Thailand has the great honor to host the Mekong Tourism Forum (MTF) 2012 from 13 to 14 June with the theme “20/20 Vision: Building on Two Decades of GMS Cooperation.”
This event will be an important gathering for government and business leaders in the travel and tourism industry from the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) countries.
The forum will be held in northern Thailand at the Dusit Island Resort Hotel in Chiang Rai province, whose border line is shared by two neighboring countries in the Upper Greater Mekong Sub-region, Lao PDR and Myanmar. The province, which celebrates its 750th anniversary this year, will offer the country a chance to showcase its potential and let the world know that Thailand is truly the gateway to the GMS.
The MTF works to achieve three main objectives, including developing and promoting the subregion as a single destination, discussing the future direction of subregion tourism, and extending tourism marketing partnership cooperation. Major topics to be discussed will be on the development of human resources, pro-poor sustainable tourism, and subregional product development and marketing for the next 20 years, in light of achievements in the GMS over the last 20 years.
Participants will address the recent changes in Myanmar and the impact of ASEAN Economic Community, due in 2015. There will be a session on how private and public sector tourism operators in the GMS can better leverage the shift to electronic distribution, social media, and mobile.
“A great deal has been achieved,” said Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office, Executive Director, Mason Florence. “Multi-country holidays are now common in the GMS, but we still need to reduce red tape, increase cross-border flows and boost sustainable tourism in rural areas where incomes are still too low,” he said.
Tourists surveyed in the six countries say that the friendly people are one of the area’s most important assets. The forum will assess how the attraction, retention, training and development of the Mekong workforce has progressed and what needs to be done.
The Greater Mekong Subregion is a natural economic area bound along the Mekong River. The GMS countries are Cambodia, the People's Republic of China, (specifically Yunnan province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region), the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. These countries are collectively targeting 52 million international tourist arrivals and 53 billion US dollars in sub-regional tourism revenue by 2015. There were 10 million arrivals in 1995, rising to 35 million in 2011.
For program information, please visit the website www.mekongtourismforum.org