By SUCHAT SRITAMA
CAMBODIA will host the 2016 “Mekong Tourism Forum” in July, which this year aims to push small and medium-sized enterprises to gain business from the opening of the Asean Economic Community (AEC).
Cambodian Tourism Minister Thong Kong said the ministry w
This year, the six GMS members (five countries plus part of southern China) have joined forces to develop the subregion’s tourism products as well as market the GMS as a single travel destination.
Jens Thraenhart, executive director of the Bangkok-based Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office, said a working group on the Mekong Tourism Marketing Strategy 2015-2020 had developed a solid digital platform, designed to engage with industry.
The six members also worked on a tourism-marketing framework to promote secondary destinations and encourage multi-country itineraries, especially those with themes such as ecotourism, local cuisine, and cultural appreciation.
This year, the panel will engage SMEs to cash in on the subregion’s cross-border potential. Business and government leaders will assess the latest tourism developments and investment opportunities along the regional road networks linking Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and the |Chinese provinces of Yunnan and Guangxi.
Supawan Tanomkieatipume, president of the Thai Hotels Association, said Thailand could become a gateway for the Mekong region, as the country is able to |provide transport by air as well as land.
She said Myanmar was an emerging market for Thailand. The THA also sees a bright future for Laos and other countries after the AEC’s implementation.
“The global economy will continue to be slow, which will reflect on inbound tourism. Thailand and other Asean countries need to push regional and domestic tourism to |offset [the loss of] long-haul markets.”