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Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor, Tourism Authority of Thailand and Pimpawee Nopakitgumjorn, Director of Market Management at Expedia Group during MOU announcement media briefing.

Expedia is partnering with the Tourism Authority of Thailand to push more tourists to secondary destinations in Thailand.

The online travel booking system signed what the TAT called its “first MOU with a global OTA focused on tourism marketing”.

Actual details of the MOU were sketchy, but Expedia said it would share “valuable traveller-centric data, insights and inbound travel trends with the TAT to enable the government agency to plan specific focused promotional campaigns.

In return, Expedia gains recognition as a partner promoting travel to secondary destinations in Thailand, which should boost the recruitment of new ] member hotels and resorts beyond gateway cities for the global OTA.

TAT needs to ensure more travel content and hotel accommodation in the secondary destinations is available on OTA networks. Currently, the main destinations are covered, but there is a big tail off when travellers browse lesser-known destinations particularly in North and Northeast Thailand.

The MOU gives Expedia a channel to boost hotel and resort membership possibly appealing to small boutique accommodation and homestay owners often targeted by Airbnb and other home sharing platforms.

TAT has identified a strategy to disperse international tourists to second tier destinations to ease overcrowding at popular urban and beach destinations such as Bangkok and Phuket.

Based on the MOU, Expedia says it will offer digital skill training and workshops on its tech platform open to resorts and travel content suppliers in secondary destinations.   But to be eligible resorts will need to join ‘Expedia Partner Central’, which will boost Expedia’s penetration beyond Thailand’s main destinations.

It will also support TAT in destination marketing campaigns focusing on both primary and secondary cities linked to TAT’s in “Amazing Thailand Go Local” campaign.

TAT has identified six destinations under its “Go Local” campaign.  Sing buri and Anthong in central Thailand attract local tourists interested Chao Phraya river homestays and temple tours.  Trat and Phang Nga are emerging island and beach destinations, while Chanthaburi on the east coast can tap visitors, who use Pattaya as the gateway and Chiang Rai in the far north is an extension of a visit to gateway Chiang Mai.

But online searches show Expedia and all OTAs need to reach out to small resorts in these emerging destinations that are not travel tech savvy.

Expedia can use the connection with TAT to sell travel content to Thai travellers, who make up to 90% of all the trips to the six domestic destinations identified.

TAT says it hopes to increase tourism revenue in the six destinations by 15%, but basic reliable data on tourism earnings in provinces and even an accurate head count of domestic and international visitors is hard to come by.

Under the MOU signed with TAT Expedia will promote joint CSR campaigns to reduce pollution and protect Thailand’s natural resources by raising awareness among travellers who book through Expedia in order to reduce the use of plastic (single-used plastic) and encourage its member hotels to use alternatives packaging.

In its latest travel assessment, TAT forecasts 37.5 million international tourists this year up from 35.3 million in 2017.  2019 will see tourist arrivals rise to around 40 million.

Domestic tourist arrivals this year will reach 160 million and 169 million in 2019. Total revenue earnings from tourism in 2019 will reach THB 3.4 trillion with domestic tourism contributing THB1.2 trillion. This year domestic tourism earnings should pass the THB1 trillion mark. Overall, tourism earnings will contribute around 11% of the country’s GDP.

Read full article at TTRWeekly: http://www.ttrweekly.com/site/2018/09/tat-recruits-expedia-through-mou/

The post TAT recruits Expedia through MOU appeared first on Mekong Tourism.

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The ASEAN Together Run 2019 is trying to promote virtual races to encourage people all around in ASEAN countries to run and explore places.

If you haven’t heard of the term “Virtual Race”. You are probably living under a rock. VR (Virtual Race) is a self-motivated competition that is organised online where you will have to complete a certain distance by running/walking on a date and time of your choosing, anywhere in the world. It is currently on the rise in popularity around the world as it is much more recline than your average fun runs. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is organising ASEAN Together Run 2019 to promote domestic tourism within ASEAN countries through the concept of “Run & Travel through VR.

This was what Mr Tanes Petsuwan, Deputy Director of Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) had to say:

“Running is now enjoying growing interest and is a favourite sport of people around the world. In particular, Thailand has 12 million runners, or 17.4% of Thai population. For ASEAN, the total population is 652 million people. If counting only the countries that running is popular among their people, which are Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore, there will be over 55 million active runners in ASEAN.”

