The Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office today announced that 10 innovative startups from across the Mekong Region will compete in the Mekong Innovative Startups in Tourism (MIST) competition on 9 October 2019. This year, MIST will be held in Bangkok together with the new Travel Startups Asia Forum. MIST finalists represent two categories: Travel Tech Ventures and Social Impact Enterprises.
Now in its third year with hundreds of alumni, MIST is jointly managed by the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office and Mekong Business Initiative (MBI). MBI and MIST are supported by the Australian Government and Asian Development Bank. This year, the Tourism Authority of Thailand and Pacific Asia Travel Association are also partnering to support the program.
MIST was set up to help integrate Greater Mekong Subregion travel startups into the global travel and tourism ecosystem, promote innovation, and help local firms thrive in the globally competitive tourism industry. Dominic Mellor, head of MBI and ADB Ventures said: “As one of the first travel startup programs created by a regional tourism board, MIST has attracted nearly 500 applications and generated millions of social shares in the first three years. It has elevated the status and prestige of tourism entrepreneurship across the region.”
Jens Thraenhart, Executive Director of the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office added: “Recognizing both travel tech ventures and social impact enterprises, MIST is well-positioned to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals, encourage inclusive and responsible tourism development, and promote gender equity in the Mekong Region.”
On 8 October MIST finalists are invited to the Pacific Asia Travel Association headquarters to network with tourism industry leaders, potential investors, and mentors. On 9 October, the MIST 2019 final pitch competition will be held at the creative space Quaint Brasserie Bangkok as part of the Travel Startups Asia Forum.
After morning MIST pitches the Travel Startups Asia Forum features more than 25 speakers. The opening keynote will be given by H.E. Senator Weerasak Kowsurat, who formerly served as Thailand’s Minister of Tourism and Sports, highlighting the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship in travel and tourism. The closing keynote will be given by the founder of Nok Airlines, Mr. Patee Sarasin, sharing his unique story and insights.
The program was designed to inspire entrepreneurs and learn from successful travel startups in the region, including successful MIST alumni Take Me Tour and Local Alike (Thailand), I Love Asia Tour (Viet Nam), Book Me Bus (Cambodia) and last year’s winner Bamboo Lao (Lao PDR). Delegates will also gain valuable insights from the founders of 12 Go Asia, Cookly, and Tineri.
After the announcement of the 2019 MIST Winner, all delegates are invited to celebrate and network at a Thai Barbecue Party hosted by the Tourism Authority of Thailand.
For delegates arriving in Bangkok on 8 October, the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office, Pacific Asia Travel Association, and Travel Massive invite you to an informal industry networking happy hour at Riedel Wine Bar, Gayson Village, 2nd Floor, 5:30 to 8:30 pm.