Mekong Tourism forum was held in Siem Reap in Cambodia,
Laos will host the next event to be held at Pakse,
Champasak province in southern Laos, in May 2011.
The 2011 Mekong Tourism Forum will take place in the
emerging destination of Pakse, Champasak province, southern Laos, in May
2011. The announcement was made by the Lao National Tourism Administration
at the end of a revitalised Mekong Tourism Forum, which attracted a larger-than-expected
audience of 213 delegates and closed 8 May in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Mr Sounh Manivong, Director General, Planning &
Cooperation, in the LNTA, told delegates that Champasak was an emerging
destination with the largest waterfall in Southeast Asia and attractions
such as Four Thousand Islands in the Mekong River. The area is known as an
ecotourism retreat with wild nature, ancient temples and quiet riverside
Closing this year’s forum, which was hosted by Cambodia,
the country’s Minister for Tourism, Dr Thong Khon, told delegates that
Cambodia was committed to enhancing intraregional connections and
diversifying its own offerings.
“In 2009, we strived hard to diversify from the cultural
sites of Siem Reap-Angkor to the coastal zones,” said Minister Thong. “We
hope that more flights will be connected to the costal zones as well as
cruise ships. Railway links from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville are under
During the forum, themed “New Roads, New Opportunities,”
businesses such as The Gibbon Experience, Khiri Travel, Asian Overland
Travel, Hanuman Travel and Green Discovery, and Bangkok Airways stressed the
importance of innovation.
Organisations such as the Netherlands Development
Organisation (SNV), the Wildlife Conservation Society, and Thailand’s
Community-Based Tourism Institute stressed the crucial role of sustainable,
small-scale community based projects. Altiva Hospitality and The Pavilion (Cambodia)
showed how responsible private sector initiatives could make a profit,
respect the environment and create jobs in a region where average income in
rural areas can be less than US$2 a day.
Other speakers expressed concerns about border crossings.
Luzi Matzig, Group CEO of Asian Trails, told the forum
that governments could easily boost cross-border tourism by slashing the red
tape that makes it difficult or impossible to drive to a neighbouring
country. “If you want to easily boost tourism, liberate cross-border road
traffic,” he said.
Some red tape is being cut. During the forum, Myanmar
announced that effective 1 May it was offering visas on arrival at Yangon
and Mandalay international airports.
After speaking at the forum this year, Bangkok Airways’
Vice President for Corporate Communications, ML Nandhika Varavarn, said: “It
is great that the Mekong Tourism Forum has come back so strong with a big
and enthusiastic audience. The forum is once again a relevant meeting place
for Mekong region tourism cooperation and innovation.”
The Mekong Tourism Forum was hosted by the Ministry of
Tourism Cambodia with financial support from the USAID-funded ASEAN
Competitiveness Enhancement project and the Mekong Tourism Coordinating
Office. The 25 booths at this year’s Mekong Tourism Forum sold out quickly
and were popular with sustainable tourism operators. For further information
email to: [email protected] mekongtourism.org or call the Mekong Tourism Coordinating
Office at: (+66) 2-612-4150.
Nok Mini Air opens a new direct flight, linking Chiang
Rai with Xishuangbanna in Yunnan, South China on June 1, 2010.
Xishuangbanna city is growing rapidly both economically
and as a tourist destination. It offers several tourist spots, as well as
cultural centers, and new economic development projects.
Dr. Jane Charnarong, the Managing Director of Nok Mini
Air said the Chiang Rai – Xishuangbanna route is the airline’s first
international route, adding that Xishuangbanna has many historical ties with
Nok Mini Air will operate daily flights, departing Chiang
Rai Airport at 12.00 p.m. (local Thai time) and arriving in Xishuangbanna at
2.00 p.m. (local Chinese time) using a Saab 340 B Aircraft with 33 seats.
The return trip will leave Xishuangbanna Airport at
2.p.m. (local Chinese time), and arrive Chiang Rai Airport at 2.p.m. (local
Thai time). The ticket is priced at 5,600 baht a person per trip, the
airline officials said.