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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 town. Indeed Luang Prabang is the venue for MTF 2017!

In partnership with our hosts, the Ministry of Information, Culture, & Tourism, Lao PDR and the Department of Information, Culture, & Tourism, Luang Prabang, we are keen to demonstrate that smaller towns in the Mekong region can compete for MICE.

Represented by MTCO's content & communications consultant David Gillbanks, Mekong Tourism is in Luang Prabang this week working with tourism authorities on a mission to sign up 16 host venues for MTF 2017's innovative afternoon program on June 7 & 8 ... Read more about it.

Mekong Moments’ Campaign Video Wins Award at ITB
The campaign video for the public-private-partnership #MekongMoments social media campaign has won an award (pictured right) at ITB Berlin ... Read more about it.

Our very first MTF@ITB Berlin session, "Prosper with People", and the preceding networking function, were a great success. Thanks to Destination Human Capital and GIZ for making these events possible. And to all the panelists and participants for contributing to what was a stimulating and informative 90 minutes: Thank you!

We will put together a summary report of proceedings for the benefit of our media friends and those who were unable to make it to the Wednesday afternoon timeslot.

Senior officials of GMS governments and NTOs and representatives from the tourism industry during at the pre-launch of the next 10-year GMS Tourism Sector Strategy.
At MTF@ITB Berlin last Wednesday senior officials of GMS governments and NTOs and representatives from the tourism industry celebrated the imminent launch of the next 10-year GMS Tourism Sector Strategy.

LAST CHANCE: 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 ... 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 Launches “Walkabout Forum”: TTR
TTR Weekly has dubbed this year's installment of the GMS' premier multi-stakeholder tourism event as the "walkabout forum". Registration is open ... Read more about it.

Should Asia's Tourism Focus Shift to Sustainability?
Tourism is putting pressure on infrastructure amid calls for sustainability. "The focus now shifts to attracting the right sort of tourist," John Koldowski said ... Read more about it.

Thai University to Establish Tourism Institute in Cambodia
Thailand’s Rajamangala University of Technology plans to set up an institute in Siem Reap, Cambodia to build the capacity of tourism sector workers ... Read more about it.

Yunnan Official Blames SOEs for Tourism Woes
The dominance of state-owned companies is a key reason behind the large number of complaints about tourism in Yunnan, China: top official ... Read more about it.

Led by Airlines, Gulf Investors Eye Potential of Cambodia
Cambodia has been largely overlooked by the Middle East but there are signs of change with the major Gulf airlines leading the way, reports Forbes ... Read more about it.

Is the Sun Setting on Bagan Temple Climbing?
To prevent damage to heritage, Myanmar is mulling a ban on Bagan temple climbing, but "experts" warn of damage to the country’s growing tourism industry ... Read more about it.

Does Tourism Put Mekong River Dolphins at Risk?
Research suggests that Mekong River dolphin-watching can be great for communities, but it can cost the environment, reports The Conversation ... Read more about it.

Is Mass Tourism Damaging Thailand’s Phi Phi Paradise?
Locals on Ko Phi Phi Le in Thailand are complaining about the environmental impact of mass tourism ... Read more about it.

Vietnam Tourism Pushes into India
Vietnamese and Indian tourism enterprises met in Hà Nội at a conference to enhance co-operation ... 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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