Mekong Tourism

Forum 2016

July 5-7, 2016
Sihanoukville, Cambodia
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Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office

The Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO) is administered out of the offices of the Department of Tourism of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports of Thailand, based in Bangkok, and was established with funding from the six governments of Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Thailand, which represent the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS). A common goal of both of public and private sectors in all countries is to create sustainable tourism profit. This is achieved optimally by increasing inbound tourism yield, by developing quality products that tourists are willing to buy, and inciting longer stays with enhanced motivation to revisit. Thus, GMS’s strategy is to “develop and promote the Mekong Region as a single tourism destination. In 2014 the GMS welcomed 51.8 million international tourist arrivals, representing a 3% share of the global market.for the latest news, stories, and statistics from the Greater Mekong Subregion, please visit

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Mekong Tourism Forum: The GMS must-attend Conference

The Mekong Tourism Forum provides a cooperative platform for public and private sector stakeholders in the tourism industry to discuss the development, marketing and promotion of travel to, from and within the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), and monitor sustainable and responsible tourism growth. The Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO) has revived the forum in 2010 taking place in Siem Reap, Cambodia, with the theme of “New Roads, New Opportunities”. Followed by MTF2011  “Destination Mekong: The Making of a Star” in Pakse, Laos,  MTF2012 in Chiang Rai, Thailand with the theme of “20/20 Vision: Building on Two Decades of GMS Cooperation”, MTF2013 in Guilin, China with the theme ““The Rise of the Chinese traveller: Optimizing the impacts for the GMS”, MTF2014 in Mandalay, Myanmar with the theme “Tourism investment for the protection of Heritage and Culture”, MTF2015 in Da Nang, Viet Nam with the theme “Unlocking the GMS via Innovative Partnerships”,and MTF 2016 in Sihanoukville, Cambodia with the theme “Authentic Experiences along the Mekong River.”

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Don't Miss MTF 2016

Hosted by the Cambodia Ministry of Tourism (MoT) at the Sokha Beach Resort in Sihanoukville at the beautiful southern coast of Cambodia from July 5-7, the three-decade old event is now free of charge for all tourism professionals. MTF2016 will feature educational and interactive sessions including the Mekong Tourism Marketing Workshop with a focus on authentic experiences in the GMS, the Mekong Tourism Digital Bootcamp produced by DIA/, the Mekong Food Tourism Seminar produced by Bangkok-based Thammasat University, and the Mekong Tourism Investment Summit. MTF2016 is under the theme: Developing authentic experiences along the Mekong River. Optional post-MTF technical tours allow to explore the southern tourism corridor, one of the 11 thematic routes in the GMS, connecting Thailand, Cambodia, and Viet Nam. Don’t miss this year’s Mekong Tourism Forum, which marks the 10-year anniversary of the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office. MTF 2017 will be hosted in Lao PDR by the Ministry of Information, Culture, and Tourism (MICT).

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Developing Authentic Experiences along the Mekong River
Day 1
05 Jul 2016
Day 2
06 Jul 2016
Day 3
07 Jul 2016

Mekong Tourism Digital Bootcamp Opening

Emcee: Theodore Koumelis The Digital Boot-Camp at MTF 2016 will provide hands-on practical training for the travel and tourism industry in the areas of digital marketing trends, social media, mobile, distribution, search,...
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Theodore Koumelis

The Future of Travel Marketing for Small and Medium Sized Tourism Businesses

The Internet, social, and mobile have changed how consumers research and purchase goods and services. The internet has also allowed even the smallest enterprises to compete in a global consumer...
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Clement Wong

Mekong Tourism Sector Strategy Open Forum

In 2004-2005, at the request of the GMS TWG and with the support of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), a GMS Tourism Sector Strategy (GMS TSS) was formulated. The strategy...
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Walter Jamieson
Steven Schipani
Jens Thraenhart

Film Screening: The Last Reel

“A lost film… buried beneath the killing fields… reveals different versions of the truth.” Rebellious teenager Sophoun discovers an old film starring her mother, offering her the chance to dictate...
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MTF 2016 Opening Ceremony

> Cultural Wishing Dance Performance > Opening Speeches by: – HE Yun Min – Governor of Sihanoukville – Jens Thraenhart – Executive Director, MTCO – HE Dr. Thong Khon –...
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H.E. Yun Min
H.E. Dr. Thong Khon
Jens Thraenhart

Keynote Speech

How can the Mekong Region compete as an authentic experiential tourism destination in a competitive world? Professor Lipman will frame authenticity in the context of sustainability – and vice versa....
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Geoffrey Lipman

Keynote Panel

How can the Mekong Region compete as an authentic experiential tourism destination in a competitive world?

