Registration has opened for this year's Mekong
Tourism Forum (MTF).
The two-day event will be held in Dali and the
ancient heritage town of Xizhou in Yunnan, China on 28 and 29 May
It is free of
charge for travel and tourism professionals to attend the MTF,
however space is limited and delegates need to follow the
online registration process which includes submitting a valid Chinese
The event's theme for 2019 is “Tourism – a
driver for cultural heritage preservation and poverty
The first day, 28 May 2019, will be held in Dali New
Town at the Dali Conference Centre and will feature the official
opening as well as the MTF keynotes and sessions. The day will close with a Gala Dinner
hosted by the People’s Government of Yunnan at Dali International
Hotel, located adjacent to the Conference Center.
Mekong Tourism initiatives featured on the first day include the
launch of the new Mekong Trends Report on Responsible Tourism in
the GMS, the introduction of the new Experience Mekong Collection
website, and the screening of some of the most inspiring videos of
the Mekong Mini Movie Festival campaign.
One of the two
keynotes of MTF 2019 is Dr. Brian Linden, the owner of the Linden Centre hotel in Xizhou, Yunnan. Dr. Linden
will look at how sustainable tourism is shaping the way the
industry is developing, which also includes an insight into the
extensive rail network in China.
Dr. Linden said,
“Tourism has not evolved in China, it has exploded. And our
industry has scrambled, often blindly, to capture a part of this
lucrative trade. We should remember that we pursue our projects on
social and cultural canvases that are far from empty. These
resources, the history, heritage, and hospitality of the Asian
peoples should be the foundation for all future tourism
The afternoon keynote will be given by Mei
Zhang, founder of the travel company Wild China and a
native of Dali. Ms. Zhang will take the MTF 2019 delegates on her
own personal journey of Yunnan, the importance of connecting
culture with tourism to achieve heritage preservation, poverty
alleviation, and sustainability.
The second day will
be hosted in the ancient heritage town of Xizhou, which is located
20 km north of Dali Old Town and is part of the Dali Bai
Autonomous Prefecture in northwestern Yunnan, China. Xizhou has
been historically important as a trading post along the Tea Horse
Road and has gained notability for its high concentration of
preserved and restored traditional Bai architecture and protected
heritage sites. To take into consideration the requirements of
this living ancient heritage town, this year’s Mekong Tourism
Forum will be more intimate, limiting the number of delegates.
Jens Thraenhart, Executive Director of the Mekong
Tourism Coordinating Office, said, “We are grateful to the Ministry of
Culture and Tourism of China and the People’s Government of Yunnan
for giving us the opportunity to fully integrate this year’s
Mekong Tourism Forum with the local residents of a heritage town.
In the efforts to be highly inclusive, the cultural learning
experiences will be held in small artisan businesses and lunches
will be served in local restaurants. This might be the first
tourism conference in the world that showcases sustainability in
this kind of way.”
To attend MTF 2019, delegates need to register
on the Mekong Tourism Forum website,
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Mekong Tourism Forum.