I have never been to any of the Mekong Tourism Forum prior to this, so it is a first for me even as a seasoned traveler and travel writer. I have to say that for the lack of organization it was otherwise a very well-laid-out forum that touched on a lot of topics very dear to my heart. I have to admit that I really learnt a lot from this forum and for those of you who are in the travel industry, it would be a good decision and one of the bucket-list items in your next event calendar for you to try and attend the next forum happening in 2019 in Yunnan, China.
This particular Mekong Tourism Forum 2018 theme was for a “Plastic Free Event” which meant that we were encouraged to take a plastic free pledge during the event. It was also notable that this event had a purpose to save 5,000 plastic bottles. The purpose of this was to reduce plastic waste in the environment as a result of tourism, so therefore establishments taking the pledge would try to reduce plastic waste by not using plastic water bottles in the rooms and replacing it with glass bottles and so on. Those who individuals are taking the pledge meant that they would try and reduce plastic waste in their own capacity like replacing plastic shopping bags with their own bags etc .. At the event were some very interesting products and tours by ethnic groups from Nakhon Phanom and Luang Prabang in Lao.
However the main theme of the event was “Transforming Travel Transforming Lives”. It is hoped that through this forum, all participants would be able to learn from each other by leveraging on the innovation and social media platforms available.
The event was held over 5 days with speaker sessions touching on the topics of Mekong Industry Startups in Tourism where we got a first-hand look at some really innovative ideas on applications and inventions. An introduction to the Mekong Mini Movies which was a directional plan on strategic ways to promote the tourism industry. It was also the first time that the 1st Asia Film Destination Conference was held. There was also a session on working with influential content creators and a talk by the Tourism Authority of Thailand on filming rights in Thailand. There were plenary keynote sessions from well-known individuals from AirAsia and AirBnB to name a few.
The highlight of the Forum was the post forum trips to the ethnic villages which was arranged by TEATA where we had a glimpse of what the province of Nakhon Phanom had to offer for tourism. You will be reading more about the wonderful places and activities that we had a chance to explore and discover in Nakhon Phanom. We explored numerous places including the iconic Naga statue, a trip down the Mekong River, visits to community tourism villages and learning how to make local delicacies and more!
Holding the Mekong Tourism Forum 2018 in Nakhon Phanom was a great eye-opener as Thailand is one of the Mekong sub-regions along with the countries of Lao PDR , Myanmar, China, Cambodia and Vietnam. Do also checkout the Mekong Moments platform which has a host of information that you can obtain including having your own snapshots or videos of your travels in any one of the 6 countries highlighted if you #MekongMoments or @MekongMoments added to your entries. So do check out MekongMoments at the link and learn more about the Mekong sub-regions.
Checkout my video on some of the highlights to Nakhon Phanom!