Mekong Tourism Sector Strategy 2016 2025
In 2004-2005, at the request of the GMS TWG and with the support of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), a GMS Tourism Sector Strategy (GMS TSS) was formulated. The strategy envisioned the GMS as a single destination, with strong focus on culture, nature and adventure. The intention of the strategy was to inspire not only the governments of the subregion, but also all its stakeholders, particularly in the tourism industry, to promote a sustainable development of tourism, respectful of its people, and cultures, enhance and protect its unique natural and cultural heritage, and fostering poverty alleviation schemes. Finally, the strategy delivered a truly unique Mekong brand of tourism that showcases the subregion’s incomparable beauty, diversity, and spirit, and brings its people a better quality of life.
To work toward the overall goal and objective for the development and management of the tourism sector, seven core strategic programs were identified including: (i) marketing; (ii) human resource development; (iii) heritage and social impact management; (iv) pro-poor tourism development; (v) private sector participation; (vi) the facilitation of tourists to and within the subregion; and (vii) the development of tourism-related infrastructure.
The GMS TSS was first implemented through 29 projects, 13 of which are ‘spatial’ dealing with planning and development of priority tourism zones and 16 of which are ‘thematic’ dealing with specific GMS-wide interventions. Except for the projects involving the marketing of the subregion as a single destination, and monitoring cross-border developments and movements of tourists, all project implementation were undertaken at the GMS country level with one GMS country taking the overall lead, with coordination at the subregional level being undertaken by the MTCO.
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