Mekong mulls its 2019 meeting moments

Proudly contributed by Don Ross

Company contributor TTR Weekly

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The 2019 annual Mekong Tourism Forum will be held in Dali at the end of May, according to Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office executive director Jens Thraenhart.

He is currently on an inspection trip of the conference host city with officials from the Yunnan Tourism Development Commission and Dali Prefecture Development Commission.

In a Facebook Page post on Saturday he said discussions had narrowed down the conference dates to the “end of May.”

At the close of this year’s MTF hosted 26 to 29 June in Nakhon Phanom in Northeast Thailand, Chinese officials confirmed the 2019 destination venue was Dali, but said questions remained on whether the event should be moved back to its traditional May slot or dates in early June.

Thraenhart said in his Facebook Post, “Dali is truly a spectacular destinations and exciting host venue for the MTF.”

A highlight of the MTF is its optional post-event tours. At the weekend, Thraenhart inspected post trip options, one of them being a visit to Shaxi, a famed market town on the ancient Tea Horse Trail linking China to Europe.

The historical market town in Jian Chuan county, Dali prefecture, Yunnan province, lies halfway between Dali town and Lijiang.

Shaxi’s major tourist attraction is the Sideng market square, which according Thraenhart made the World Watch List of 100 most endangered sites in 2011.

Whether it still remains in danger possibly from ‘overtourism’ and commercial development is likely to crop up as a topic during the MTF next year.

Thraenhart in his Facebook post concluded: “We are planning something very unique, never been done before. Stay tuned.”

But MTF’s avid supporters and potential delegates will encounter some logistic challenges staying tuned if they are not residents in China.

Obtaining a visa is one challenge. It will cost USD30 and requires a visit to a Chinese consulate or embassy.  The passport must be valid for at least six months.  MTF’s host committee in Dali will need to provide delegates with an invitation letter.  Technically, attending an event in China comes under the business visa category.  Visas are valid for a visit of up to 90 days.

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