Changing of the guard at Mekong Tourism

BANGKOK, 4 October 2021: Mekong Tourism is heading for a busy October with two key events to round off Jens Thraenhart’s almost eight years of leadership that comes to a close on 15 October. 

Outgoing executive director Jens Thraenhart commented: “As I am nearing the end of my almost eight years as executive director of the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office, I am very excited to work with our tiny team to produce two events in October.”

Jens Thraenhart.

The list of projects to be showcased at the two events include the launch of a new Experience Mekong Collection consumer website (www.experiencemekong.com), the posting of the Mekong Tourism Communications Plan, announcement of the 2021 Mekong Hero award, and the final pitches of the Mekong Innovations in Sustainable Tourism programme (MIST).

Thraenhart notes that “they will be my last events for Mekong Tourism, but I will stay connected and hope to keep in touch with all of you.”

Reliable sources say discussions on the appointment of a replacement executive director will go almost to the wire for the six countries to agree on who takes over from Thraenhart. According to the plan, the MTCO six countries* need to announce their choice at the Destination Mekong Summit from 21 to 22 October. Thraenhart’s last day at the MTCO office is set for 15 October. 

Destination Mekong World Tourism Forum 6 to 7 October

The virtual event will highlight the 2021 finalists who competed for honours in the annual Mekong Innovations in sustainable Tourism (MIST) & Experience Mekong Showcases (EMS).

The shortlisted finalists will make their final pitch at the virtual forum, taking centre stage to showcase sustainable tourism initiatives and social enterprises.

There are 15 finalists for the Experience Mekong Showcases 2021 from  Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand, Vietnam, and Guangxi and Yunnan in  China.  Due to the current situation in Myanmar, the Mekong Tourism Advisory Group board decided to recognise all shortlisted businesses from Myanmar as Experience Mekong Showcases.

Register for free at https://www.destinationmekong.com/world-tourism-day-21/

Destination Mekong Summit 21 to 22 October

The virtual event will feature keynote speakers such as hotel designer Bill Bensley and social impact innovator Jimmy Pham, founder of Hanoi based social enterprise and Experience Mekong Showcase recipient, KOTO (Know One – Teach One).

Other speakers include the winner of MIST 2018, Aroun KKK of Bamboo Lao, and MIST 2019 Finalist, Ros Rotanak of Cambodia-based Chef Nak. Welcome remarks will be given by Natalia Bayona, Director of Innovvation, Investment, and Education of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), and Steven Schipani, Principal Tourism Industry Specialist of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The forum will be moderated live from the Innovation Lab at Sasin Business School at Bangkok-based Chulalongkorn University by Wimintra Raj, founder of HotelIntel and Jens Thraenhart.

During the summit, the Mekong Heroes selection committee chair, Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, a former Minister of Tourism and Sports, will announce the winner of the 2021 Mekong Hero award.

For more information and to register, visit https://www.destinationmekong.com/event-directory/.

*The Mekong region is made up of Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. MTCO is directly funded by the six countries. 

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