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Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office prepares for 2nd annual Experience Mekong Collection Showcase
The Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office is calling for public nominations for responsible and sustainable travel experiences in the Greater Mekong Subregion as the second annual Experience Mekong Collection Showcase approaches.
BANGKOK, October 18, 2018 – The Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO) is inviting the public to nominate their favourite Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) small businesses on www.experiencemekong.org to determine next year’s 2019 Experience Mekong Collection Showcase. The nomination deadline is December 1, 2018.
Results gleaned from this year’s collection showcase revealed a strong rooting interest from the public as nearly 80 small-business nominations were collected in total. During the earlier held Mekong Tourism Forum (MTF) in Nakhon Phanom, Thailand, the MTCO cordially announced its inaugural showcase selections (one per GMS country) for model demonstration in experiential tourism-friendly practices that are sustainable, responsible, and innovative.
“The importance of responsible tourism cannot be underestimated and the ‘Experience Mekong Collection’ is a wonderful way of highlighting examples of good practice,” said MTCO executive director Jens Thraenhart.
“In doing so, this sets several benchmarks to further improve travel experiences in the Greater Mekong Subregion. We hope this motivates other operators to become more involved and do their part for responsible tourism,” he said.
The first-ever showcase featured small businesses committed to sustainable and responsible practices with each of them also being categorized by either ‘DO’, ‘SHOP’, ‘STAY’, ‘TOUR/CRUISE’ or ‘TASTE’.
The 2018 Experience Mekong Collection Showcase selectees stand as follows:
Cambodia: Phare, the Cambodian Circus (Do category) showcases a theatre-style attraction for guests and tourists. The circus illustrates Cambodian folklore through interpretive dance, mix-theatre performances and music. The hour-long show puts a focus on history, touching on themes strong in Cambodian tradition.
As a natural oasis, China: Longji Rice Terraces Guangxi (Do category) also called the Dragon Backbone’s Rice Terraces, this natural mountainous staircase began construction in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) and continued until completion during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
Lao PDR: Ock Pop Tok (Shop category) was showcased as a socially and environmentally conscious retail destination for textile lovers. Founded in 2000, Ock Pop Tok was established on principles of fair trade and sustainable business practices.
Myanmar: Inle Heritage Place (Stay category) is a not-for-profit organization that aims to preserve the cultural and natural heritage of the Inle Lake in Myanmar. The hotel is aligned to the training school, educating young local residents from the surrounding villages.
Thailand: Local Alike (Tour category) was recognized for its online practice that helps users find curated travel tours in local communities across Southeast Asia. Local Alike works with locals in many different communities to build authentic travel packages.
Lastly, Viet Nam: Koto (Taste category) is a restaurant doubled as a social enterprise and as a result. Located in Ha Noi, this Vietnamese restaurant has empowered hundreds of disadvantaged youth by offering culinary training completely free of charge. Over its history, Koto has trained over 670 students and currently have more than 200 enrolled.
In addition to being honoured at this year’s MTF, representatives of the showcase selectees had a chance to speak to delegates about the positive impact their experience has impressed on not only tourists but also on local residents as well – a big component of the Experience Mekong Collection initiative.
The 2018 showcase attractions were each examined in great detail in regard to its practices, tangible impact on the environment and social climate, and its financial viability. Case studies on each of the 2018 experiences were developed by students of the Mahidol University International College in Thailand. Summarised and well-designed snippets of these case study reports were presented at MTF 2018 and more recently at ITB Asia 2018 in Singapore.
The reports will be published as Mekong Trends white-papers, aligned with the upcoming Mekong Trends Snapshot on ‘Sustainable Tourism’.
All members of the Experience Mekong Collection are highlighted on a feature page on www.mekongmoments.com in addition to being recognized by a certified badge reflecting its responsible and sustainable practice. Other benefits for members include a free booth at next year’s MTF and discounted rates on sales and marketing services from industry partner Oriental Hospitality Solutions.
Title Photo: Becoming one of the most important textile and artisanal institutions in all of Lao PDR and Southeast Asia, 2018 Experience Mekong Collection Showcase selectee Ock Pop Tok now has a full team of over 78 employees working for their cause.
For further information please contact:
About the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office:
The Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO), located in Bangkok, was set up with funding from the governments of the six Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) countries – Cambodia, the People’s Republic of China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. The MTCO, which operates on annual financial contributions from each GMS country, acts as the secretariat for the GMS Tourism Working Group, comprising of senior officials of the six GMS countries’ National Tourism Organizations, to coordinate and facilitate sustainable tourism development of the GMS in line with the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, and promotion of the Mekong region as a single travel and tourism destination, in collaboration with the public and private sectors. The MTCO manages its award-winning MekongTourism.org digital platform as a one-stop platform to promote responsible and sustainable tourism in the region, as well as the annual Mekong Tourism Forum, whose hosting is rotated among GMS countries.
