New Year! On behalf of the Greater Mekong Subregion Tourism Working Group and the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office, I would like to wish our friends in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand a wonderful week of festivities and family time as you celebrate your traditional new year and the coming green season. May the new year bring with it joy, love, passion, purpose, and prosperity!

Registration is OPEN for Mekong Tourism Forum 2017, "Prosper with Purpose".

About 40 travel & tourism stakeholders participated in a meeting at LANITH Luang Prabang last week to update everyone on the evolving MTF 2017 program.

Mr Thaviphet Oula, Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Information, Culture, and Tourism (MICT) of Lao PDR thanked all the parties who had offered their full support to the event. And I would like to thank him for travelling to Luang Prabang for the meeting.

The Forum theme “Prosper with Purpose” is about responsibly managing extant tourism growth while ensuring that the benefits of tourism are widely distributed. This is why MTF is highly inclusive this year, with contributions from multiple stakeholders in the UNESCO World Heritage town.

Two weeks ago we announced the 16 small- and medium-sized venues that would host our "breakthrough sessions". We will announce other innovative elements soon as we seek to engage many more small businesses in planning and providing for the Forum.

MTF is the Greater Mekong Subregion’s (GMS’) premier multi-stakeholder travel & tourism industry event so it is appropriate that multiple stakeholders from the host town help to plan and host the event.

In addition to inviting Luang Prabang tourism stakeholders to host the Forum, the content itself is being developed by the industry for the industry. Each session will be facilitated and led by an expert organisation in the specific field.

On behalf of our hosts, the Ministry of Information, Culture, & Tourism, Lao PDR and the Department of Information, Culture, & Tourism, Luang Prabang, Mekong Tourism invites you to register. The capacity for each breakthrough session is limited so register early to secure a spot in the sessions you are most interested in.

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:

Vietnam PM to Look into Dangers Facing Mekong Delta
Vietnam will look into human and natural factors as it seeks to fight the problems threatening to sink the country’s Mekong Delta food basket ... Read more about it.

Mekong Delta to Become “Special Tourist Area” by 2020
Measures to realise a master plan for tourism development in the Mekong Delta by 2020 were discussed in Can Tho, Vietnam last week ... Read more about it.

Khlong Yai, Koh Kong Tourism Potential Explored
Since Trat’s Khlong Yai in Thailand and Cambodia’s Koh Kong share a heritage and a border, their potential as tourism destinations is being explored ... Read more about it.

Coordination Key to Developing Tourism in NW Vietnam: VTA
Vietnam has targeted tourism as the spearhead economic sector of its northwest region by 2030, Northwest Steering Committee's Hau A Lenh said ... Read more about it.

Angkor Visitor Numbers, Revenues Stable Since Price Hike
The steep increase in Angkor Wat ticket prices on February 1 did not discourage tourists from visiting but nor  did it reap any significant revenue gains ... Read more about it.

Are Too Many Tourists Visiting Cambodia’s “Killing Fields”?
The number of tourists visiting Cambodia's genocide sites has more than tripled over the last 10 years. But the sharp increase is creating problems ... Read more about it.

Preah Vihear, Cambodia a Hit with Japanese Tourists
The ancient cliff-top temple that Cambodia and Thailand have disputed for years, Preah Vihear, has proven to be an unlikely hit with Japanese tourists ... Read more about it.

Jetstar to Fly Melbourne, Sydney to Ho Chi Minh
Australian budget carrier Jetstar Airways will commence direct flights from Melbourne and Sydney to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam in May ... Read more about it.

Pha Tad Ke Botanical Garden: A “Must-Do” Luang Prabang Attraction
Mekong Tourism Forum storytellers Simon Louvard and Lea Mellon spent four weeks at Pha Tad Ke Botanical Garden, a MTF 2017 Host Venue and post-tour ... Read more about it.

Luang Prabang View: Where Luxury Meets Sustainability
Mekong Tourism Forum storytellers Simon Louvard and Lea Mellon investigate Luang Prabang View Hotel, a MTF 2017 Host Venue & Official Hotel ... Read more about it.

Recent Additions to the Mekong Tourism e-Library

An Overview of Large-Scale Investments in the GMS
Across the Mekong region, ‘development’ has become synonymous with rapid economic growth, to be achieved through predominantly large-scale, private investments. The region's governments prioritise trade and investment liberalisation, and privatisation ... Download for free.

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.

How to Engage & 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.

Donate 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.


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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