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Fri, 19 February 2021

72 Businesses Shortlisted in 2021 Experience Mekong Showcases

(19 Feb 2021) Ten Experience Mekong Collection (EMC) businesses from each of the six Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) member countries, plus the two finalists that did not win last year, have been shortlisted in the third Experience Mekong Showcases.

The annual competition was created in September 2017 to recognize and encourage sustainable and responsible tourism development.

This year, for the second time, the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO) is inviting the public to vote for their favorite GMS small businesses out of the 72 shortlisted members of the 350+ Experience Mekong Collection members to determine the 2021 Experience Mekong Showcases.

Launched in 2002, Sala Ba Hotel and Restaurant School in Cambodia is a program created by the French NGO Agir Pour le Cambodge (APLC), to fight poverty and human trafficking through social and professional training of young underprivileged Cambodians. Click to enlarge.

This year's shortlisted businesses were each examined in great detail regarding their impact on the environment, social climate, innovation, and financial viability. Each business needs to fulfill the following requirements:

1. Make a significant social impact on its community;

2. Provide an authentically local experience positioning the GMS as a responsible, inclusive, and experiential tourism destination; and

3. Have an innovative concept and sustainable business model.

"The importance of responsible tourism cannot be underestimated and the 'Experience Mekong Collection' is a wonderful way of highlighting examples of good practice," said Mr. Jens Thraenhart, Executive Director of the MTCO. "Social enterprises have the potential to drive sustainable tourism and to promote the Mekong Region as an experiential and responsible travel destination. We aim to tell their stories to inspire travelers to experience these "stars of the Mekong."

By choosing one organization from each GMS country, the MTCO, along with the Mekong Tourism Advisory Group (MeTAG) endorses and selects best practice tourism organizations specifically committed to sustainable and responsible practices. As previously structured, each showcase organization is thematically categorized by either 'Do', 'Shop', 'Stay', 'Taste', 'Tour', and 'Cruise'.

Public voting is open until 31 March 2021. The top 3 businesses with the most votes from each country will move into the final, when MeTAG, the GMS Tourism Working Group (TWG), and the MTCO help in selecting the six 2021 Experience Mekong Showcases one from each GMS member country.

"In recognizing the most innovative best practice businesses as the Experience Mekong Showcases, this sets several benchmarks to further improve travel experiences in the Greater Mekong Subregion. We hope this motivates other operators to become more involved and do their part for responsible tourism," said HE Mr. Htay Aung, former Minister of Hotels and Tourism of Myanmar, and a member of MeTAG.

The 2018 Experience Mekong Collection Showcases included Phare Cambodian Circus (Cambodia), Longji Rice Terraces Guangxi (PR China), Ock Pop Tok (Lao PDR), Inle Heritage Place (Myanmar), Local Alike (Thailand), and Koto (Viet Nam).

The 2019 Experience Mekong Collection included Soksabike (Cambodia), Linden Centre (PR China), Elephant Conservation Centre (Lao PDR), Hla Day (Myanmar), Sampran Riverside (Thailand), and Streets International (Viet Nam).

The 2020 Experience Mekong Showcases included Elephant Valley Project (Cambodia), Yangshuo Mountain Retreat (PR China), Laos Buffalo Dairy (Lao PDR), Living Irrawaddy Dolphin Project (Myanmar), Family Tree (Thailand), La Hoa Flowers Speak (Viet Nam).

Cast your vote for the 2021 Experience Mekong Showcases before 31 March 2021, here.

See latest Travel Industry News, Video Interviews, Podcasts and other news regarding: COVID19, Mekong, MTF.

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