Mekong Tourism Shines at 2017 Global Tourism Economy Forum
‘Mekong Moments’ Provides Unique Case Study for Tourism Collaboration Worldwide
Mekong Tourism was lauded at the recent 2017 Global Tourism Economy Forum (GTEF) round table, held on 16 to 17 October, for tourism collaboration case studies that in turn could become key economic drivers for future sustainable development and growth.
Held under the theme of ‘Regional Collaboration Towards a Better Future’, the think tank highlighted how tourism collaboration initiatives by regional groupings such as the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO) helped guide member countries towards tourism sustainability.
There were numerous actionable insights provided during the panel discussion by veteran tourism stalwarts that included UNWTO’s Javier Ruescas, European Travel Commission’s (ETC) Frantisek Reismuller, MTCO’s Jens Thraenhart, and Travel Impact Newswire’s Imtiaz Muqbil.
MTCO’s Jens Thraenhart, provided a case study on how future initiatives could be created, even for nations outside the GMS Countries, and applied on a global level.
“Mekong Tourism is in the process of launching a new innovative collaborative marketing and capacity building platform, Mekong Moments, to enable public and private sector organizations to get people sharing their travel experiences via social media,” he added.
Mekong Moments is a public-private partnership between six GMS member countries and six private sector companies, including hotels and tour operators. It will be launched at the 2017 ITB Asia with the introduction of the Mekong Mini Movie Festival, a public competition for short films of up to 60 seconds showcasing travel experiences around the GMS region.
Pacific Asia Travel Association’s CEO Mario Hardy, who moderated the panel discussion, kicked off a lively exchange by asking if tourism collaboration frameworks have a constructive impact, especially when members are often neighbour states in competition for tourism dollars and arrivals.
Travel Impact Newswire’s Imtiaz Muqbil responded with a historical perspective on the importance of countries working together for a better future, while UNWTO’s Javier Ruescas noted that tourism collaborations do help increase arrivals by adding brand equity to the value proposition of a single destination just by being in a grouping.
ETC’s Frantisek Reismuller said that while regional collaborations between member countries, such as the ETC and MTCO, have in the past clearly showed benefits there was also much room for improvement.
“Regarding current China marketing initiatives, countries can work together in a much more effective way when targeting this very lucrative source market,” Mr Reisjmuller, added.
The 2017 GTEF also showcased efforts by Eastern and Central European countries to collaborate in promoting the region to Chinese consumers under the Central and Eastern Europe Regional Tourism Centre.
The United Nations’ World Tourism Organization also use the 2017 GTEF as a platform to launch the 2017 Asia Tourism Trends Report which it produced together with the Global Tourism Economic Research Centre (GTERC). The report hailed the Asian tourism collaborations of ASEAN, the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) and the Silk Road as being particularly successful.