Mekong Institute (MI) officials and partner representatives of the Sustainable and Smart Tourism Development in the Mekong Region project discussed ways forward to revitalize the region’s tourism economic against a COVID-19 landscape on September 8, 2020.
“MI’s focus is to restore travelers’ confidence by working with partners in Korea and Mekong countries to put forward innovative but safe measures that will spur inbound tourism into the region,” Mr. Madhurjya Kumar Dutta, MI’s Director of Trade and Investment Facilitation, said during the meeting.
Mr. Dutta underscored that while some countries are beginning to ease travel restrictions, the economic impacts brought on by the pandemic will require a rethinking of marketing and promotion strategies. “Our priority is to enhance the resilience of small- and medium-sized enterprises and local companies, as they are the economic engines in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam.”
With those objectives, MI’s partners—which includes Myanmar’s Ministry of Hotels and Tourism—also discussed the merits of exposing Mekong country representatives to best practices of the Republic of Korea’s tourism industry, as well as the need for capacity building support such as practical sessions on implementing business campaigns through digital platforms and designing protocols to keep tourists and employees COVID-19 safe.
Mr. Hla Myint, Director of the International and Regional Cooperation Department at Myanmar’s Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, said that “working in synergy will fast track the revitalization of the region’s tourism industry.” He further underscored that sustainable and resilient tourism is a shared vision, which will require Mekong member countries to collectively implement well-organized programs and initiatives.
In support of this, Ms. Daisy Park, Project Team Leader representing the Republic of Korea stated that the project will be guided by the tenets of regional cooperation. “This Mekong-Republic of Korea Cooperation Fund (MKCF) and MI partnership will help highlight the unique cultural and natural diversity of the Mekong region. More importantly, it will deepen collaboration between Korea and Mekong countries to widen the practice of sustainable and smart tourism for the benefit of all our people.”
Supported by the MKCF , the meeting is part of numerous activities under the project, which aims to introduce smart tourism tools, techniques, and technologies through learning exchanges, structured learning visits, information-sharing, and adaption of best practices. Such investments are geared to expand small entrepreneurial businesses and deepen cultural interconnectedness and appreciation among and between cities in the Republic of Korea and the Mekong region countries.