He also highlighted that:

“The three most visited ASEAN countries to Thailand are Malaysia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam totalling over 5,628,156 tourists. It is a group of countries that can facilitate easy travels in a short time and having similarities in culture, food and languages,”

What better way to explore an unknown country than to participate in this VR. Not only can you immerse yourself within the atmosphere of a new area, but also able to clock in some distance for the race. This concept of “Run & Travel” is a way to create a network of ASEAN runners while promoting tourism in any ASEAN countries. Plus, if everyone managed to work together and accumulate a distance of 652,190 kilometres, all the proceeds will be converted as donation to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

Read full article at RunSociety.com: https://www.runsociety.com/news/tourism-authority-of-thailand-launches-asean-together-run-2019/

The post Tourism Authority of Thailand Launches ASEAN Together Run 2019 appeared first on Mekong Tourism.

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PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION

Mekong Tourism featured in new tourism research report supported by Google alongside companies Airbnb and Grab

The report features the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office as a leading force in an effort to drive sustainable tourism growth in the Asia Pacific region.   

   

BANGKOK, September 25, 2018 – Amid showcasing its social inspirational campaign platform mekongmoments.com, the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO) has been featured as a driving force for tourism growth in the Asia Pacific region in a Google supported report published by the Pacific Asia Tourism Association (PATA) and Oxford Economics company Tourism Economics.

Developed by UNWTO Affiliate Member Chameleon Strategies, Mekong Moments is executed by a public-private partnership framework titled Destination Mekong, and powered by a cutting-edge social commerce management system ENWOKE.

The 88-page report showcases Mekong Moments as an effective social commerce platform that encourages travellers to share visual content and experiences by way of hash-tagged social media posts. Designed as a collaborative platform, a higher user participation rate will directly result in more content being created for the region.

One key reason why Mekong Moments was featured among companies such as Airbnb and Grab – as cited by the report – was the fact that the platform also helps to build digital capacity in lesser developed parts of the region, which in turn, enables inclusive growth, poverty alleviation, and visitor dispersion to lessen over-tourism. The platform also empowers businesses to create their own social media contests in addition to optimising their own web presence.

“The most powerful way to communicate the essence of a destination is by the experiences people have,” said Jens Thraenhart, Executive Director of the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office. “And by creating a mosaic of the experiences people have shared, you create this brand via shared experiences. If we capture these experiences and inspire others to share these experiences, that drives more interest in the region.”

Over nine million new jobs can be created within Asia Pacific destinations over the next five years by fully embracing digital platforms and data-driven innovation in the tourism sector, according to the report.

“Now more than ever, it is critical that organisations obtain a thorough understanding of current technologies and innovations to make smarter and more informed decisions to embrace the disruptive and technological changes occurring within the travel and tourism industry,” said PATA CEO Dr. Mario Hardy.

“At PATA, we believe that both the public and private sectors must adopt policies to support a thriving digital ecosystem and work in partnership to enhance access to digital products and services as well as facilitate cross-border data flows,” he said.

The MTCO, by showcasing Mekong Moments, was recently recognized as a PATA Gold Award winner this year, yet another reflection of the organisation’s innovative effort to driving sustainable tourism development in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS).

With travellers increasingly using online platforms before, during and after their trips, the report also highlights several policy recommendations that destinations and policymakers should embrace to support the digital ecosystem and maximise growth opportunities for their stakeholders, including:

  • Continue to invest in digital infrastructure to improve competitiveness;
  • Encourage widespread use of digital platforms, and promote data-driven innovation;
  • Ensure skills shortages are addressed;
  • Address digital use and skills in SMEs to ensure competitiveness in international markets; and
  • Avoid restrictive policy, such as data localisation policies.

The full report can be downloaded from the PATA website at:

https://pata.org/store/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Data-Digital-Platforms-Driving-Tourism-Growth-in-Asia-Pacific.pdf

Title Photo: The web homepage of the award-winning and report-featured social commerce management platform ‘Mekong Moments’. 

For further information please contact:

Justin Millerson
FLAME.asia
Communications & Content Studio
Phone: 082-605-6946
E-mail: justin@flame.asia
Web: www.Flame.asia

 

About Mekong Moments

Mekong Moments is a globally unique and pioneering visual consumer marketing campaign and travel inspiration platform that collaboratively promotes the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) as a single tourism destination in addition to driving direct business to individual businesses through social commerce. Regardless of type and size, businesses have encouraged their guests, staff, and stakeholders to share their experiences via their own social media accounts by tagging #MekongMoments as well as the respective hashtag of the experience (hotel, restaurant, destination, attraction, event, tour, shop, etc.). All properly tagged user-generated content is aggregated to www.mekongmoments.com, which in effect, directs traffic to the corresponding websites of the experiences and/or businesses.

