A Conference Uniting the Greater Mekong Sub-region in Tourism
The recent TTM+ 2017 hosted a conference titled: “CLMVT: Moving Towards Shared Prosperity”. The term ‘CLMVT’ refers to the nations of Greater Mekong Sub-region. These include Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand.
The purpose of the conference was to discuss how to best leverage the tourism potential of iconic destinations in each country to increase their tourism revenue. They also want to highlight the common cultural history they all share.
Taking part in the conference were representatives from each country in the sub-region. Representing Cambodia was Mr. Seila Hul, the Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Tourism.
Putting a face on the Lao PDR’s tourism was Mr. Vongdeuan Keosulivong, the Acting Director of Division, Tourism Marketing Department, Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism.
Serving the interests of Myanmar was, Mr. Nyi Nyi Oo, the Deputy Director, Directorate of Hotels and Tourism, Ministry of Hotels and Tourism.
Contributing in Vietnam’s interest was Mr. Vu Nam, the Deputy Director General, Tourism Marketing Department, Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism.
Hosting the conference was Mr. Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, the Deputy Governor for Marketing Communications, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).
An Interview with Mr. Chattan – Deputy Governor for Marketing Communications
Mr. Chattan, hosted the conference on behalf of the TAT. He highlighted the fact that although the member countries were eager to work together to raise the tourism profile of the Greater Mekong sub-region, it was up to the individual countries to provide tourism education to their citizens.
The tourism ministries of each country must reach out to training institutes and education ministries in order to provide qualified people to lead the growth in tourism in the respective countries.
They also need to discuss ways to streamline the visa requirements for visiting each country in the sub-region. This was a hot topic, which was a concern to all the member countries.
Finally, he also touched on the need to increase the revenue from each visitor. To increase the revenue, they also have to increase the quality of the travel experience in each country.
Foreign Buyers Show Great Interest in Exploring
The buyers at the conference showed a great deal of interest in going beyond the known tourism destinations and encouraging their clients to explore more of the regions and the countries surrounding Thailand. They kept emphasizing their attraction to cultural experiences outside of the regular tourist destinations. This is right in line with what the CLMVT is planning to provide within the greater Mekong sub-region.
April from the USA Talks about the Need for Rich Experiences
April, a buyer from the USA, underlined the need for tourism operators to expand the cultural side of their industry. Her clients want to explore more of the regional countries and experience the cultures and traditions of the region. They want to cross the Mekong River and see a little bit of the Lao PDR and Cambodia.
Vadim from the Ukraine Wants More Special Interest Tours
For Vadim, a tour operator from the Ukraine, this is his second year attending the TTM+. He wants to see more special interest tours being offered and also asked for the organizers of TTM+ to give more presentations of different areas of Thailand.
Janine from Germany is Looking for Less Well-known Destinations
Janine conducts tours for high-end clients. There is a trend among her clients to avoid the more crowded destinations and they are eager to explore less well-known destinations across the Mekong region. From her point of view some of the more iconic destinations have become too over-priced and are taking advantage of tourists.
Steven, a Seller, Points to More Competition as Producing More Variety
Steven, a seller of tour packages in Thailand, mentioned that the growth of tourism in Thailand is another factor that increases the variety of tour packages being offered. The sellers are in competition with each other. This means they have to offer more unique tour experiences to rise above their competitors and succeed in the tourism marketplace.
A Common Consensus in the Tourism Industry
Expansion of tourism into areas that have not been fully explored and the increase in cultural experiences seem to be a common consensus among all the participants in both CLMVT: Moving Towards Shared Prosperity and TTM+ 2017 as a whole.
This singular trend in tourism gives the member countries of CLMVT a crystal-clear path to follow in increasing both the numbers of visitors to their countries and their overall revenues from tourism.