BANGKOK, 2 February 2021: The Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO) has reimagined its award programme MIST that recognised innovative startup firms in tourism to focus specifically on startups that concentrate on sustainable tourism.
The acronym MIST remains intact but the programme’s definition changes from Mekong Innnovatative Startup in Tourism to Mekong Innovations in Sustainable Tourism.
The four-year-old awards scheme is supervised by the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office that represents the tourism interests of six countries — Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam — in partnership with the Asian Development Bank and Destination Mekong, the public-private collaboration arm that conducts programme activities on behalf of the MTCO.
Previously, MIST limited the annual MIST awards to just two travel categories; tech and community or social enterprises with one national winner selected from each of the six countries.
MTCO in its press statement on Monday said the MIST programme would now focus on innovations in sustainable tourism, and climate change in the Greater Mekong Subregion, aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
According to the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office executive director, Jens Thraenhart, who also chairs Destination Mekong, the focus will be on “innovative and creative projects and concepts driving sustainability and resilience to recover travel and tourism in the Greater Mekong Subregion.”
Until 31 April, MIST will invite nominations from companies, government organisations, NGOs, academia, media, as well as individuals, students, and partnerships to enter a project that drives sustainable tourism. They will be judged by the MIST jury, made up of the Mekong Tourism Advisory Group members.
The office has also recruited the Swiss-based Ecosystem builder Seedstars to provide judging support. It will judge the final pitches during a hybrid MIST Forum planned for the second half of 2021 in Bangkok. Existing MIST nominations presented ahead of the MIST reimagining will be considered based on the new criteria.
MIST working partners
Destination Mekong: Established in 2017 to promote the Mekong region it is endorsed by the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office to execute targeted projects via a public-private partnership investment structure, led by UNWTO Affiliate Member Chameleon Strategies. Projects include Mekong Moments, Mekong Mini Movie Festival, Experience Mekong Collection, Mekong Heroes, and Mekong Trends.
SeeSeedstars: The Swiss-based private company’s activities cover over 90 emerging ecosystems through venture capital investments and company building activities.