Mekong Moments has been carefully planned over two years to meet the requirements of a public-private partnership agreement between six tourism ministries and six companies including IHG, Small Luxury Hotels, Khiri Travel, and Odyssey Tours China with a purpose to create a sustainable and efficient tourism program for the GMS. The initiative is aligned with the Experience Mekong Tourism Marketing Strategy 2015-2020 and the GMS Tourism Sector Strategy 2016-2025. UNWTO Affiliate Member Chameleon Strategies used their web-development technology ENWOKE to build Mekong Moments platform and used significant input from the travel and tourism industry to refine its function and overall purpose.

Please visit www.mekongmoments.info for more information.

 

About the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office

The Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO), located in Bangkok, was set up with funding from the governments of the six Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) countries – Cambodia, the People’s Republic of China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam. The MTCO, which operates on annual financial contributions from each GMS country, acts as the secretariat for the GMS Tourism Working Group, comprising of senior officials of the six GMS countries’ National Tourism Organizations, to coordinate and facilitate sustainable tourism development of the GMS in line with the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, and promotion of the Mekong region as a single travel and tourism destination, in collaboration with the public and private sectors. The MTCO manages its award-winning MekongTourism.org digital platform as a one-stop platform to promote responsible and sustainable tourism in the region, as well as the annual Mekong Tourism Forum, whose hosting is rotated among GMS countries.

Please visit www.MekongTourism.org for more information.

About Destination Mekong

Destination Mekong was created in 2017 to promote the Mekong region, comprising of Cambodia, PR China (Provinces of Guangxi and Yunnan), Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam as a single tourism destination to stimulate responsible and sustainable development and investment, and drive inclusive growth. Endorsed by the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office and aligned with the mandate of the regional collaborative tourism framework of the six-member governments of the Greater Mekong Subregion, Destination Mekong executes targeted projects and initiatives via public-private partnership investment structures, including Mekong Moments and Mekong Trends, led by UNWTO Affiliate Member Chameleon Strategies.

Please visit www.DestinationMekong.com for more information.

About ENWOKE

ENWOKE is a Software as a Service (SaaS) modules that enables collaborative social commerce. The first implementation of ENWOKE is in Mekong Moments, a public-private partnership with the governments of China, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam through the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO). Mekong Moments is a capacity building platform, allowing any tourism business or provider of services – regardless of size – to run social media campaigns, consolidate social content, have personalized websites, partake in knowledge exchange and build a collaborative content cloud to promote the region overall. For consumers, it is a travel-inspirational platform to find user-generated visual and authentic content about destinations and experiences, matching their personal traveller type. It helps them to find niche experiences, plan their trips and connect with friends and like-minded travellers.

Please visit www.enwoke.com for more information.

 

About Chameleon Strategies

Chameleon Strategies is an innovative ‘Strategy Think Tank’ that helps its clients to capture and execute on emerging trends, including technology, digital marketing, customer relationship management, blogger and influencer marketing, sharing economy and peer-to-peer business models, data, as well as adapt to the growing influence of the Asian consumer on an international market place.

Please visit www.chameleonstrategies.com for more information.

 

The post Mekong Tourism featured in new tourism research report supported by Google alongside companies Airbnb and Grab appeared first on Mekong Tourism.

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Myanmar has recently launched a new tourism brand called “Myanmar Be Enchanted”. The launching ceremony was held at Pullman Hotel in Yangon attended by Union Minister of Ministry of Hotel & Tourism, officials from embassies in Yangon and stakeholders in the industry.

The Union Minster U Ohn Maung delivered the opening speech and Daw May Myat Mon Win, chairperson of Myanmar Tourism Marketing Association delivered the presentation. According to Ms. May, the new tourism branding is ready to used by all tourism stakeholders in the country.

Myanmar had previously used the tourism branding “Let the Journey Begins”.

“I think the new tourism brand intends to integrate and highlight values associated with cultures, traditions, destinations, foods and people of Myanmar. The most important thing is the new brand be well-communicated along our tourism value chain so that it will be fully utilized in marketing and promotional activities. The previous branding was not fully utilized by some stakeholders. I feel positive for the new brand and really appreciated at the Union Minister and the ministry’s commitment to drive the industry forward against current crisis.” commented, Dr. Lu Mon, vice chairman of Union of Myanmar Travel Association (UMTA).

