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The Ministry of Information, Culture, and Tourism of Lao PDR has launched their new travel inspirational platform ‘Inspiring Laos’ to provide capacity building for the industry and inspire travellers with user-generated content.
The Ministry of Information, Culture, and Tourism of Lao PDR (Tourism Laos) and the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO) have worked together to launch ‘Inspiring Laos’, a new social commerce web platform that aims to inspire tourism across all regions of Lao PDR and in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS).
Developed by UNWTO Affiliate Member Chameleon Strategies, Inspiring Laos was built upon a six-month working partnership between Tourism Laos and the MTCO, and driven by cutting-edge social commerce management system ENWOKE.
By using the ENWOKE technology, Inspiring Laos encourages residents and travellers to share visual experiences on their own social media accounts, including Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest by tagging their photos and videos with relevant experience hashtags in Laos.
Following the example of Mekong Tourism’s Mekong Moments campaign, which is also part of the ENWOKE network of platforms, Inspiring Laos can effectively promote new destinations and experiences as well as drive exposure and bookings to existing businesses, especially for smaller travel operators.
“We recognise that our exciting travel experiences are only possible due to the hard work of the many small and medium-sized enterprises, from accommodation providers, restaurants, tour operators, shops, and attractions,” said Mr. Sounh Manivong, Director General of the Tourism Marketing Department with Tourism Laos.
One of Tourism Laos’ key mandates as a new high-season approaches, Director General Manivong adds, is stimulating inclusive growth to help spread tourism wealth to secondary destinations, which he noted is hoped to mitigate the risk of over tourism in prime areas. Inspiring Laos was built to assist this effort by encouraging travellers to quickly and easily share experiences of second-tier destinations and experiences on their own social media channels and inspire other travellers to explore less well-known regions of Laos.
“We are pleased to cooperate with the Tourism Laos in launching the travel inspiration platform Inspiring Laos,” said MTCO executive director Jens Thraenhart.
“Being in line with the Visit Laos Year 2018 tourism initiative, we were eager to support Tourism Laos’ goals by sharing our experience with collaborative social commerce platforms such as Mekong Moments. We believe this will drive business to smaller, lesser-known sustainable travel destinations, which will effectively shed light on new and soon-to-be popular treasures for tourists.”
Visitors of Inspiring Laos will be able to map out their entire trip to Laos as the platform offers all the necessary fundamental planning information in addition to its lattice of user-generated content. Interested travellers will also be able to search for destinations and experiences by ‘region’ and ‘area of interest’ (e.g. Luang Prabang, Vientiane, Pakbeng, Savannakhet, etc.) enabling a completely custom and shared experience.
Furthermore, the Inspiring Laos platform also allows visitors to search more specifically by using an interactive map marked with clickable pinpoints. Destinations and experiences can be filtered by eight different ‘Traveller Types’ – ADVENTURE, HERITAGE, WELLNESS, FOOD, NATURE, BUDGET, LUXURY, and FAMILY. By clicking one of these filters, visitors can find experiences that are best suited for their style of travel.
Inspiring Laos was officially unveiled to the public on October 18 during an invite-only media event held at ITB Asia 18 in Singapore.
Title Photo: The ‘Inspiring Laos’ web platform features aggregated social media content and an interactive map function for easier exploration, sourcing and trip planning.
About Laos Tourism
Tourism Laos is a public-private sector collaboration that seeks to develop a leading sustainable tourism industry that contributes to pro-poor local economic development, and enables Laos to become one of the preferred regional and global tourism destinations.
Mandated through a national destination management plan, the Marketing and Promotion Taskforce is a collaboration and accountability structure that includes representatives of the Lao Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism (MICT), private sector tourism and hospitality leaders as well as donors such as the ADB-funded TIIGP (Tourism Infrastructure for Inclusive Growth Project), New Zealand Aid, SwissContact, GIZ and others.
One of the key outputs of this taskforce has been the drafting of the Lao National Tourism Marketing Strategy 2019-2022 which, after a year of comprehensive stakeholder engagement, is due for final ratification in November 2018. Written on behalf of MICT by Dominique le Roux, building on branding consultancy work by hospitality brand specialists QUO Global, the strategy initiates some fundamental shifts in the way the destination presents its value and assets.
In keeping with the UNWTO theme of ’Tourism and the Digital Transformation’ for World Tourism Day 2018, the first of these shifts is a move to digital. Not only is the new strategy catalysed by digital evidence of the key experiences that real, self-selected travellers choose to share publicly online, but the means of communication by MICT and the wider Laos tourism industry will shift to more appropriate and coherent digital platforms.
The other key shift is a focus on differentiating Destination Laos from its neighbours, and highlighting the unique value the country offers for both regional itineraries as well as a standalone destination. Fundamental to this has been a fresh understanding of Laos’s position at the heart of SE Asia, embracing the traditional values and peaceful and laidback approach to life of its people, and better understanding the experiential nature of its tourism offerings.
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, 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 towww.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.
ENWOKE is a Software as a Service (SaaS) modules that enables collaborative social commerce. The first implementation of ENWOKE is in Mekong Moments, a public-private partnership with the governments of China, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam through the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO). Mekong Moments is a capacity building platform, allowing any tourism business or provider of services – regardless of size – to run social media campaigns, consolidate social content, have personalized websites, partake in knowledge exchange and build a collaborative content cloud to promote the region overall. For consumers, it is a travel-inspirational platform to find user-generated visual and authentic content about destinations and experiences, matching their personal traveller type. It helps them to find niche experiences, plan their trips and connect with friends and like-minded travellers.
Please visit www.enwoke.com for more information.
About Chameleon Strategies
Founded in 1999, Chameleon Strategies is an innovative strategy think tank incorporated in Bangkok, Vancouver, and Hong Kong. By leveraging leading technology and expertise, Chameleon Strategies can assist clients to adapt to a rapidly changing world while empowering them to garner high levels of customer engagement and service innovation.
The organisation’s principals have had senior engagements with national tourism organisations and hotel brands in the Asia Pacific, North America and Europe, as well as in the founding of travel technology and marketing ventures in China and Southeast Asia. Since 2008, Chameleon Strategies has been a proud UNWTO Affiliate Member.
Please visit www.chameleonstrategies.com for more information.
Chameleon Strategies is an innovative ‘Strategy Think Tank’ that helps its clients to capture and execute on emerging trends, including technology, digital marketing, customer relationship management, blogger and influencer marketing, sharing economy and peer-to-peer business models, data, as well as adapt to the growing influence of the Asian consumer on an international market place.