Beside the large Mekong Tourism Forum which is hosted every year in a member country of the Greater Mekong Sub-region, a smaller shorter edition has been hosted for the last three years in Berlin during ITB with the support of PATA and the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office. A fourth edition is confirmed for 2020.
Produced by Destination Mekong, the third Mekong Tourism Forum at ITB Berlin was organized by the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO) in partnership with the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and the support of ITB Berlin.
“We have been very happy with the output of the event, especially as we continue to vie for a sustainable community-based, inclusive tourism, encouraging players in the region to create unique products which are beneficial for local communities,” explained Jens Thraenhart, Executive Director for the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office in Bangkok. The office is in charge of tourism for the six Mekong member countries (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and the Chinese provinces of Guangxi and Yunnan).
The theme of the 2019 Mekong Tourism Forum at ITB Berlin was ‘Leveraging Visual Storytelling to Promote Destinations and Effect Change’. The subject was leaning into the MTCO’s growing reputation of promoting and empowering regions through different visual storytelling means.
Participants to the forum included prestigious speakers such as BBC Worldwide Mr. John Williams, GLP Films CEO Mr. Rob Holmes, Lonely Planet Author & Hanuman Films Cambodia Producer Mr. Nick Ray, and PATA CEO Dr. Mario Hardy to collectively showcase how visual storytelling and film can impact destination tourism.
“We love the way a video can give new life to our most extraordinary Mekong memories, but visual storytelling can also effect turn us into more conscious travellers,” told Jens Thraenhart.
“It’s the reason why we started our Mekong Mini Movie Festival—to celebrate those inspiring and stunning Mekong moments. And we appreciate our partnership with ITB as well as PATA to give us a platform to drive sustainable and inclusive tourism in the Greater Mekong Subregion, I can already confirm that we will be back in 2020,” he added.
More details to come for the Mekong Tourism Forum in Dali
Meanwhile, the MTCO is now working hard on the annual Mekong Tourism Forum which will be hosted between May 28 and 30 in Dali and Xizhou, in China’s province of Yunnan. The earlier date – the Forum is generally hosted in mid- or late June-has been set by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of PR China and the Yunnan Department of Culture and Tourism.
Conference format has still not been approved yet by the Ministry, but progress has been made with more information to be soon posted on MTCO website. Interested participants will need to check under MekongTourismForum.org to get all the information and to register.