“All our states and regions have different touristic values. Some tourists do not know our country name but know only Bagan or Inle Lake. So it is imperative that state and regional governments need to know they also need to take charge in order to promote, develop and manage tourism in their own states and regions. Thus either city or region tourism brands should be encouraged in line with the national tourism brand too. Healthy competition among states and regions will leads to faster tourism development.” continued Lu Mon.

According to Lu Mon, UMTA has made suggestion to Yangon regional government for the need of Yangon region brand.

The post Myanmar launches new national tourism brand appeared first on Mekong Tourism.

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Photo: CNN.com

Vietnam was named among the destinations with the biggest year-over-year increase in international tourist arrivals, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO)’s report.

Vietnam ranks third in the top 10 countries with the biggest increase in international tourist arrivals in 2017 compared to 2016.

In particular, Egypt increased 55.1%, Togo (46.7%), Vietnam (29.1%), Palestine (25.7%); Niue (25.4%); Nepal (24.9%); Israel (24.6%); Northern Mariana Islands (24.3%); Turkey (24.1%); Iceland (24.1%); and Macedonia (23.5%).

The UNWTO’s report named “Tourism Highlights 2018” has reviewed the number of international tourists worldwide in 2017. Accordingly, as for the most popular destinations in the world, Europe took the lead with almost half of the world’s total international arrivals, at 671 million. Europe was also home to six of the ten most visited countries in 2017, with France in the lead.

Read full article at Nhan Dan Online: http://en.nhandan.org.vn/travel/item/6575902-vietnam-sees-fastest-growth-in-tourist-arrivals.html

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Photo: Amazing Thailand

Tourism slogans daily shout out “Malaysia truly Asia,” “Incredible India,” “Greece All Time Classic,” “Rendez Vous En France.” Meantime “Its More Fun in the Philippines” fails to rival “Amazing Thailand.” Reuters announced this Year 2018 that 37 million tourists join the sightseeing tour in the striking temples, palaces, and exotic performing art shows. What is truly amazing is Thai cuisine. As Brian Bell, Insight guide editor says ”You bet it can be hot. It can be cool. There is nothing bland about Thai cuisine which most likely explains it universal appeal.” While the Philippines runs out of rice supply and resort to importing it, Filipino farmers are likely to shift to other occupations.

The outstanding food sourcing of Thailand

The daily output of abundant quality fruits, seafood and vegetables in Thai markets, restaurants, sidewalk hawkers are encouraged by the local people themselves and not just the tourists. Thais enjoy eating and drinking to the limits of his purse and frequently beyond. Up in the cooler highlands of the North where the Royal Project was founded by His Majesty King Bhumibol, Thai farmers and hill tribes continue the horticulture experiments replacing the usual pine trees with fruit-bearing trees, developing quality peaches, pomegranate, apples, and grapes, figs and lychees.

His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej has also turned over his palace grounds to agricultural purposes. Behind the walls of Chitralada Palace, where the king lives, are gardens transformed into an agricultural research station, with a dairy farm, rice fields, and orchards. His involvement with agriculture began with a concerted effort to find new crops for the hill tribes, in order to wean them from opium cultivation. He then applied this experience to farm programs.

Thai agri research stations – a model for DA Sec. Piñol

The Royal Project Foundation works in the provinces of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Lamphun, Mae Hong Son and Phayao. It has four research stations all situated in Chiang Mai and 34 development centers which cover 294 villages with a total population of 73,425. The Royal Project’s main Research stations are: 1) The Royal Al Angkhang Agriculture Station researches on temperate fruits, vegetables and fruit tree collection and production and training. Al Angkhang has a substation inside the Doi Inthanon National Park. It is a 35-hectare farm of beautiful apple and peach trees together with the “miracle” mahogany. (Prof. Charuphant has taught us to propagate this 124 eucalyptus trees in the Preziosa Botanic Park); 2) The Royal Pangdaha Agricultural Station which main function is to multiply fruit trees with training facilities for this purpose. It takes care of semi-temperate vegetable research; 3) The Inthanon Station promotes crops to the hill tribes, works on horticulture research and produces all of the Royal Project plant requirements through tissue culture. Its sub-station Khun Huay Heang researches on pomegranate, figs, guava, and seedless grapes; 4) The Mae Lord Coffee Research Stations studies the Arabica coffee of rust-free varieties.

Read full article at Philstar: https://www.philstar.com/other-sections/education-and-home/2018/09/06/1848972/what-amazing-thailand#ejg6GpvG4vLHCFTp.99

The post What is amazing in Thailand? appeared first on Mekong Tourism.