10 Years of the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office

While we celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the MTCO, a reflection and review what has been achieved and accomplished by the Tourism Working Group of the six GMS member countries.
Walter Jamieson
Peter Semone
Jens Thraenhart

Keynote Panel: Travel Experiences in the GMS

Moderator: Willem Niemeijer – Chairman, Yaana Ventures & Khiri Travel Group
Lucy Peng
Kyi Kyi Aye
Willem Niemeijer
Inthy Deuansavan
Sokoun Chanpreda
Rory Hunter

Panel: Keeping authentic travel experiences alive

Moderator: Joe Cummings – Editor-at-Large, Talisman Media From children to wildlife, such as elephants and tigers – the Mekong Region makes up of authentic experiences that many times involves children...
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Joe Cummings
James Sutherland
Seila Samleang
John Roberts
Ashley Brooks

UNWTO Report: Mekong River-based Tourism Product Development

The Workshop on Mekong River-based Tourism Development was held in Da Nang City, Viet Nam on 19th November 2015, in the framework of ASEAN – UNWTO tourism cooperation on river-based tourism development...
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Peter Semone

Panel: River Cruise Product Development

Moderator: Peter Semone – UNWTO Consultant
Naidah Yazdani
Maarten Perdok
John Boyd
Peter Semone

GIZ “Destination Mutual Benefit” – Building the Case for Inclusive Tourism

Lessons Learned from tourism companies that have made their business more experiential yet more inclusive and sustainable    
Sarah Schwepcke

Wrap-up of the Day

Jens Thraenhart

Panel: Infrastructure Investment in the GMS

Moderator: Dr. Watcharas Leelawath – Executive Director, Mekong Institute
Kyi Kyi Aye
Luzi Matzig
Watcharas Leelawath
Thourn Sinan
Inthy Deuansavan

Panel: Hotel Investment in the GMS

Moderator: Paola Ornelli-Bock – Vice President, HVS
Victor Pang
Paola Ornelli-Bock
Vishal Daga
James Kaplan
Sokoun Chanpreda
Rory Hunter

Applying standards to sustain experience delivery

Setting and applying standards is a proven approach to ensure excellence in policy formulation and implementation. Sustainable tourism management for both the public sector in managing destinations and the private...
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Randy Durband

Panel: Air Connectivity in the GMS

Moderator: Don Ross – Managing Director, TTR Weekly
Captain Woranate Laprabang
Don Ross
Peter Wiesner
Desiree Bandal

Mekong Food Tourism Seminar: Introduction

Presentation of the Mekong Food Tourism White Paper & Review of the Food Tourism Marketing Workshop at MTF 2015  
Jens Thraenhart

Introduction to Food Tourism

Presentation on global as well as national food tourism related issues, stakeholder management models and the positioning of food within the tourism economy.
Walter Jamieson

Food as a Tourism Experience

Cambodia’s only Master Chef Luu Meng will give an insight how his experience has given him opportunities to bring Khmer culture to the world to inspire travellers via authentic food experiences.
Luu Meng

Possible Strategies and Approaches for Food Tourism in the Mekong

Small group discussions which would provide a brainstorming opportunity to identify possible strategies and approaches for use in the Mekong. Each group will create a report that will recap their...
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Walter Jamieson

Panel: Leveraging Food to position the GMS

Moderator: Professor Walter Jamieson – Professor and Director, Service Innovation Program, College of Innovation, Thammasat University
Sinouk Sisombath
Luu Meng
Walter Jamieson
Jens Thraenhart

Open Discussion and Summary

The role of food tourism and helping to position the GMS. Developing the experience development framework, establishing a promotion approach and supply chain development. Next steps and the development of...
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Jens Thraenhart


Sokha Beach Resort Sihanoukville, Cambodia
Sokha Beach Resort Sihanoukville
Sokha Beach Resort Sihanoukville,
Street 2 Thnou,
Sihanouk Ville,
Kom Pong Som 18204,