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Private Sector to review Mekong Tourism Plans

Search ASIA Travel Tips .com 10 February 2006

The newly-opened Mekong Tourism Office (MTO) is putting together a private-sector task force to review MTO development and marketing plans for the next two years.

The MTO was set up with seed funding from the GMS Tourism Working Group which represents the six national governments in the Greater Mekong Sub-region. The MTO has the blessing of the Asian Development Bank and UNESCAP and has two functions:

Development - To co-ordinate sustainable pro-poor tourism development projects in the Mekong in line with the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, and

Marketing - To promote the Mekong region as a single travel and tourism destination under the brand ‘Mekong Tourism’.

MTO Executive Director Mr Stephen Yong said, "The MTO will rely on private-sector partnerships to achieve many of its objectives, especially marketing and branding, therefore it is important to incorporate the ideas and suggestions of the private sector into MTO’s plans from the very outset."

Pacific Asia Travel Association Vice President-Development Mr Peter Semone said, "The MTO is a bridge between NGOs, public-sector interests and private-sector realities as much as it is a bridge between national governments."

The MTO task force, which will comprise private-sector representatives from the various sub-sectors of travel and tourism, will be asked to consider:

- Tourism development priorities in the Mekong region
- Preferred models of collaboration between the public and private sectors
- Preferred models of collaboration between the private-sector and non-government organisations (NGOs)
- Mekong Tourism brand strategies
- Mekong Tourism marketing and public relations strategies.

Mr Yong said the task force would meet for the first time on February 16. If necessary, follow-up meetings will be called to review any changes to the plans.

The final draft of the MTO development and marketing plan will be put before the GMS Tourism Working Group for approval on March 28, when it will meet in Luang Prabang, Lao PDR in conjunction with the Mekong Tourism Investment Summit.

The Mekong region comprises Cambodia, China (PRC)'s Guangxi and Yunnan provinces, Laos PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

See other recent news regarding: PATA, Mekong Tourism Office

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