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Thais’ intended travel spend is growing faster than the regional and global average, according to Visa’s Global Travel Intentions Study, which also found that most travellers from the market are using cards rather than cash for their pre-trip payments.

The study examines international travel trends and behaviour of 17,500 travellers from 27 countries around the world.

The study show that the intended travel spend of Thais have surged 51% ahead, compared to Asia-Pacific (46%) and global travellers (36%).

The average Thai traveller spends US$1,502 per trip and that is expected to increase to US$2,252 for future travel, based on respondent feedback. On average, Asia-Pacific and global travellers spend more, US$ 1,677 and US$1,793 respectively, but see lower movement in future travel expenditure.

Suripong Tantiyanon, country manager, Visa Thailand, said: “From our conversation with different players in the tourism industry, an increase in intended spending of Thai travellers can be attributed to the fact that there are more financial products today than ever before. They are more sophisticated and better suited to travellers’ needs, with added benefits and privileges. As a result, Thai travellers are more confident and willing to spend more.”

The study also revealed that the use of payment cards is prevalent especially during the pre-trip stage. Three in four (76%) Thai travellers reportedly prefer and use payment cards for pre-trip expenditures, such as flight and hotel reservation, compared to cash at 52%.

Respondents cited their preference towards payment cards are due to promotion, lower transaction fees, better rewards for international usage and higher security.

Despite the fact that cash is used by all Thai travellers at some point during their trip, credit cards are also heavily featured at 67%. A quarter of Thai travelers use a different card to their usual one whilst abroad, basing their decision on transaction speed, wider acceptability at international retailers, lower fees and better rewards.

Additionally, 26% of Thai travellers would have spent more with wider card acceptance.

Interestingly, the use of digital wallet is fast emerging, with a quarter of Thai travellers having used it at their destination. Solo and bleisure travellers, in particular, are the heavier users of digital wallets at 41%.

Read full article at TTG Asia: https://www.ttgasia.com/2018/09/07/growth-in-intended-thai-travel-spend-leaps-ahead-of-global-average/

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CEBU PACIFIC is one of ATR’s clients in the Philippines.

AIRLINES are factoring in the changing traveling habits of Chinese tourists, who are starting to dominate the global tourism market, when they purchase new aircraft

Laurent Janitzar, sales director of turboprop manufacturer ATR, said a growing number of Chinese travelers are ditching group tours and heading to new, less-known destinations.

“The Southeast Asia market is a big Chinese tourist market. The Chinese tourism market is changing slightly. It used to be tour groups going together, people going everywhere. That was typical. You had to bring them from China, bring them to the hub, then to the major destination. The younger generation… are starting to be able to want to go to off-the-beaten-tracks areas,” he said during a media briefing in Singapore late last month.

Mr. Janitzar said the trend is already being seen in Thailand and Indonesia.

“The airlines are going to have to respond to that. And the turboprop is going to be the aircraft that will make sense to send these people who want to look for remote areas.”

In a separate interview with BusinessWorld, Mr. Janitzar said its 50-seater aircraft — the ATR 42 — is ideal for such a market, because these tourists usually travel in sizes of 30 to 40.

“If you take an ATR 72 (an approximately 70-seater aircraft) today, you’re going to have a third of the aircraft full. That will not make sense. Now it’s up to the airline to decide whether there’s a potential for having more passengers once there is an airline connection or not,” he said.

He noted airlines can use small aircraft to test new routes with thin traffic.

Mr. Janitzar said ATR can take advantage of this trend, as it is the only aircraft manufacturer producing small capacity planes.

“All the other (original equipment manufacturers) have discontinued manufacturing 50-seater, because there was a trend in the last few years for more seats, bigger aircraft, and ATR kept on flying and producing the ATR 42. We find ourselves in a very sweet spot now, where everybody’s starting to go back to this kind platform, and we have the aircraft available,” he said.

Read full article at BusinessWorld: http://www.bworldonline.com/influence-of-chinese-tourists-increasingly-seen-in-airlines/

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Japanese tourists visit Thiên Mụ Pagoda in Huế in central Việt Nam.
Photo: Quốc Việt

With beautiful beaches and resorts, world heritage sites and modern cities, Việt Nam is an ideal destination for Japanese tourists, a Japanese travel official has said.

Since 2015, Japanese overseas travel has grown strongly, with Asian destinations mostly contributing to the increase, according to Hideaki Murai, deputy general manager of the Japan Association of Travel Agents’ Outbound Travel Promotion Division.

