A new tourism marketing workshop series will be launched 15 June at the start of the Mekong Tourism Forum week in Da Nang, Viet Nam. The idea is to empower Greater Mekong Subregion countries to better promote secondary destinations and multi country holidays.
The Mekong Tourism Marketing Workshop has been initiated by the Bangkok based Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO) in collaboration with the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA).
“We look forward to partnering with MTCO to showcase approaches that will result in strong benefits for communities in the Mekong Delta region,” said Dr Chris Bottrill, Chairman of the PATA Human Capital Development Committee and Dean, Faculty of Global and Community Studies, Capilano University.
Adventure travel, food tourism, community-based travel, river and ocean cruising will all be analysed in separate breakout sessions of the workshop on 15 June.
UNWTO will host the session on river and ocean cruise tourism based on two UNWTO publications: ASEAN River-based Tourism Development and Sustainable Cruise Tourism Development Strategies: Tackling the Challenges in Itinerary Design in South-East Asia.
Viet Nam is throwing its weight behind the workshop idea. The workshop and forum is being hosted by the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism of Viet Nam (MCST), the Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), and the City of Da Nang.
All senior travel industry members from public and private sectors are invited to attend, free of charge. Seats are limited.
“We want to position the GMS as a single tourism destination in a very competitive global tourism landscape,” said Jens Thraenhart, Executive Director of the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO).
Thraenhart said the workshop should become an ongoing activity to boost the new GMS Tourism Marketing Strategy, supported by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and developed in consultation with the tourism industry in the region.
“It needs to be a dynamic and ever-evolving strategy, adapting to changing consumer demands,” said Thraenhart.
The rotating workshop initiative is being supported by additional travel industry heavyweights such as the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), and academic institutions such as the College of Innovation at Thammasat University in Bangkok, and Capilano University in Vancouver.
Promoting adventure travel will be a key theme at the inaugural workshop. In 2013, the adventure travel segment was estimated to be worth US$263 billion dollars globally, an increase of 195% since 2011, according to ATTA.
“It’s a rapidly growing segment that speaks to the trends of authenticity and meaningful experiences,” said Shannon Stowell, President & CEO of ATTA, who describes the sector as “high value, low impact” when done right.
Food tourism as a prime reason to travel will also be a part of the workshop. “Local cuisine is generating a great deal of interest as a tourism motivator in its own right,” said John Koldowski, Professor at the College of Innovation at Thammasat University in Bangkok.
“Given that the GMS has such a rich diversity of food produce and culinary preparation styles, it makes sense to consider how this interest can be best leveraged to attract visitors to both the rural and urban centres of the GMS,” he said.
The Mekong Tourism Forum 2015 takes place at the Hotel Novotel Danang Premier Han River, 15-19 June with the marketing workshop taking place on the afternoon of 15 June.
Attendance is free to genuine travel industry stakeholders who register online.
For further information, agenda and registration, visit:MekongTourismForum.org.