Mekong’s “Digital Hub for Collaboration” wins PATA Award

Proudly contributed by JENS THRAENHART

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PATA Gold Awards 2016_MTCOJAKARTA, INDONESIA, September 12, 2016: The GMS Tourism Working Group, made up of the National Tourism Organizations of Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam, is pleased to announce that its collaborative initiatives have received international accolades at the annual PATA Gold Awards 2016.

PATA Gold Awards-1

PATA Gold Awards 2016 – Website Category. From Left to Right: Mario Hardy – CEO, PATA; Jens Thraenhart – Executive Director, MTCO; Daw Khin Than Win – Deputy Director General, Myanmar Ministry of Hotels & Tourism; Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes – Director, Macau Government Tourism Office

Ms. Khin Than Win, Deputy Director General of the Myanmar Ministry of Hotels & Tourism, representing one of the members of the GMS Tourism Working Group, said, “We are very proud that our regional tourism collaboration is being recognized by these much respected awards, and our work is adding value to the travel industry in promoting the region as a single tourism destination to drive inclusive growth.” has won a 2016 PATA Gold Award in the Website category having been endorsed by a judging panel of travel and tourism professionals who believe the website contributes positively to responsible tourism in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS).

Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO)’s Executive Director Jens Thraenhart said: “The aim for is for it to become a ‘digital hub for collaboration’ for travel and tourism professionals willing to contribute their expertise for the greater good of the Mekong region and its travel and tourism industry.

He added: “In the GMS, we have a tremendous amount of passion and expertise from individuals and companies who are willing to share and to contribute. The key for us is to encourage and facilitate that; to develop a digital platform that can unleash that passion and expertise.”

The e-library is a valuable collection of documents; from reports to training manuals; available for free download. functionality allows MTCO to curate contributed content, publish it, and promote it via social media.

The website includes the freely accessible Mekong Tourism e-library at

“In addition to the e-library, MTCO is working to further enhance in developing a community of active contributors, a showcase of responsible tourism experiences, a directory of multi-country journeys and river cruises, as well as a collection of stories about tourism’s impact on people in the GMS”, Mr. Thraenhart said.

Ms. Khin Than Win, Deputy Director General of the Myanmar Ministry of Hotels & Tourism said: “The MTCO’s mandate is to encourage visitor dispersion throughout the GMS by promoting secondary destinations and small operators, especially those pursuing experiential themes such as community and environment, food, and culture.

PATA Gold Awards 2016 with Myanmar and Thailand

PATA Gold Awards 2016 Winners from the GMS. From Left to Right: Daw Khin Than Win – Deputy Director General, Myanmar Ministry of Hotels & Tourism; Jens Thraenhart – Executive Director, MTCO; Mario Hardy – CEO, PATA; Ms. Chompu Marusachot, TAT Director of TAT Marketing Information Technology Group (PATA Grand Award: One and Only Project in Discover Thainess Campaign); Mr. Vinid Rungpueng, TAT Director of Promotional Material Production (PATA Gold Award: Thailand from the Air)


“This aligns with the GMS Tourism Working Group (TWG) objectives to develop thematic multi-country tour programs and promote secondary destinations to help distribute the benefits of tourism more widely,” she added.

MTCO is pursuing a cost-effective and efficient digital strategy, which is consistent with the ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan, the ASEAN Tourism Marketing Strategy, and the Experience Mekong Tourism Marketing Strategy & Action Plan 2015-2020. also won a 2015 Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) Adrian Award for innovative website design. A summary of the website functionality can be viewed at:

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