MTF raises plastic debate a notch

Proudly contributed by Don Ross

Company contributor TTR Weekly

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The Mekong Tourism Forum due to be hosted in Nakhon Phanom, Northeast Thailand, 26 to 28 June, will present an ‘open debate’ session on reducing the use of plastics in the Mekong Region.

Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office executive director, Jens Thraenhart, confirmed Tuesday that the MTF would host a 75-minute session to provide a platform for those who feel passionate about the need to reduce the use of plastic in tourism.

“This is important issue, and also one that many people are passionate about,” he said in an email to potential delegates who want tourism to adopt a stronger position on reducing single-use plastic.

It would be great to end the session with the ‘Nakhon Phanom Declaration’, where the industry commits together to reduce single-use plastic,” Thraenhart said.

The Mekong Tourism Forum represents the tourism industry in six countries that have links to the Mekong River; Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

The open debate will kick off with input from tourism executives who are already involved in campaigns to reduce single-use plastics. They will present an overview of the plastic issue globally citing case studies of some of the successful initiatives, worldwide.

There are already some important initiatives underway in the Mekong region that will be given a platform to present their stories, but case studies based on efforts in the EU and Africa will also be highlighted.

The MTCO executive director is calling on companies and organisations that have a story to tell with reference to reducing the use of plastics to join this debate.

Bamboo Lao, Refill Cambodia and the global hotel company, Minor Hotels, that claims to be the first hotel chain in Asia to successfully ban plastic straws and bottles in properties it owns and manages is expected to contribute to the discussion.

But the call goes out to both major corporations and small-to-medium sized enterprises that are involved in campaigns to attend and tell their story.

Thraenhart believes it could be the start of a social media community committed to making a difference in the Mekong Region to save the environment.

Tourism tends to stay on the sidelines, making no commitment to change on issues relating to pollution and the environment. But the single-use plastic bottle symbolises an area where people of diverse opinions can be drawn together to make a statement and follow through with action.

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