The Mekong Tourism Forum bid a farewell to Mason Florence, Executive Director of the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO) since 2009. He should be replaced by Jens Thraenhart Co-Founder of Dragon Trail & TripShow.com and founder of Digital Innovation Asia (DIA). His nomination just needs now to be officially confirmed by GMS stakeholders.
The atmosphere was joyful at this seafood large restaurant in Mandalay. Just like a normal party among friends in a nice restaurant for a celebration. Except that this was also the venue for announcing the official leave of Mason Florence, Executive Director for the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office. The position was held by the Bangkok-based American journalist and also Bangkok 101 magazine publisher for a period of five years.
Myanmar Minister of Hotels and Tourism His Excellency U Htay Aung spoke about the dynamism and strong commitment of Mason Florence to build up the Mekong image and promote it. While ADB representatives praised the strong engagement of Mr. Florence in the revival of the Mekong Tourism Forum and for new launched initiatives such as the development of multi-country trails within the Sub-region. The last MTF about heritage preservation in the Mekong area was very much the brainchild of Mr. Florence.
Florence Mason is likely to still work closely with Mekong countries in the future and be an active participant to forums and events in the region. He leaves his position to Jens Thraenhart, another specialist of the Mekong area and a co-founder of Dragon Trail & Tripshow.com as well as the main enginer to the DIA (Digital Innovation Asia) event hosted already a few times in conjunction with the Mekong Tourism Forum.
Although Jens Thraenhart was not officially presented during the MTF as the new Executive Director, he was already greeted by most delegates as such. He is anyway due to take over from Mason Florence on July 1st, 2014.Photo caption: Mason Florence and Jens Thraenhart surrounded by GMS representatives from Vietnam and Yunnan