Ayutthaya, Thailand – October 2, 2023. Mekong Institute (MI), with the support of the Mekong-Republic of Korea Cooperation Fund (MKCF), organized the Mekong Heritage City Investment Forum in Ayutthaya, Thailand. The forum is the first of the five-part series under MI’s three-year Sustainable and Smart Tourism Development project. The said project aims to unlock the economic and environmental potential of selected heritage provinces of the Mekong region, including culturally-rich Ayutthaya, Luang Prabang, Siem Reap, Hue, and Bagan.
These investment forums are designed to convene key government stakeholders, private sector associations, business innovators, and potential investors to promote sustainable tourism, address the specific needs of these provinces, facilitate the exchange of cutting-edge technology, and foster mutually-beneficial partnerships.
The Ayutthaya Investment Forum served as a vital platform for investors and local government and private sector stakeholders to identify and discuss investment needs, interests, and opportunities. This allowed them to connect and pave the way for future partnerships with the ultimate goal of transforming Ayutthaya into a sustainable and smart heritage destination.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Kokchai Chayrusmeeku, Vice-Governor of Pra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Province, expressed his appreciation to Korean investors for their interest in reinforcing the growing partnership with Thailand and conveyed his enthusiasm to strengthen economic ties.
Building upon the Vice Governor's remarks, Mr. Madhurjya Dutta, Director of the Trade and Investment Facilitation Department at the Mekong Institute, highlighted the importance of promoting tourism in Mekong heritage cities and expressed optimism that the forum would lay the groundwork for sustainable tourism development.
Among the highlights of the forum is the presentation of investment opportunity profiles in the province. Representatives from Ayutthaya’s tourism sector shared their vision for transforming Ayutthaya’s heritage sites into inclusive and accessible tourism destinations. They also discussed plans to enhance the city’s smart infrastructure through advanced technology, focusing on waste disposal, green energy, and possible public-private collaboration and partnerships.
Following the presentations was an investment matching, which was conducted in small group discussions. Local stakeholders interacted directly with potential investor and business partner, allowing detailed discussions to clarify investment opportunity profiles, address queries, and foster meaningful connections.
Participants visited heritage sites and key business locations, providing further insights into Ayutthaya’s economy and an overview of its tourism market.
The event featured diverse funding sources, including national and provincial government funds, multilateral organizations, RoK initiatives, private and direct investments, equity financing, and Korean corporations. Government agencies, development banks, venture capital firms, and NGOs also played key roles in funding investments and initiatives. Preferred investment forms were discussed such as direct investment, joint ventures, build-operate-transfer (BoT), and public-private partnerships (PPPs).
In the coming weeks, similar forums will take place in other four selected heritage cities, further solidifying partnerships and propelling sustainable tourism development in the Mekong region.