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Executive Director Exits as Mekong World Tourism Day Forum Now in Final Stages

Jens Thraenhart

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 October 15.

  1. Projects to be showcased include the launch of a new Experience Mekong Collection consumer website and posting of the Mekong Tourism Communications Plan.
  2. Also included will be the announcement of the 2021 Mekong Hero award and final pitches of the Mekong Innovations in Sustainable Tourism program (MIST) reports.
  3. These will be the last events for Mekong Tourism by the current Executive Director.

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.”

The impressive list of projects to be showcased at the two events include the launch of a new Experience Mekong Collection consumer website, 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 program (MIST) reports TTR Weekly.

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.”

Jens Thraenhart was recently named a Tourism Hero by the World Tourism Network (WTN) . This award recognizes those that have shown extraordinary leadership, innovation, and actions, and Jens has consistently succeeded to champion responsible tourism and sustainable tourism agendas, bringing visibility and benefits to SMEs and communities, and diplomatically weaving progressive agendas into high-level public-private partnerships.

TTR WEEKLY says 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.

WTM London 2022 will be taking place from 7-9 November 2022. Register now!

According to the plan, the MTCO six countries (Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Thailand), need to announce their choice at the Destination Mekong Summit from October 21-22. Thraenhart’s last day at the MTCO office is set for October 15. 

Destination Mekong World Tourism Day Forum October 6-7

The virtual event will highlight the 2021 finalists who competed for honors 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 center 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 recognize all shortlisted businesses from Myanmar as Experience Mekong Showcases.

Register for free here.

Destination Mekong Summit October 21-22

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 Innovation, 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-bssed Chulalongkorn University.

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 here.  

The Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO)is administered out of the offices of the Department of Tourism of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports of Thailand, based in Bangkok, and was established with funding from the six governments of Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Thailand, which represent the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS).

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Andrew J. Wood - eTN Thailand

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