Thailand, Việt Nam and Philippines are key Asian destinations for Japanese tourists, he said at a conference on Việt Nam- Japan Tourism Development held on September 7 in HCM City.

More airline seats, an increase in overseas travel among youth, and more local holidays have all contributed to overseas travel among Japanese tourists.

Seniors with money and time are the most important segment of Japanese tourists to Việt Nam, according to Murai.

Females who travel for leisure are the most influential segment, while families with three generations of travel experience are also attractive segments that could be developed further.

Business travel to Việt Nam has also grown strongly in recent years.

Murai said that Japanese preferred staying at beach resorts and visiting world heritage sites, and having impressive and surprising experiences.

Popular destinations in the central region in Việt Nam are currently most favoured by Japanese tourists because of beautiful beaches, world heritage sites and natural resources.

Hạ Long Bay in the north and HCM City in the south also attract a large number of Japanese tourists.

More than half of Japanese tourists to Việt Nam visit HCM City, an ideal destination for shopping, dining, fashion and educational tours, according to Murai.

To lure more Japanese visitors, he said that tourism authorities in HCM City should develop new tourism spots and enhance the quality of tour guides as well as promotional activities. Relaxing Việt Nam’s entry visa regulations for Japanese would also be helpful.

Close business relations between the two countries should also be tapped to expand travel from Japan to Việt Nam.

To increase the number of repeat visitors, quality of services should be enhanced, according to Murai.

Kanda Mizuho, assistant director of the ASEAN – Japan Centre’s Tourism & Exchange Division, said the number of Japanese outbound travelers to countries in ASEAN last year totalled 17.8 million.

Last year, Việt Nam welcomed 798,100 Japanese tourists, up 7.8 per cent compared to the previous year.

The most common concerns among Japanese overseas travellers are safety, language barriers, anxiety about health, and cumbersome travel applications and procedures.

School trips

Việt Nam is popular for overseas education trips organised by high schools in Japan due to low costs, safety, and good relations with Japan.

The number of overseas school trips to Việt Nam rose to 17 in 2016 from only four trips in 2014.

Read full article at VietNamNews: http://vietnamnews.vn/life-style/465390/viet-nam-taps-japanese-tourist-market.html#3SPTjp3UDi8T2iwH.99

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PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION

One of five ‘Editor’s Choice’ winners Phat Sethi holds a trophy shaped like an Irrawaddy Dolphin, a species labelled endangered by the World Wildlife Federation (WWF), a partner sponsor of the Mekong Mini Movie Festival.

Mekong Mini Movie Festival judges selected its first 12 winners for their outstanding work in visually showcasing experiences in member countries of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS).

If you pull open the curtain of this year’s first annual Mekong Minis Movie Festival contest, this is what you will see – a collection of 60-second-long doses of euphoria, and while 12 submissions have already been bestowed reward, Mekong Tourism judges will select another set of winners to round off the year-long contest in early 2019.
The contest, a campaign by the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO) in collaboration with the tourism ministries of the GMS member countries, is executed by Destination Mekong on the MekongMoments.com web platform, and guided by an advisory board (www.MekongMinis.com/judges).

The first stage of this contest ran from January 15 to May 15, a four-month time period for interested participants to put together a 60-second or less clip to showcase one or more countries of the Mekong region and compete for trips in the region sponsored by the Tourism Ministries of the countries as well as private sector partners. The impact of the submissions proved to be staggering. Three-hundred mini-movies (eligibly tagged with #Minis #MekongMoments #[Country]) were spread on social media and reached over six million views collectively as a result.

“For me, it’s all about adventure – I love stepping off a plane or a bus into somewhere new and unknown,” said Australian Nick Sullivan, one of twelve winners announced thus far. “To experience new sights, activities, cultures and cuisines is something I’m always chasing and I love to be pushed out of my comfort zone.”

Sullivan’s video opens with him about to take a gulp of tea under the salty waters of the South China Sea, a fitting visual that sets up the playful nature of his minute-long showcase of Viet Nam. Charmed with an upbeat music and subtle ambience, the award-winning video included a series of eventful snippets of a journey he’s not soon to forget.

“I shot this video whilst on a 6-week holiday,” Sullivan said. “I had just quit my job at a television station in Australia and was with two of my best mates, eating and drinking our way through Southeast Asia.”

