2016 Mekong Tourism Forum Confirms Top Speakers

The Mekong Tourism Forum will be hosted from July 5 to 7 in Sihanoukville, Cambodia’s largest resort city along the Gulf of Siam in the South of the Kingdom and preparation to host the event is now in full swing.

The Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO) just confirmed a  list of speakers for the 2016 Mekong Tourism Forum to address its theme, “Authentic Experiences in the Mekong Region”.

Tourism ministers, director generals, travel industry CEOs, and leading private sector and development minds will talk about current and future challenges and opportunities facing tourism in the Mekong region. The forum July 5-7, 2016, and is hosted by Cambodia’s Ministry of Tourism.

High profile speakers include HE Dr. Thong Khon, Minister of Tourism of
Cambodia; Mr. Willem Niejmeijer, Chairman of Khiri Travel Group and Yaana Ventures; Mr. Luzi Matzig, Chairman of Asian Trails; Captain Worante Laprabang, CEO of Thai Smile Airways, Mr. Randy Durband, CEO of Global Sustainability Tourism Council; Mr. Rory Hunter, Founder and CEO of Song Saa Hotels & Resorts; Mr. John Roberts, Global Conservation Director of Anantara Resorts & Spas; Mr. Inthy Deansavan,
Managing Director of Green Discovery Laos; and Dr. Ashley Brooks of the WWF Tigers Alive Initiative as well as Lonely Planet author Joe Cummings, to name just a few of the Forum top speakers.

One of the highlights will be the Mekong Tourism Open Forum, led by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which invites the travel and tourism industry to brainstorm on the next 10-year GMS Tourism Sector Strategy. Tourism in  the region changed dramatically in the last decade, driven by exceptional events such as Myanmar political opening, open-sky policies, visa simplication procedures as well as the explosion of the internet, social media and the use of mobile devices.  More recently, sharing economy has been driving further consumer’s demand.

“This year’s theme is focusing on authentic experiences in a time where
consumers are looking to connect with local communities, go off the beaten path to get away from mass tourist attractions, “said Mr. Tith Chanta, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Tourism Cambodia, who will define and direct the debates during the Forum.

Opportunities and threats will be analyzed against a backdrop of growth. ” Tourism demand for Mekong region destinations is storming ahead," said Mr. Jens Thraenhart, Executive Director of the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office in Bangkok. “We need to work together to make sure development is fair and sustainable and that we remove obstacles to growth and poverty alleviation”.

The 2016 Mekong Tourism Forum will be hosted by the Cambodia Ministry of Tourism (MoT) at the Sokha Beach Resort Sihanoukville from July 5-7. More information, and the most updated agenda is accessible at www.MekongTourismForum.org. Like last year, MTF strives to be as sustainable of an event as possible, and is looking to move from printed brochures to a mobile app.

In order to make it easy for even small and medium sized businesses to get
engaged, for the third time in a row, the 2016 Mekong Tourism Forum is free to attend for the first 150 qualified industry professionals, sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism of Cambodia.

Trade players interested to participate have to make sure to register online at www.MekongTourismForum.org to secure one of the 150 free seats.