Public Voting is open to support small responsible businesses during these challenging times.
Bangkok, Thailand – The Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office is announcing the 15 Finalists of the Experience Mekong Showcases 2021 from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand Viet Nam, as well as Guangxi and Yunnan in PR China. Finalists from Myanmar this year will be judged differently via an industry panel made up of relevant Mekong Tourism Advisory Group members. Three thousand eligible votes determined three Experience Mekong Collection members from each of the five participating countries this year for the next round of voting for this prestigious recognition. Now open for a public vote until August 31st, the six Experience Mekong Showcases will be announced at the 2021 Destination Mekong Summit later on this year. You can cast your vote here.
The 15 finalists – 3 from each of 5 member countries of the Mekong Region are:
Note: Myanmar businesses will be judged separately by an expert panel made up of members of the Mekong Tourism Advisory Group (MeTAG).
The Experience Mekong Collection was created four years ago to recognize and encourage sustainable and responsible tourism development in the Greater Mekong Subregion.
To be appointed as a member of the Experience Mekong Collection, all small travel businesses in the Mekong Region need to fulfill the following requirements:
- Make a significant social impact on its community
- Provide an authentically local experience positioning the GMS as a responsible, inclusive, and experiential tourism destination.
- Have an innovative concept and sustainable business model.
Members of the Mekong Tourism Advisory Group (MeTAG) selected the 60 shortlisted Experience Mekong Collection (EMC) member businesses – twelve from five member countries of the Greater Mekong Subregion from the 300+ members of the Experience Mekong Collection.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the currently active businesses – defined as businesses in communication with us, which is a requirement to be included in the Experience Mekong Showcases program – are currently at nearly 150 businesses.
“Alliances like the Experience Mekong Collection are more important than ever, especially in crises such as during the COVID-19 pandemic, to strengthen resilience both at the destination level, as well as for the individual businesses themselves, via sharing of best practices, networking, cross-promotional activities, and creating operational efficiencies”, says Mr. Jens Thraenhart, outgoing Executive Director of the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office, and initiator of the Experience Mekong Collection, operated as part of the private-sector-led regional tourism board Destination Mekong. “I am convinced that the Experience Mekong Collection will help accelerate tourism recovery in the region, as well as protect and conserve these locally authentic experiences, which are the treasure trove of the Mekong region.”
“In recognizing the most innovative best practice businesses as the Experience Mekong Showcases, this sets several benchmarks to further improve travel experiences in the Greater Mekong Subregion. As consumer trends and travel behaviors are changing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we hope this inspires other operators of any size to become involved in responsible and inclusive tourism,” said Mr. Willem Niemeijer, Founder & CEO of Yaana Ventures and current interim Chairman of Destination Mekong.
The 2018 Experience Mekong Collection Showcases included Phare Cambodian Circus (Cambodia), Longji Rice Terraces Guangxi (PR China), Ock Pop Tok (Lao PDR), Inle Heritage Place (Myanmar), Local Alike (Thailand), and Koto (Viet Nam). The 2019 Experience Mekong Collection Showcases included Soksabike (Cambodia), Linden Centre (PR China), Elephant Conservation Centre (Lao PDR), Hla Day (Myanmar), Sampran Riverside (Thailand), and Streets International (Viet Nam). The 2020 Experience Mekong Collection showcase include the Elephant Valley Project (Cambodia), Yangshuo Mountain Retreat (PR China), Laos Buffalo Dairy (Lao PDR), Living Irravaddy Dolphin Project (Myanmar), The Family Tree (Thailand), and Journey of the Senses (Viet Nam).
All members of the Experience Mekong Collection get exposure via Mekong Tourism and Destination Mekong, including MekongTourism.org, DestinationMekong.com, ExperienceMekong.com, and the dedicated Experience Mekong Collection Facebook and Instagram accounts. Experience Mekong Collection members also have priority access to marketing campaigns and have their own dedicated online member-only community to connect with each other.
To help struggling members of the Experience Mekong Collection survive these challenging times during the COVID-19 pandemic, a support page has been created to list businesses asking for donations or selling gift certificates.
Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.