Thursday, April 1, 2010

Mekong Tourism Forum Set for Siem Reap, May 7-8

01 Apr, 2010

This year's Mekong Tourism Forum will be held on May 7-8 the Angkor Century Resort and Spa, near to Angkor Wat the awe-inspiring Cambodian UNESCO Heritage Site.

The Mekong Tourism Forum provides a cooperative platform for stakeholders in the tourism industry to discuss development, marketing and promotion of travel to, from and within the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS). It presents an inclusive, interactive and results-oriented opportunity to encourage public and private sector participation in representing the GMS as a single destination.

"We are looking forward to hosting this influential networking gathering," said Dr Thong Khon, Minister of Tourism for Cambodia. "It will mark the progress of a pivotal business and travel industry forum initiated by the Asian Development Bank 14 years ago," he said.

The theme of the Mekong Tourism Forum 2010 is, "New Roads, New Opportunities". Business and government sector leaders will assess the latest tourism developments and investment opportunities along the regional road networks linking Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and the southern China provinces of Yunnan and Guangxi.

Across the Mekong region, new areas with previously minor or no tourism infrastructure are now opening up along three main corridors: the southern coastal road from Bangkok to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam via Cambodia; the central east-west route linking Northeast Thailand to southern Laos and Hue in central Vietnam; and the north-south Kunming-Bangkok road through northern Laos.

"Today villages and towns along the way are benefiting from the arrival of tourists where there were none before," said Mason Florence, Executive Director of the Bangkok-based Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office. "At the Mekong Tourism Forum we will discuss investment prospects and hear from tourism operators who are already taking advantage of opportunities along the new overland corridors."

During the forum at the Angkor Century Resort & Spa, panel discussions will be held on "Pioneering Mekong Tourism Products," "The Path to Community-based Tourism," "How Sustainable Tourism Can Drive Profit" and "The Road Ahead".

The Mekong Tourism Forum works to achieve three main objectives:
  • To raise the profile of the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) as a single tourist destination.
  • To provide an industry-wide platform for the public and private sectors to address sub-regional tourism issues.
  • To expand marketing networks and opportunities for promoting the GMS and its stakeholders, pool collective resources and create intra-industry synergy.
To help attract small and medium-sized tourism entrepreneurs and a diverse range of travel professionals, the MTCO, in conjunction with Cambodia's Ministry of Tourism, has reduced the cost of attending the Mekong Tourism Forum 2010 to a nominal US$50 for the two-day event and US$30 for members of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA). The registration fee includes access to all forum sessions, including two lunches and two dinners.

Financial support for MTF 2010 is being provided by the Ministry of Tourism, Cambodia, the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office and the USAID-funded ASEAN Competitiveness Enhancement project. Other travel industry partners are providing support in-kind.

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