UNWTO, PATA, ADB and others collaborate to promote secondary destinations, adventure travel, food tourism, community-based travel, river and ocean cruising in the Mekong region
Mekong region: food, cruise, adventure and community tourism in focus at Mekong Tourism Forum
BANGKOK, 26 MAY, 2015 – A new tourism marketing workshop series will be launched 15 June at the start of the Mekong Tourism Forum week in Da Nang, Viet Nam. The idea is to empower Greater Mekong Subregion countries to better promote secondary destinations and multi country holidays.
The Mekong Tourism Marketing Workshop has been initiated by the Bangkok based Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO) in collaboration with the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA).
“We look forward to partnering with MTCO to showcase approaches that will result in strong benefits for communities in the Mekong Delta region,” said Dr Chris Bottrill, Chairman of the PATA Human Capital Development Committee and Dean, Faculty of Global and Community Studies, Capilano University.
Adventure travel, food tourism, community-based travel, river and ocean cruising will all be analysed in separate breakout sessions of the workshop on 15 June.
UNWTO will host the session on river and ocean cruise tourism based on two UNWTO publications: ASEAN River-based Tourism Development and Sustainable Cruise Tourism Development Strategies: Tackling the Challenges in Itinerary Design in South-East Asia.
Viet Nam is throwing its weight behind the workshop idea. The workshop and forum is being hosted by the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism of Viet Nam (MCST), the Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), and the City of Da Nang.
All senior travel industry members from public and private sectors are invited to attend, free of charge. Seats are limited.
“We want to position the GMS as a single tourism destination in a very competitive global tourism landscape,” said Jens Thraenhart, Executive Director of the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO).
Thraenhart said the workshop should become an ongoing activity to boost the new GMS Tourism Marketing Strategy, supported by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and developed in consultation with the tourism industry in the region.
“It needs to be a dynamic and ever-evolving strategy, adapting to changing consumer demands,” said Thraenhart.
The rotating workshop initiative is being supported by additional travel industry heavyweights such as the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), and academic institutions such as the College of Innovation at Thammasat University in Bangkok, and Capilano University in Vancouver.
Promoting adventure travel will be a key theme at the inaugural workshop. In 2013, the adventure travel segment was estimated to be worth US$263 billion dollars globally, an increase of 195% since 2011, according to ATTA.
“It’s a rapidly growing segment that speaks to the trends of authenticity and meaningful experiences,” said Shannon Stowell, President & CEO of ATTA, who describes the sector as “high value, low impact” when done right.
Food tourism as a prime reason to travel will also be a part of the workshop. “Local cuisine is generating a great deal of interest as a tourism motivator in its own right,” said John Koldowski, Professor at the College of Innovation at Thammasat University in Bangkok.
“Given that the GMS has such a rich diversity of food produce and culinary preparation styles, it makes sense to consider how this interest can be best leveraged to attract visitors to both the rural and urban centres of the GMS,” he said.
The Mekong Tourism Forum 2015 takes place at the Hotel Novotel Danang Premier Han River, 15-19 June with the marketing workshop taking place on the afternoon of 15 June.
Attendance is free to genuine travel industry stakeholders who register online.
For further information, agenda and registration, visit: MekongTourismForum.org.
Download the entire program in PDF
About Mekong Tourism:
The 2015 Mekong Tourism Forum in Da Nang, Viet Nam from June 15-19, features four events during four days, at zero cost registration free, including the Mekong Tourism Marketing Workshop, the Mekong Tourism Social Media Boot Camp, the Mekong Tourism Investment Summit, and the main Mekong Tourism Symposium to focus on bring public and private sector together to collaborate, discuss, and debate on key issues to position the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) as a single tourism destination, promoting multi-country travel to secondary destinations. In addition, MTF15 will provide engaging networking, beautiful evening functions, a movie screening of an award-winning feature film, cooking demonstrations by Koto students during breaks, and a host destination ranked as one of the top ten beach destinations in the world. Don’t miss out: reserve your place, and register for free at www.mekongtourismforum.org. Please like us on Facebook and Instagram, and follow us on Twitter and Pinterest: @TourismMekong. Use hashtags #TourismMekong and #MTF15.
What’s happening this MTF 2015?
1. Mekong Tourism Marketing Workshop (in collaboration with UNWTO, PATA, ATTA, GSTC, and Thammasat University) – private and public sector collaboration on product development, aligned to the new Mekong Tourism Marketing Strategy, focusing on key themes and thematic routes in the GMS; from food, cruise, and community based tourism, to adventure tourism.
2. Mekong Tourism Social Media Boot-Camp (in collaboration with Digital Innovation Asia) educating the industry on the importance of digital, social, and mobile. The event features experts from facebook, Tripadvisor, Dragon Trail (China), Rezgo (Canada), Guiddoo (India).
3. Mekong Tourism Investment Summit (in collaboration with HVS, Horwath, and C9 Hotelworks) debating investment opportunities, risks, and challenges in the GMS, to create innovative partnerships by hoteliers, airliners, tour operators, cruise companies, banks and public sector.
4. Mekong Tourism Symposium – the main event of the Mekong Tourism Forum focusing on the MTF2015 theme “Unlocking the Potential of Mekong Tourism via Innovative Partnerships”. This year, the Mekong Tourism Symposium” is emceed by award-winning author, and TV host and travel journalist Peter Greenberg of CBS News.
5. Movie Screening: Gringo Trails – introduced by the film’s director and producer, movie screening of the award-winning feature film “Gringo Trails”, showing the unanticipated impact of tourism on cultures, economies, and the environment.
6. Post Tours – exciting tours to explore the region, including Da Nang City (including Marble Mountains and Son Tra Peninsula), Hoi An City (a beautiful UNESCO heritage town), Ba Na Hills, and the Cotu Ethnic Minority Community Village (one of Vietnam’s most authentic hill tribes).