MTF announces 2018 programme

Proudly contributed by Don Ross

Company contributor TTR Weekly

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BANGKOK,9 May 2018: Programme details for the Mekong Tourism Forum, due to be hosted this June in the Mekong River town of Nakhon Phanom, in Northeast Thailand, were released this week.

The event will be held 26 to 29 June and is mostly funded by Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism and Sports.

This year, the theme is “Transforming Travel – Transforming Lives”, will aim to open participants’ and hosts’ minds alike by connecting and learning from each other.

Considered the annual signature event of the  six Greater Mekong Sub-region countries, the organisers have been tweaking the format over the last couple of years to make it more engaging  and interactive for delegates.

Nakhon Phanom is a vibrant riverside town with a bridge across the Mekong River to Laos and a highway that links Laos and Thailand with Vietnam.

The town’s heritage and culture is primarily Isaan  (Northeast Thailand), but with strong influences from Lao, Chinese and Vietnamese communities who settled in the border town, the latter during the Second Indochina War in the 1960s.

The 2018 forum has three distinct elements.

On Wednesday afternoon 27 June, discussions focus on Buddhist tourism and so-called responsible tourism and the potential to transform travel and people’s lives.

On Thursday morning, 28 June there will be mini keynote presentations from senior travel executives coming from different sectors in tourism. In addition, the second annual Mekong Opportunities & Threats session will focus on key issues that are vital to the industry to develop the region in a responsible way. Presentations will be made young travel professionals all native of the  GMS region.

Thursday lunchtime, 28 June, delegates leave the event venue to study examples in the field that are transforming travel lives.

Delegates have a choice of eight thematic sessions from adventure tourism to religious tourism that will be hosted in eight community-based villages around Nakhon Phanom.

Participants get to experience a traditional village welcome ceremony and an authentic lunch followed by the thematic workshop and an interactive village experience such as weaving, fishing, and other activities.

In order to give back to the local communities, delegates are asked to pay THB 1,200 (around USD 30) to cover expenses for villages such as food, activities, but also to cover the cost of a special traditional shirt presented by each participating village.

This is the only forum expense as the entire two-day event is subsidised by Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism and Sports.

On the sidelines of the forum the awards of the Mekong Innovative Startups in Tourism (MIST) and the Mekong Mini Movie Festival will be showcased.  See

Mekong Tourism Forum is the annual event of the GMS countries; Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

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