MTCO endorses Global Travel Challenge 2016

Proudly contributed by JENS THRAENHART

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Entrepreneurship, travel and teamwork merge in a new competition designed to encourage millennials to build their own local tour businesses.

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), in partnership with and with the support of Gobi PartnersFWD Hong Kong and the Seychelles Tourism Board, is proud to launch the Global Travel Entrepreneur Challenge 2016 (GTEC 2016) to nurture entrepreneurship and to celebrate the beauty of local experiences while travelling.

The Global Travel Entrepreneur Challenge is a competition for millennials and young professionals that have an interest in building and operating their own successful travel startup. Young entrepreneurs and students between the ages of 18 and 35 are encouraged to join GTEC 2016 from August 29 to November 15.

“As part of our focus on human capital development and the young tourism professional, GTEC is the perfect platform for PATA to help empower today’s youth and support young entrepreneurs in the travel industry,” said PATA CEO Dr. Mario Hardy. “The competition not only provides funds to five winners to help grow their sustainable travel companies but also, importantly, gives all participants practical hands-on experience in creating a travel business.”

The Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO), comprised of the National Tourism Organisations of Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam, endorses the Global Travel Challenge 2016, and will promote the competition to encourage participation from the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS).  “Entrepreneurship, and human capital development are the pillars of innovation in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), a region home to a very youthful population. This competition can engage young people to come up with the next travel ventures that may drive responsible tourism development in the Mekong region. We are excited to see the outcomes and hope to be able to showcase some of the best participants from the GMS at the next Mekong Tourism Forum 2017, as well as on”, said Jens Thraenhart, Executive Director of the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO).

As part of the competition, participants will form teams of 1-5 members and create travel tours on’s  global travel platform. They run that business at every stage from marketing and promotions to optimisation and operations. Winners will submit a business report to compete for the final prizes.

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The Grand Prize winner wins a trip of a lifetime to the Seychelles, including free round trip flight and two nights accommodation to attend the Seychelles Ocean Festival (December 3-10), where they will receive their award.

Hai Ho, CEO of, said, “GTEC 2016 is designed as a pragmatic launching base for young millennials to experience challenges via travelling and entrepreneurship. To me, the two most blissful and exciting ventures in life are travel and starting your own business at a young age. Through GTEC, you can do both and also do so with full support from experienced entrepreneurs. Join GTEC 2016 to turn your dream into reality.”

David Wong, CEO of FWD Hong Kong & Macau, said, “We recognise the importance of nurturing the young generation and motivating them to pursue their goals. As a challenger brand in the insurance market, FWD aspires to empower these future leaders to live to the fullest and broaden their horizons by working and travelling in one go. FWD values innovation and is keen to develop creative thinking of young talent. We feel excited about GTEC 2016 and we can’t wait to mentor the winners.”

Alain St.Ange, Minister of Tourism & Culture for the Seychelles, added, “I am thrilled by the perfect opportunity GTEC 2016 provides to support young entrepreneurs interested in the travel and tourism industry. This is exactly the kind of collaboration I had in mind when I had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Hardy at the PATA Summit 2016 in Guam. To witness GTEC coming together so soon in partnership with Triip and the other organisations as well as the organisers of our own Seychelles Ocean Festival is nothing less than a perfect win-win situation for all concerned.”

Participant benefits:

  • Build a thriving tour business from scratch
  • Learn vital skills to be an entrepreneur: leadership, public speaking, problem-solving and marketing
  • Meet and greet international customers
  • Get practical hands-on feedback from top entrepreneurs in the region
  • Get a chance to showcase your city’s hidden charm to an international audience

Grand Prize:

  • US$5,000
  • Complimentary round trip airfare to Seychelles
  • 2 nights accommodation in Seychelles
  • Mentoring support provided by Gobi Partners Venture, PATA, FWD Hong Kong and
  • Full support for technology, best practices and marketing from Triip’s elite team

First Place Awards:

  • Best Video and Social Media: US$ 1,000
  • Most Creative Triip: US$1,000
  • Customer Happiness Award: US$1,000

Hong Kong Specific Award:

  • Best Local Expert Hong Kong – US$ 2,000, plus free annual travel insurance coupon (worth HK$1,800), and mentorship programme with FWD Hong Kong and the chance to co-create a travel insurance product with FWD Hong Kong
  • Free four days travel insurance coupon (worth of HK$135) for all Hong Kong creators of tours who participate in the contest

Contest timeline:

  • First round: August 15 – November 15, 2016
    • Individual or Team registration at GTEC 2016 homepage
    • Create and submit your team’s tour on
    • Get your tour approved by Triip (1-3 days)
    • Successfully book and run at least one tour before the contest ends
    • Get at least one review on before the contest ends

All information about GTEC 2016 is available at:

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