Former UNWTO Assistant Secretary General to keynote the 2016 Mekong Tourism Forum

Proudly contributed by JENS THRAENHART

Company contributor Mekong Tourism Office

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Professor Geoffrey Lipman, former Assistant Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and founding President of the World Travel Tourism Council (WTTC) has agreed to travel all the way from Europe to address the delegates of the 2016 Mekong Tourism Forum with a thought-provoking message by framing authenticity in the context of sustainability.


After the launch of the 2015-2020 Experience Mekong Tourism Marketing Strategy and Action Plan last year, this year’s theme is closely aligned in executing on its promise to position the Greater Mekong Subregion as an authentic tourism destination.


Professor Lipman, wGLipmanho has been active in tourism by pushing policies over the past decades in lobbying for sustainable and responsible development, will underscore that without a Green Growth Strategy that encompasses the Paris 2050 Climate Resilience framework and the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals  even the most authentic experiences, products and destinations will be under severe threat.


Lipman says “Climate Change is existential, repeat existential and if we don’t fix it in perhaps the most water dependent region in the world, we can stop thinking about authentic tourism and start focusing on survival.” He will discuss how the SUN program will help destinations and their stakeholders get a better handle on these dynamically evolving fundamental transformations.


Jens Thraenhart, Executive Director of the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO) said: “We are pleased to have such an experienced global travel and tourism expert address this year’s forum, in a time when consumers are looking for authentic experiences, while rapidly growing tourism arrivals in the GMS make sustainable and responsible practices even more critical.”


The keynote address is scheduled to be followed by a panel, with senior officials from the six member governments, to debate how the governments are managing growth while alleviating poverty via tourism.


The 2016 Mekong Tourism Forum will be hosted by the Cambodia Ministry of Tourism (MoT) at the Sokha Beach Resort Sihanoukville at the beautiful Southern Coast of Cambodia from July 5-7. More information, and the most updated agenda is accessible at Like last year, MTF strives to be as sustainable of an event as possible, and is looking to move from printed brochures to a mobile app.


In order to make it easy for even small and medium sized businesses to get engaged, for the third time in a row, the 2016 Mekong Tourism Forum is free to attend for the first 150 qualified industry professionals, sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism of Cambodia.


Please make sure to register online at to secure one of the 150 free seats.





About Mekong Tourism:
Established in early 2006, the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO) is a collaborative effort between the six countries of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS): Cambodia, The People’s Republic of China (PRC) (Yunnan and Guangxi Provinces), The Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. The mission of the MTCO is to help GMS National Tourism Organizations develop and promote the Mekong as a single travel destination, offering a diversity of good quality and high-yielding sub-regional products that help to distribute the benefits of tourism more widely; add to the tourism development efforts of each GMS destination; contribute to poverty reduction, gender equality and empowerment of women; and minimize any adverse impacts of tourism through the development of a sustainable industry. For more information, please visit, and follow us on social media @TourismMekong.


Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO)
Mr. Jens Thraenhart
MTCO Executive Director
Bangkok, Thailand


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