Please visit www.MekongTourism.org for more information.
About Mekong Moments
Mekong Moments is a globally unique and pioneering visual consumer marketing campaign and travel inspiration platform that collaboratively promotes the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) as a single tourism destination in addition to driving direct business to individual businesses through social commerce. Regardless of type and size, businesses have encouraged their guests, staff, and stakeholders to share their experiences via their own social media accounts by tagging #MekongMoments as well as the respective hashtag of the experience (hotel, restaurant, destination, attraction, event, tour, shop, etc.). All properly tagged user-generated content is aggregated to www.mekongmoments.com, which in effect, directs traffic to the corresponding websites of the experiences and/or businesses.
Mekong Moments has been carefully planned over two years to meet the requirements of a public-private partnership agreement between six tourism ministries and six companies including IHG, Small Luxury Hotels, Khiri Travel, and Odyssey Tours China with a purpose to create a sustainable and efficient tourism program for the GMS. The initiative is aligned with the Experience Mekong Tourism Marketing Strategy 2015-2020 and the GMS Tourism Sector Strategy 2016-2025. UNWTO Affiliate Member Chameleon Strategies used their web-development technology ENWOKE to build Mekong Moments platform and used significant input from the travel and tourism industry to refine its function and overall purpose.
Please visit www.MekongMoments.org for more information.
About the Mekong Minis:
The Mekong Minis is a unique film festival that celebrates the many faces and experiences of the Greater Mekong Sub-region and promotes the region as a single tourist destination. It is an annual regional tourism marketing campaign with its first instance in 2018, supported by all Tourism Ministries and the private sector in the Greater Mekong Sub-region. The festival is targeted to attract amateur and professional movie-makers and create a large amount of content for the region with promotions and screenings internationally. The Mekong Minis campaign is powered by Mekong Moments.
Complete rules and criteria to enter the Mekong Mini Movie Festival competition can be found at www.mekongtourism.org/mekongminimovie.
About Destination Mekong:
Destination Mekong was created in 2017 to promote the Mekong region, comprising of Cambodia, PR China (Provinces of Guangxi and Yunnan), Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam as a single tourism destination to stimulate responsible and sustainable development and investment, and drive inclusive growth. Endorsed by the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office and aligned with the mandate of the regional collaborative tourism framework of the six-member governments of the Greater Mekong Sub-region, Destination Mekong executes targeted projects and initiatives via public-private partnership investment structures, including Mekong Moments and Mekong Trends, led by UNWTO Affiliate Member Chameleon Strategies.
Please visit www.DestinationMekong.com for more information.
Title Photo: The UNWTO has set the Mekong Tourism Forum as a model for inclusive tourism destinations from a supply point of view, in which inclusion refers to the capacity of the tourism system to integrate disadvantaged groups so that they can participate in, and benefit from, tourism activity.
Support Photo: Eight MTF 2017 ‘Breakout Sessions’ were each held at a unique and experimental location in Luang Prabang, an effort that the UNWTO recognises as a showcase model for inclusive tourism.
About the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office
The Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO), located in Bangkok, was set up with funding from the governments of the six Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) countries – Cambodia, the People’s Republic of China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam. The MTCO, which operates on annual financial contributions from each GMS country, acts as the secretariat for the GMS Tourism Working Group, comprising of senior officials of the six GMS countries’ National Tourism Organizations, to coordinate and facilitate sustainable tourism development of the GMS in line with the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, and promotion of the Mekong region as a single travel and tourism destination, in collaboration with the public and private sectors. The MTCO manages its award-winning MekongTourism.org digital platform as a one-stop platform to promote responsible and sustainable tourism in the region, as well as the annual Mekong Tourism Forum, whose hosting is rotated among GMS countries. In 2017, MTCO initiated the launch of the social commerce campaign and capacity platform www.MekongMoments.com to collaboratively promote the region by engaging businesses and organizations of all types and sizes.
Please visit www.MekongTourism.org for more information.
About the Mekong Tourism Forum
The Mekong Tourism Forum provides a cooperative platform for stakeholders in the tourism industry to discuss the development, marketing and promotion of travel to, from and within the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS). It presents an inclusive, interactive and results-oriented opportunity to encourage public and private sector participation in representing the GMS as a single destination.
Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) organized the first Mekong Tourism Forum in 1996 and led it for 10 consecutive years. The hosting of this influential annual event rotated among destinations within the GMS until 2005. In subsequent years private sector-initiated events around the region continued to work towards the forum’s three main objectives:
- To raise the profile of the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) as a single tourist destination
- To provide an industry-wide platform for the public and private sectors to address sub-regional tourism issues
- To expand marketing networks and opportunities for promoting the GMS and its stakeholders, pool collective resources and create intra-industry synergy.
Please visit www.mekongtourismforum.org for more inform