“I think the video offers a snapshot into exactly what our experience was like,” he added. “We met some amazing local people, experienced some of the best food Viet Nam has to offer, travelled through the beautiful landscapes and immersed ourselves in the culture. I still watch this video regularly as it inspires me to book my next trip and get out there and experience the world.”

“Today, a video is a powerful medium in inspiring travellers and promoting a destination,” remarked Jens Thraenhart, Executive Director of the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office. “It has the chance to awaken wanderlust within the viewer by showing the essence and draw of a place in just a few moments.”

The twelve winners, recognised at this year’s Mekong Tourism Forum (MTF) in Nakhon Phanom, Thailand, were selected by three different judging groups over a one-month vetting process by industry experts (Editorial Choice), by category sponsors (Category winners), and by attendees of the MTF (Industry Choice). Each winning filmmaker received a WWF sponsored Irrawaddy Dolphin trophy specially designed by Thai designer Thanwin Kamyeam. Also awarded was a once-in-a-lifetime trip in the GMS worth up to $16,000 USD supported by festival partner Khiri Travel. Rounding off this year’s festival supporters is Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, which committed to providing prizes for the contest’s ‘luxury’ category.

“The Mekong Mini Movie Festival is an inspiring initiative that promotes the unique character of the Mekong region through shared video experiences from the roads and rivers less travelled,” said Cambodia-based Lonely Planet guidebook author and film location scout of Hanuman Films, Nick Ray, one of the festival’s judges.

Travelling is one of my life’s passions,” said Editorial Choice winner Phat Sethi from Cambodia. “I love to go see how beautiful the world is and capture all I find. I’m so glad to be the winner of the Mekong Mini Movie competition, I feel more inspired to continue doing what I’m doing.”

Sethi was rewarded for a mash-up video showcasing the people and the cultural thrill of Cambodia. Ariel shots of aged temples cut with panoramic beach views are just the tip of Sethi’s 58-second cinematic excerpt. The young filmmaker, often seen wearing a baseball cap and a DSLR camera around his neck, can be found on Instagram under username @sethizelo.

“During my exchange semester in Bangkok, I found some pictures on Instagram from the Grand Canyon in Chonburi and I was so fascinated about it that I went there a few days later to make the [Mekong Mini Movie Festival] video,” said Christian Bruckmüller from Germany, winner of the Industry Choice award for Thailand.

His video opens with a tall man looking out upon a colossal canyon entrenched among the stone platforms of rural Chonburi. As the camera pans closer behind the bare shoulders of the sight-seer, a vast crystal-blue water reservoir leaks into frame. The sun-kissed man wearing an autumn-brown fedora on a full head of shaggy blonde hair then walks along a long-grass path leading to Chonburi’s increasingly famous Snow Mountain, which erects just meters away from the deep gash shown in the video’s opening seconds.

“The most fascinating thing was that it does not look like a typical place in Thailand and it even looked a bit like being on another planet,” Bruckmüller said. “I am really happy and proud about myself for being one of the winners for the Mekong Mini Movie Festival. It gives me the motivation to make more travel videos, especially in Thailand and neighbouring countries in Southeast Asia.”

The next set of awards will be announced at next year’s ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) in Quang Ninh, Viet Nam and interested participants still have several weeks to make their submissions. The MTCO is still collecting ‘individual country’ submissions for the Viewer’s Choice Awards until October 31, which will be decided by votes collected from the public on www.MekongMinis.com between October 31 to December 15.

Submissions are also being collected for ‘regional’ video showcases, which must include footage of at least three-member countries of the Mekong area – China (Yunnan and Guang Xi provinces), Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Viet Nam and Thailand.

 

Stage one winners

  • Editorial Choice

CAMBODIA

Sethi Zelo Phat, Cambodia

@sethizelo Instagram

LAO PDR

Sandra Paier (Sunny), Austria

@Lifeof_sunny Instagram

 

MYANMAR

Baptiste Petit, France

@baptiste2344 Instagram

THAILAND

Roxanne El Tolony, Germany

@r.oxa.nn.e Instagram

VIET NAM

Nick Sullivan, Australia

@wearerunaway Instagram

  • Industry Choice

CAMBODIA

Ric Gazarian, USA

@Global_Gaz YouTube

 

LAO PDR

Maria Kasatina, Russia

@mashikc_travel Instagram

MYANMAR

Monica Ramírez Estrada & Kevin Schuster, Belgium & Mexico

@vagajuntos Instagram

THAILAND

Christian Bruckmüller, Germany

@christianbrucki Instagram

VIET NAM

Dominic Doan, USA

@dominic.firelitfilms Instagram

 

