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Mekong Tourism Forum 2013




CHIANGRAI- Discussions among the six countries (Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam) part of the Greater Mekong Sub-region have been going on for a long time to decide on the venue to the next Mekong Tourism Forum in 2013. It was already decided that China would play the host country for this important event, which sees major stakeholders of the tourism industry discussing environment, tourism sustainability, child protection or heritage during the two-days event.

After hesitating between Yunnan and Guangxi, it seems that the city of Guilin (Guangxi) will finally accommodate the event. A tentative date for the show –which is still not officially confirmed- has been for June 19. Only Thailand-based magazine TTR Weekly so far reported about the event after talking to the Mekong Tourism Office’s executive director Mason Florence.
Although the theme is due to be announced rapidly, it seems that China wants to set up an event on a smaller scale, limiting the number of participants. The MTF would then welcome up to 200 delegates, half of them being from other countries.  Details are due to be revealed very rapidly now. Last year in Chiang Rai, the MTF attracted some 300 participants from the six countries but also from a high number of international NGOs and official organizations.

Last year, the event was held in Chiang Rai, Thailand, late May and attracted around 300 travel related executives, government representatives and non-governmental  organisations related to tourism development. In parallel to the MTF event, ministries of tourism as well as head of tourism delegations meet up together for formal discussions to define tourism strategies, under the auspices of the Asia Development Bank, which initiated the event.

Guilin is one of China’s most popular destinations, the city being the gateway to the Li River and its Karst formation.  It is considered as one of the country’s most beautiful sceneries. Tourism generated revenues of RMB 21.83 billion in 2011, up by 29.7% on a year-to-year basis. The autonomous region attracted in 2011 close to 28 million travellers.

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