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Destination Mekong starts a new life


SIHANOUKVILLE, Cambodia, 21 January  2022: Destination Mekong, the private sector’s marketing organisation promoting the Mekong Region, is preparing a membership drive once it appoints its first board in February, according to chief marketing officer Gerrit Kruger.

Established to spearhead marketing campaigns identified in the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office’s framework and strategy, Destination Mekong aims to have more financial clout to see the projects through based on private sector contributions and sponsorship.

Kruger said a major membership drive would get underway soon to raise finances and sponsorship to fund numerous projects that have been launched under the “Mekong Collection and Mekong Experiences” branding plus events such as the Mekong Destination Summit. It established a cluster of projects that fit the MTCO’s long-term objectives.

Destination Mekong has now established a base in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in offices provided by the country’s Ministry of Tourism. Its newly appointed chief executive officer, Catherine Germier Hamel, attended the ASEAN Tourism Forum this week, her first official assignment since she joined the marketing organisation in November 2021.

“Destination Mekong is now fully incorporated, and during the month after ATF, we will launch the membership and partnership drive, which will allow us to provide full support and benefits to the industry in its recovery efforts., ” she explained. “As a regional tourism board, owned and operated by the private sector and aligned with the policy frameworks of the six governments*, Destination Mekong is now an attractive, informative, and engaging solution to many of our (dialogue partners) in the region. “

Claiming the ATF 2022 demonstrated positive energy and a strong willingness to move forward, she said, “participants seemed to be full of hope and determination, and Cambodia is leading the way towards the recovery to restart of tourism in the region.”

She believes Destination Mekong can now have a life on its own (a reference to its close connection to the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office), championing the Greater Mekong Subregion as a “leading sustainable tourism destination and creating value for all”.

Meanwhile, MTCO faced a crisis this week when its website shut down. Reliable sources claimed a financial glitch caused it to go offline. MTCO is hosted by Thailand’s  Department of Tourism, providing offices and administering MTCO financials, including payments and audit support. The six-member countries contribute an annual grant to keep MTCO functioning.

*The six GMS countries: Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

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