MIST winners in the making

BANGKOK, 17 September 2019: You think you have a great idea, it’s innovative and could turn travel upside down then you should make a pitch for a MIST prize.

Start-ups from the Mekong Region are doing just that driven by an innovative idea and the opportunity to shine and gain valuable access to investors.

Their day in the sun arrives with the upcoming Mekong Innovative Start-ups in Tourism (MIST), due to be held 8 to 9 October in Bangkok.

The mentors, speakers, judges and start-ups are lined up for the third edition of the annual MIST. It marks the end of a process that commenced earlier in the year as a start-up that fitted the criteria presented their projects for nomination that closed at the weekend.

Now the start-ups head for the finals where they will make a pitch to a panel of judges and two lucky entrepreneurs will be declared winners.

One winner from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, (sponsored by MBI*) and one from Thailand (sponsored by TAT) will be invited to Singapore to participate in Web in Travel and ITB Asia trade show on the following week.

The principal attraction of MIST is the promise of access to finance. Start-ups will receive introductions to prominent regional investors specialising in travel start-ups, as well as grant funders.

They will also gain industry connections. Start-ups will network with executives from large tourism, transportation, and hospitality companies supporting MIST.

Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office executive director Jens Thraenhart emphasise this is not a techy event.

“We are encouraging innovation in travel and tourism in the Greater Mekong Subregion, and this is not just about technology,” he explains. “Both travel tech and non-tech start-ups, such as social enterprises are encouraged to join the MIST initiative.

“MIST is about driving sustainable tourism supporting local small businesses and helping them to connect with the travel industry through programme partners.”

An initiative of the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office and the six-member countries of the Greater Mekong Subregion, MIST is supported by the Australian Government (DFAT), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), and organised by UNWTO affiliate member Chameleon Strategies.

On Day 1, Tuesday, 8 October the event is by invitation-only and hosted at the Pacific Asia Travel Association headquarters in downtown Bangkok.

Throughout the day 10 MIST finalists (two start-ups each from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam) will network with tourism industry leaders and refine their pitches with advice from programme mentors.

On Day 2, Wednesday, 9 October the 2019 MIST Showcase gets underway at Quaint Bangkok Brasserie. MIST finalists will pitch to prospective investors and participants as well as share their travel start-up success stories. The sessions are open to investors, MIST finalists, travel and tourism executives, government officials, academic institutions and the media.

Pre-registration for the MIST Showcase opened on 9 September at www.mist.asia.

Mist Programme

Welcome Reception, Monday, 7 October. By invitation for MIST finalists, MIST alumni, MIST mentors & judges, speakers and partners. Venue: TBD

MIST Workshop, Tuesday, 8 October. By invitation for MIST finalists, MIST alumni, MIST mentors & judges, speakers, and partners. Venue: PATA HQ at Siam Tower.

Industry Networking Reception Wednesday 9 October in partnership with TravelMassive. Open to MIST delegates, TravelMassive members and travel and tourism professionals. Venue: TBD.

MIST Forum 2019, Wednesday, 9 October. Entrance is free, registration is required at www.mist.asia. Space is limited to 120 people. Venue: Quaint on Sukhumvit Soi 61. Lunch is sponsored.

MIST 2019 BBQ Party, Wednesday, 9 October. For registered MIST 2019 Delegates. Venue: Quaint. Sponsored by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)

Final nominations closed 15 September when the organisers started the process of shortlisting five start-ups from each of the five countries. They are in turn evaluated by judges to whittle the final shortlist down to just two start-ups from each of the five countries — 10 start-ups for the final pitch sessions at MIST 2019 in Bangkok 8 to 9 October.

Registration: You can find more information and registration details for MIST 2019 at https://mist.asia/mist-forum-tourism-startups-asia-conference-2019/
* Mekong Business Initiative.

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