  • Category Winners

LUXURY

Sebastian Ruiz, Colombia

@jsebasruiz Instagram

ENVIRONMENT

Paul Moore, USA

@chowtraveller Instagram

 

Deadlines for stage two awards at ATF 2019

  • October 31

Country submissions (to be eligible for Viewer’s Choice Awards) at ATF 2019
Voting Open from October 15 to December 15

  • December 15

    Category submissions – ATF 2019 Prizes (i.e. #Luxury)
    Regional submissions (at least three countries in single video) at ATF 2019

How to get selected

Winners will get evaluated based on the below selection criteria:

  • Unique perspective, from film-making to creativity
    Promoting experiences and destinations in the Mekong Region
    How well the story is being told to inspire and capture the audience

The following submissions will not be considered:

  • Generally abusive content (content that is inappropriate, indecent, obscene, hateful, tortious, defamatory, insulting, bullying, slanderous, or libellous or otherwise depicts inappropriate behaviour or physical injury or death to living beings)
  • Dangerous or irresponsible behaviour which may cause harm to self or others
  • Harassment content
  • Racial or discriminatory content
  • Pornographic content
  • Political or cultural-sensitive content, or in violation of applicable laws and regulations
  • Copyrighted content (that the user does not have rights to)
  • Anything that goes against our page house rules (link to house rules)

Basic entry requirements

  • Maximum length 54 seconds (if selected, we will include a three second branded Mekong Minis intro and a three second branded Mekong Minis outro)
  • Should include only material that you have rights to (no copyrighted and protected music, sounds, imagery, or video)
  • If a submission is not in English, then participants must be ready to provide a translated transcript into English
  • Participants must agree to all Rules, Terms & Conditions
  • We reserve the right to edit the content but not alter the substance of the piece
  • Participants must be at least 18 to be eligible
  • By posting a video with “#MekongMoments” hashtag on Instagram/Twitter/YouTube (and any other social media platform), it is indicated that the consent, permission to use the tagged video and agreement the contests’ Terms & Conditions is given to Destination Mekong. It is also confirmed that the aforementioned Terms & Conditions are fully read and understood.

Sandra Paier from Germany, winner of the Editorial Choice – Lao PDR

For further information please contact:

Justin Millerson
FLAME.asia
Communications & Content Studio
Phone: 082-605-6946
E-mail: justin@flame.asia
Web: www.Flame.asia

 

About the Mekong Mini Movie Festival

The Mekong Minis is a unique film festival that celebrates the many faces and experiences of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) and promotes the region as a single tourist destination. It is an annual regional tourism marketing campaign with its first instance in 2018, supported by all Tourism Ministries and the private sector in the GMS. The festival is targeted to attract amateur and professional movie makers and create a large amount of content for the region with promotions and screenings internationally. The Mekong Mini Movie Festival campaign is powered by Mekong Moments at www.MekongMoments.com/Minis or www.MekongMinis.com.

 

About the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office

The Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO), located in Bangkok, was set up with funding from the governments of the six Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) countries – Cambodia, the People’s Republic of China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam. The MTCO, which operates on annual financial contributions from each GMS country, acts as the secretariat for the GMS Tourism Working Group, comprising of senior officials of the six GMS countries’ National Tourism Organizations, to coordinate and facilitate sustainable tourism development of the GMS in line with the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, and promotion of the Mekong region as a single travel and tourism destination, in collaboration with the public and private sectors. The MTCO manages its award-winning MekongTourism.org digital platform as a one-stop platform to promote responsible and sustainable tourism in the region, as well as the annual Mekong Tourism Forum, whose hosting is rotated among GMS countries.

Please visit www.MekongTourism.org for more information.

 

 

About Destination Mekong

Destination Mekong was created in 2017 to promote the Mekong region, comprising of Cambodia, PR China (Provinces of Guangxi and Yunnan), Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam as a single tourism destination to stimulate responsible and sustainable development and investment, and drive inclusive growth. Endorsed by the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office and aligned with the mandate of the regional collaborative tourism framework of the six-member governments of the Greater Mekong Subregion, Destination Mekong executes targeted projects and initiatives via public-private partnership investment structures, including Mekong Moments and Mekong Trends, led by UNWTO Affiliate Member Chameleon Strategies.

Please visit www.DestinationMekong.com for more information.

The post Inaugural Mekong Mini Movie Festival decides on first round of winners while setting the stage for its final award ceremony in early 2019 appeared first on Mekong Tourism.

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