GMS revisits marketing plan

BANGKOK, 3 March 2015: Details of a new tourism marketing strategy and action plan for the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) were released 27 February at a workshop supported by the Asian Development Bank and the Thailand Ministry of Tourism and Sports.

Consultations on the strategy and action plan took place 26 to 27 February with the participation of tourism leaders from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The plan covers 2015 to 2020 and aims to boost tourism arrival numbers and improve competitiveness of the GMS as measured by the World Economic Forum’s Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index.

The Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office executive director, Jens Thraenhart, told the workshop in Bangkok that the GMS is the fastest growing subregion in Asia with increases in arrivals of around 17% per annum. Such rates of growth were significantly higher than ASEAN’s 11% average increase. He said that since 2002 international tourist arrivals in the GMS had grown at an average annual rate of about 12%.

inside no 7A strategic objective of the plan is to promote secondary destinations and encourage multi-country itineraries, especially those with themes such as ecotourism, local cuisine, and cultural appreciation.

“We encourage tourists to spread their spending beyond established locations such as Angkor Wat, the Grand Palace in Bangkok, and Yangon in Myanmar,” said Thraenhart.

The new plan includes collaborative marketing tools such as the MekongTourism.org digital platform, which will host a freely accessible online knowledge centre and GMS tourism e-library.

Thraenhart said he was optimistic that the marketing plan would raise the profile of the GMS as a world-class destination.

Defining features are improved connectivity, diverse tourism activities and improved tourist visa policies.

An outline of the draft Greater Mekong Subregion Tourism Marketing Strategy and Action Plan 2015 to 2020 can be requested from the MTCO executive director by emailing jens.thraenhart@mekongtourism.org. Travel industry stakeholders are invited to comment.