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After collecting public nominations for responsible and sustainable travel experiences in the Greater Mekong Subregion, the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office has announced its selectees for the 2019 Experience Mekong Collection Showcase.
BANGKOK, January 16, 2019 – Created two years ago to both recognize and encourage sustainable and responsible tourism development, Mekong Tourism initiative the Experience Mekong Collection (EMC) Showcase has tilted its spotlight on six new organisations for the second annual showcase release.
By choosing one organization from each Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) country, the MTCO along with the Mekong Tourism Advisory Group (MeTAG) endorsed and selected “best practice” tourism organisations specifically committed to sustainable and responsible practices. As previously structured, each showcase organisation is thematically categorized by either ‘DO’, ‘SHOP’, ‘STAY’, ‘TASTE’, ‘TOUR’, and ‘CRUISE’. The 2018 Experience Mekong Collection Showcases included Phare Cambodian Circus (Cambodia), Longji Rice Terraces Guangxi (China), Ock Pop Tok (Lao PDR), Inle Heritage Place (Myanmar), Local Alike (Thailand), and Koto (Viet Nam).
“The importance of responsible tourism cannot be underestimated and the Experience Mekong Collection is a wonderful way of highlighting small business examples of good practice,” said MTCO executive director Jens Thraenhart.
“In doing so, this sets several benchmarks to further improve travel experiences in the Greater Mekong Subregion. We hope this motivates other operators to become more involved and do their part for responsible tourism,” he said.
Chosen among all current members of the Experience Mekong Collection, the 2019 Experience Mekong Collection Showcase selectees are as follows:
Cambodia: Soksabike (Tour category) is Battambang’s premier bike tour social enterprise offering guests an insight into the traditional livelihoods of the Cambodian countryside. The tour places an emphasis on educating guests in the realities of life in rural Cambodia and ensures that all visits make a positive impact on the local communities.
Surrounded by rice fields in the ancient town of Xizhou in Yunnan, China: The Linden Centre’s (Stay category) goal is to serve as rural havens for deeper interaction with the Dali community and structured explorations of China’s past. The award-winning boutique hotel is a nationally protected heritage site that has been restored to its former dynastic elegance, here guests have an avenue for cultural immersion and exchange with each other and the local community.
Lao PDR: Elephant Conservation Center (Do category) offers to experience the power of the majestic elephant. At the Center, a dedicated team of guides, mahouts and elephant vets will take you into the world of Lao elephants. Not only will you enjoy a relaxing stay in the Nam Tien protected area but you will also learn all you want to know about Asia’s most iconic creature.
Myanmar: Hla Day (Shop category) offers quality contemporary and traditional handicrafts sourced from local producers often struggling to overcome disability, exclusion and poverty. Hla Day provides a fair-trade marketplace and training for small Myanmar craft producers, opening opportunities to improve their social and economic situation.
Thailand: Sampran Riverside (Stay category) is located just outside Bangkok and has provided local entertainment, relaxation, accommodation and a place to meet since 1962. Culture, tradition and a native way of life have been preserved through daily practices and performances. The eco-cultural destination has been engaging with local farmers of Nakornpatom province promoting organic agriculture through the Sampran Model.
Lastly, Viet Nam: STREETS International (Taste category) is an innovative social enterprise initiative with the purpose to develop and operate sustainable programs for street kids and disadvantaged youth in SE Asia and throughout the world. STREETS also prepares vulnerable, orphaned and other disadvantaged young people for careers in hospitality.
Case studies on each of the 2019 experiences are to be developed by students of the Mahidol University International College in Thailand. Summarised and well-designed snippets of these case study reports are set to be presented at MTF 2019 in China as well as other tourism community events.
All members of the Experience Mekong Collection are highlighted on a feature page on www.ExperienceMekong.org, as well as a dedicated mini site on MekongMoments.com in addition to being recognized by a certified badge reflecting its responsible and sustainable practice. Other benefits for members include a free booth at next year’s Mekong Tourism Forum and discounted rates from select sales and marketing services partners.
For more information about the Experience Mekong Collection and its members, please visit www.experiencemekongcollection.com.
Title Photo: Cambodia EMC selectee Soksabike is a premier bike tour social enterprise that offers guests an insight into the traditional livelihoods of the Cambodian countryside.
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Communications & Content Studio
About the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office:
The Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO), located in Bangkok, was set up with funding from the governments of the six Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) countries – Cambodia, the People’s Republic of China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. The MTCO, which operates on annual financial contributions from each GMS country, acts as the secretariat for the GMS Tourism Working Group, comprising of senior officials of the six GMS countries’ National Tourism Organizations, to coordinate and facilitate sustainable tourism development of the GMS in line with the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, and promotion of the Mekong region as a single travel and tourism destination, in collaboration with the public and private sectors. The MTCO manages its award-winning MekongTourism.org digital platform as a one-stop platform to promote responsible and sustainable tourism in the region, as well as the annual Mekong Tourism Forum, whose hosting is rotated among GMS countries.
Please visit www.MekongTourism.org for more information.
About Mekong Moments
Mekong Moments is a globally unique and pioneering visual consumer marketing campaign and travel inspiration platform that collaboratively promotes the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) as a single tourism destination in addition to driving direct business to individual businesses through social commerce. Regardless of type and size, businesses have encouraged their guests, staff, and stakeholders to share their experiences via their own social media accounts by tagging #MekongMoments as well as the respective hashtag of the experience (hotel, restaurant, destination, attraction, event, tour, shop, etc.). All properly tagged user-generated content is aggregated to www.mekongmoments.com, which in effect, directs traffic to the corresponding websites of the experiences and/or businesses.
Mekong Moments has been carefully planned over two years to meet the requirements of a public-private partnership agreement between six tourism ministries and six companies including IHG, Small Luxury Hotels, Khiri Travel, and Odyssey Tours China with a purpose to create a sustainable and efficient tourism program for the GMS. The initiative is aligned with the Experience Mekong Tourism Marketing Strategy 2015-2020 and the GMS Tourism Sector Strategy 2016-2025. UNWTO Affiliate Member Chameleon Strategies used their web-development technology ENWOKE to build Mekong Moments platform and used significant input from the travel and tourism industry to refine its function and overall purpose.
Please visit www.MekongMoments.org for more information.
About the Mekong Minis:
The Mekong Minis is a unique film festival that celebrates the many faces and experiences of the Greater Mekong Sub-region and promotes the region as a single tourist destination. It is an annual regional tourism marketing campaign with its first instance in 2018, supported by all Tourism Ministries and the private sector in the Greater Mekong Sub-region. The festival is targeted to attract amateur and professional movie-makers and create a large amount of content for the region with promotions and screenings internationally. The Mekong Minis campaign is powered by Mekong Moments.
Complete rules and criteria to enter the Mekong Mini Movie Festival competition can be found at www.mekongtourism.org/mekongminimovie.
About Destination Mekong:
Destination Mekong was created in 2017 to promote the Mekong region, comprising of Cambodia, PR China (Provinces of Guangxi and Yunnan), Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam as a single tourism destination to stimulate responsible and sustainable development and investment, and drive inclusive growth. Endorsed by the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office and aligned with the mandate of the regional collaborative tourism framework of the six-member governments of the Greater Mekong Sub-region, Destination Mekong executes targeted projects and initiatives via public-private partnership investment structures, including Mekong Moments and Mekong Trends, led by UNWTO Affiliate Member Chameleon Strategies.
Please visit www.DestinationMekong.com