Remote and emerging destinations stand to benefit from the “sharing economy”. This was the dominant topic discussed during a “surprise panel” session entitled “Leveraging Digital” at the Mekong Digital Boot Camp, July 5.
The Boot Camp preceded Mekong Tourism Forum 2016, while the surprise panel was comprised of randomly-selected audience members representing different sectors of the travel and tourism industry.
Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO) Executive Director Jens Thraenhart posited that the sharing economy, as it relates to tourism, is a way for travellers to find authentic experiences and for local residents to supplement their incomes.
He added that the web-based phenomenon allows tourism flows to grow without relying on new infrastructure.
Mr Thraenhart cited AirBnB’s claims that they grow the hospitality pie. For example, there has been huge growth in the number of visitors who stay in the Chinatown area of Bangkok thanks to local people sharing their vacant living spaces with travellers.
A representative of the Ministry of Tourism, Cambodia, which hosted the Forum, said that they were watching and learning from the sharing economy. The Ministry embraces the choice and diversity the sharing economy offers travellers especially if it encourages longer stays.
The Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO) welcomes contributions from experts and writers on the subject of the sharing economy. Click here to discover more about our contributor program.
Presentations from Mekong Tourism Forum 2016 are available for download here.