CHIANG MAI, 29 January 2018: Appealing to movie makers, the kind who thrive on YouTube, the Mekong Tourism office officially launched its Mekong Minis at the ASEAN Tourism Forum last week.
The best of the videos will win prices and be recognised at the Mekong Tourism Forum that travels to Nakhon Phanom in Northeast Thailand for its annual gathering, 27 to 29 June.
The Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office executive director, Jens Thraenhart, told a ATF media briefing, that he is expecting around 50 videos from each of the six countries that make up the Greater Mekong Sub-region GMS).
Three prize categories are identified by the judging groups, such as a ‘viewers’ category, voted by viewer likes, an ‘editor’s choice category and an ‘travel industry’ category voted by attendees at the Mekong Tourism Forum based on a shortlist of “Minis” shown at the forum.
Videos presented to the judges are first screened by the MTCO for content sensitivities and appropriateness. There is no membership criteria, or fees due, other than a short registration process to enable the organisers to contact participants.
MTCO is opening the project to industry players such as hotel groups, travel companies and tourism organisations to sponsor the project.
Videos that focus on three countries in the region will also automatically be nominated for awards presented at the ASEAN Tourism Forum to be hosted in Halong Bay Vietnam, mid-January 2019.
The annual MTF for the first time will be hosted at the Mekong Riverside town of Nakhom Phanom with a slimmed down duration of just two days with morning sessions focusing on keynote industry presentations by stakeholders and eight ‘field trip sessions in village communities highlighting specific community style tourism enterprises.
Thraenhart calls the Mekong Minis a “video snapshot competition open to both professionals and amateur videographers alike.”
Prizes for the best in class will offer Mekong region holidays including regional flights connecting destinations and accommodation plus trophies presented to winners at the MTF.
The endangered Irrawaddy Dolphin has been adopted as both mascot and trophy to increase awareness for a river species that is almost extinct, but for a few rare sightings on a short stretch of the Mekong River in Cambodia.
Although not touched on by MTCO presenters the choice of a trophy is a sombre reminder of the serious damage being inflicted on lower Mekong River life and wellbeing by the scores of dams being constructed by the Chinese up river.
Anyone can enter the competition by simply by sharing videos of 60 seconds or less via their own social media accounts (Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube), making sure to tag the videos with #mekongmoments, #minis, and the #country or #destination, (plus choosing either #business or #experience) is required to be eligible for the competition.
Shared videos might include a meal with new friends, anywhere from Cambodia to Vietnam. It may be a time-lapse of the perfect Mekong River sunset, or a walk about though a local market. The competition seeks films that are inventive, funny, uplifting, inspiring, and meaningful.
Round 1 – Individual Country Submissions
Three prizes will be awarded per country: Viewer’s Choice, Editor’s Choice and Industry Choice (Mekong Tourism Forum attendee) awards. The winners of these three prizes, as well as winners of category prizes sponsored by private companies, will be announced during the Gala Dinner at the Mekong Tourism Forum 2018 in Nakhon Phanom, Thailand 27 June.
Round 2 – Regional Submissions
Three prizes will be awarded for the top regional submissions: Viewer’s Choice, Editor’s Choice and Industry Choice (Mekong Tourism Forum attendee) awards. The winners of these three prizes, as well as winners of category prizes sponsored by private companies will be announced at the ASEAN Tourism Forum during January 2019 in Vietnam.
- Country Prize winners will be awarded experiential trips to each participating country in the Mekong Region, while the Regional Prize will consist of a trip to multiple Mekong countries. All prizes include flights and hotel accommodation for two people and various activities, packaged into one memorable Mekong Experience. Aligned to the 2017 Year of Sustainability of the United Nations, experiences will be responsible in nature.
- All winners will receive the prestigious Irrawaddy Dolphin trophy to increase awareness of this animal, declared as ‘vulnerable’ by WWF, and based in the Mekong and Irrawaddy Rivers.
- The shortlisted submissions will be posted on MekongMinis.com to allow people to follow and get inspired by their journey experiencing the Mekong Region. In addition, they will be shown at international screenings, which will take place in collaboration with TravelMassive, the world’s largest community of travel industry insiders, leaders, and innovators.
To submit a film, participants can just upload directly to their own Instagram, Twitter, or YouTube account by tagging their video with all three of the following hashtags: #mekongmoments – #minis – #country/destination plus choosing either #business or #experience. The contest will run in two stages, the first from January 25, 2018 until May 15, 2018 (for individual country submissions), and second stage lasting now until November 15, 2018 (for regional submissions – films that cover at least three or more Mekong countries).