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Dear Mekong Tourism stakeholder,

Organisation is well underway for Mekong Tourism Forum 2017, "Prosper with Purpose", which will take place June 6-9 in Luang Prabang, Laos. As the various experiential venues, interactive topics, knowledgeable moderators, and engaging speakers are confirmed, new content will be added to the Forum website at

Registrations will open on Friday, March 3. Don't miss out. Capacity is limited. Visit
Don't forget our very first "mini" Mekong Tourism Forum at ITB Berlin next week! 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).

We will also pre-launch the new 10-year GMS Tourism Sector Strategy 2016-2025 at MTF@ITB.

Everyone attending ITB Berlin is welcome to attend our session. See you there!

Read more about MTF@ITB here.

Another reminder: Mekong Innovative Startups in Tourism (MIST) has opened applications to new tourism ventures based in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam (the MIST Startup Accelerator) and to more mature startups who want to enter those emerging markets (the MIST Market Access Accelerator). Applications close March 19.

Read more about it 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:

First China-Myanmar Tourism Forum
Myanmar is holding its first tourism forum with China this week: The inaugural China-Myanmar Tourism Cooperation Forum ... Read more about it.

Dual Pricing a Pain Point in Myanmar, Thailand Travel?
Myanmar and Thailand recently signed a MoU to promote tourism between the two countries. Don Ross asks, will it resolve “major pain points”? ... Read more about it.

Yunnan, China Positions as Global Tourist Destination
Yunnan Province has become one of the trendiest destinations in China. In 2017 it's hitting the road to attract international tourists ... Read more about it.

Lao Call to Develop Tourism Products, Improve Safety
Laos' Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism says the country should develop more tourism products and improve transport safety measures ... Read more about it.

Thai Tourism Minister Wants Big-Spending Women
Thailand needs more female tourists — particularly from Japan and India — as they usually spend more than male travellers, according to Minister ... Read more about it.

“Colors of the Northwest” Launched in Lao Cai, Vietnam
“Colors of the Northwest” has been selected as the theme for Vietnam’s National Tourism Year 2017 which opened in Lao Cai city, Lao Cai province ... Read more about it.

Thailand Scraps SIM-Tracking, Extends Free Visa Issuance
Thailand scraps ideas to track tourist SIMs; extends free visa issuance for another six months; and considers opening military facilities to Chinese tourists ... Read more about it.

Myanmar’s Booming Hotel, Tourism Sector
As of January 2017, Myanmar’s hotel & tourism sector received foreign investment of more than $2.687 billion ... Read more about it.

The Woman Who Weaved a Thai Community Together
Villagers of Ban Na Ton Chan community in Sukhothai’s Si Satchanalai district describe Sangiam Sawaenglap as kind, caring and diligent ... Read more about her.

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.

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.

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 “Official Mekong Tourism Experts“. In return for regular (non-exclusive) business-, trade- or policy-related content, Experts will receive a range of profile-enhancing benefits ... Read more about it.

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 ... Read more about it.


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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