Mekong Tourism Forum 2022 ended on October 12

The MTF 2022 was the region’s first government-led in-person event since the pandemic, marking an important milestone in the recovery of tourism in GMS member countries.

The Mekong Tourism Forum 2022 (MTF) took place on October 12, 2022 at Hoiana Resort and Golf (Hoiana), Province of Quang Nam, Viet Nam, under the theme “Rebuilding tourism, bouncing back with resilience”. The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Viet Nam hosted the event in collaboration with the Mekong Tourism Coordination Office (MTCO) and the support of the Asian Development Bank. The MTF was preceded by the 50th Greater Mekong Sub-Region Tourism Task Force (50th GMS GTT) meeting and the MTCO Board meeting.

The annual MTF aims to raise the profile of the Greater Mekong Sub-Region (GMS) as a unified tourism destination, provide an industry-wide platform for the public and private sectors to address sub-regional tourism issues and to expand networks and marketing opportunities. to promote supermarkets while pooling collective resources to create intra-industry synergies.

The MTF 2022 was the region’s first government-led in-person event since the pandemic, marking an important milestone in the recovery of tourism in GMS member countries. The event served as a platform for tourism stakeholders and development partners to reconnect in person, exchange knowledge and experiences in tourism recovery communication, and gather new insights on GMS travel from industry experts.

In light of the gradual recovery of international tourism from the COVID-19 crisis, MTF 2022 focused on the theme “Rebuilding Tourism, Rebounding with Resilience”. The event brought together regional tourism leaders to rethink the rebuilding of GMS tourism by adopting resilience-based approaches and effectively leveraging technology to create a more sustainable and inclusive sector.

HE Mr. Nguyen Trung Khanh, Chairman of the National Tourism Administration of Vietnam, Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Vietnam, urged public and private actors to rethink and reshape the tourism industry towards a more sustainable, inclusive and sustainable future. resilient. Despite the ongoing positive trends in the recovery of tourism, the difficult economic environment created by high oil prices, inflation and disruptions in the international supply chain has led to increased transport and accommodation costs for the tourism sector. This adds pressure on tourism businesses and the purchasing power of travellers, which could delay the recovery of sub-regional tourism. HE Nguyen Trung Khanh further encouraged tourism stakeholders of all sizes to leverage digital tools to support the resilience and sustainability of the sector and to build the capacity of the tourism industry through reskilling and upskilling programs .

HE Nguyen Trung Khanh commended the strong commitments of GMS NTOs to strengthen sub-regional efforts to foster cross-sector collaboration; strengthen engagement and support for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs); and promote equal opportunities for local employment. His Excellency further underlined the importance of capacity building and knowledge sharing programs to enhance the skills of tourism professionals, especially in the development of green and sustainable growth.

HE Nguyen Trung Khanh acknowledged a series of initiatives carried out by the MTCO under the GMS tourism revival communication plan. In addition to updating the MTCO website, these include the development of the monthly Mekong Tourism newsletter, the GMS Tourism Recovery communication toolkit and webinar, and the campaign # MekongPostcard, which involved the active participation of tourism stakeholders, influencers and residents of the region. . His Excellency also acknowledged the support provided by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

HE Tran Van Tan, Vice Chairman of Quang Nam Provincial People’s Committee, delivered a welcome speech and expressed his warmest gratitude to all delegates attending MTF 2022, which was the first physical regional tourism event held in Quang Nam. since 2020. It was a golden chance for Quang Nam to showcase its image as a destination and strengthen tourism ties with GMS member countries and beyond, he said. Tran Van Tan said Quang Nam is stepping up efforts to help the tourism sector recover because of its economic importance, as well as its social and environmental values. Quang Nam is also the host of the biggest national tourism event of the year, “Visit Vietnam Year 2022”, under the theme “A green tourism destination”. The province is committed to ensuring the sustainable growth of the tourism sector by leveraging technology to reduce negative impacts while promoting the protection of the natural environment, he said. Mr. Tran Van Tan further encouraged delegates to discover the treasures of Quang Nam including Hoi An Ancient Town, My Son Sanctuary, Cu Lao Cham World Biosphere Reserve, delicious local cuisine, spectacular beaches and charming villages.

The keynote address on “The Future of Tourism – Rethinking Travel, Rethinking Destination Marketing and Management” was delivered by Ms. Liz Ortiguera, CEO of Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA). Ms. Ortiguera discussed evolving megatrends and their impact on travel dynamics in Asia and the Pacific, particularly within the GMS, and how tourism stakeholders should adapt.

The AfDB’s Senior Sustainable Tourism Specialist, Mr. Wouterus Schalken, shared his perspective on “Reviving Tourism in a Sustainable Way – Reflections on the Mekong”. He highlighted the policies, regulations and concerted investments needed to ensure the resilience and sustainability of tourism, emphasizing quality infrastructure, nature-based solutions and industry-wide adoption. environmentally friendly operational practices and diversification.

MTF 2022 featured three panel discussions led by experts. The first round table on “Social enterprises: a useful and powerful tool for the recovery, development and promotion of sustainable tourism” explored how social enterprises offer a promising business model for inclusive growth, environmental sustainability and positive destination branding. Panelists discussed the knowledge, skills and resources needed to improve visibility, legitimacy and legal frameworks to drive competitiveness and leverage the power of social enterprises for a sustainable tourism recovery in the GMS.

The second panel, “New Ways to Connect Sustainable Tourism Suppliers and Buyers”, looked at new strategies for connecting sustainable tourism suppliers and buyers to markets, finance and nature. Panelists discussed financing instruments, partnership structures and mechanisms to incentivize tourism suppliers and buyers to collaborate with each other, investors and development partners for a resilient and sustainable future.

The final panel focused on “Technology: Unleashing the Opportunities of Green Tourism”, in which panelists shared best practices on using digital tools to maximize the positive impacts of tourism on the environment and local communities. The roundtable highlighted the challenges, solutions and opportunities for tourism SMEs and MSMEs to better adopt technology and integrate into the growing digital economy.

Overall, the Mekong Tourism Forum 2022 concluded successfully. Viet Nam wished to express sincere gratitude to GMS NTOs, MTCO, participants and speakers, including representatives of PATA, ADB, Agoda, ASEANTA, Destination Mekong, YAANA Ventures, OAG, Exo Travel, JNE Group, Song Saa Collective, CBT Travel, Planeterra, Social Enterprise Thailand Association, Green Discovery Laos, Seeva Capital, Travelife, Clickable Impact, etc Over 250 delegates attended MTF 2022, including international and local attendees.

The Kingdom of Cambodia will host the next MTF from March 16-20, 2023 in the province of Preah Sihanoukville, with the theme “Rethinking for Resilience and Digitization”. The aim is to usher in a new era of travel in the context of the “post-COVID 19 new normal”. It will be an era defined by resilience and, above all, by health and safety measures for travellers. The year 2023 will be the Year to Visit Cambodia. Cambodia will also host the 32nd SEA Games and the 12th ASEAN Para Games in the spirit of “Sports Love In Peace”. The hosts of next year’s Mekong Tourism Forum look forward to welcoming everyone to Cambodia: the realm of wonders. The invitation is to “feel the heat” and enjoy a safe, clean and green destination.

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