BBC featured MTCO for innovative collaborative marketing

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It’s not just the 4350km Mekong River that connects China, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam; as a single entity they are known as the Greater Mekong Subregion.

In June, an innovative social media marketing campaign and travel inspiration platform called was launched, promoting the subregion as a single tourism destination.

The platform, which will officially go live in September 2017, aims to inspire people to research and book travel experiences in the Greater Mekong Subregion, filtered by destination or activity. It’s also a turn-key solution that will allow any business in the subregion to develop their own free social media campaign by tapping into these crowd-sourced visual moments. Shared moments are connected via geolocation to respective experiences, driving tourists to active operators.

“It’s quite a unique platform globally,” says Jens Thraenhart, executive director of the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO). “We call it the first truly collaborative tourism campaign.”

Global dialogue

Countries are realising the importance of working together by sharing information and marketing efforts in developing and promoting tourism.

MekongMoments is just one of many examples of the rising trend of regional collaboration and public-private partnership (PPP) in the tourism industry. The site involves many stakeholders including the six member country governments, six private sector founding partner companies (InterContinental Hotel Group, Small Luxury Hotels, Khiri Travel, Tang Dynasty Tours China, SwissContact and GIZ), and, potentially, many local businesses, consumers and travellers to the subregion who will contribute the user-generated content that will be aggregated on the platform.

“Nowadays if tourism is not developed as public-private partnership, it’s not sustainable,” says Thraenhart.

Tourism is increasingly promoted at the country-to-country level as a method to create shared economic benefits. In 2016, international tourist arrivals grew by 4 per cent year-on-year to 1.2 billion, according to the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO)’s World Tourism Barometer published in April 2017.

“People continue to have a strong appetite for travel and this benefits many countries all around the world, translating into economic growth, job creation and opportunities for development,” says Taleb Rifai, UNWTO’s Secretary-General, in a press statement on the UN agency’s findings.

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