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Mekong Tourism Forum 2024 Successfully Hosted in China’s Lijiang

Mekong Tourism Forum 2024 Successfully Hosted in China's Lijiang - TRAVELINDEXLijiang, Yunnan Province, China, April 25, 2024 / TRAVELINDEX / The Mekong Tourism Forum (MTF) 2024 opened yesterday in the enchanting city of Lijiang, China. This year’s forum was themed Visionary Journeys Redefining Tomorrow’s Travel, present were travel professionals and stakeholders from the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) engaging in a constructive discussions and bi-lateral meetings dedicated to reshaping the future of the GMS. The Greater Mekong Subregion includes six countries, namely Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The Mekong Tourism Forum 2024 attracted over 400 tourism professionals and stakeholders, comprising tourism ministers, leaders, NTOs, NGOs, media and private sector representatives. The forum focused on collaboration, innovation, and forward-thinking strategies, and inspired delegates to explore new forms of tourism that deliver economic benefits, environmental consciousness and cultural enrichment.

The Mekong Tourism Forum 2024 was hosted by the Bureau of International Exchanges and Cooperation of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of China, Yunnan Provincial Culture and Tourism Department, the People’s Government of Lijiang City, and the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office. It is co-organised by Lijiang Municipal Administration of Culture and Tourism and Network International Culturalink Entities.

The keynote speech delivered by H.E. Zhang Zheng, Vice Minister of Culture and Tourism, P.R.C. offered a vision into the future of GMS travel, spotlighting the shift towards sustainable and conscious tourism in redefining tomorrow’s travel. He urged all participants to engage in constructive dialogues, uncover opportunities, and contribute to shaping the GMS’s future, pioneering sustainable, culturally rich, and technologically advanced travel experiences.

To promote sub-regional tourism development, H.E. Zhang Zheng, suggested the parties work together to build a regional tourism brand and improve the resilience of tourism development. China is willing to strengthen cooperative connections with member countries, continue to build consensus, and promote tourism cooperation in the Sub-region to a new level.

Personalities and leaders participating in the MTF 2024 from Yunnan Province and Lijiang City addressing the Forum: H.E. Wang Hao, Vice Governor of the People’s Government of Yunnan, Dr Pu Hong, Party Secretary of CPC Lijiang Municipal Committee, Mr. Li Gang, Mayor of Lijiang City and others participants included leaders of CPC Yunnan Provincial Committee, Provincial Government, Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism, Provincial Office of Foreign Affairs. Principal Leaders of CPC Municipal Committee, Standing Committee of Municipal People’s Congress, the municipal People’s Government, CPPCC of Lijiang City, Division Head of the People’s Government and Municipal Counterparts.

Ms. Suvimol Thanasarakij, Executive Director of MTCO (Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office) said as the co-organizer of MTF 2024, it is vital for tourism insiders to share best practices, experiences, and current status of tourism development within the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS). Key stakeholders from public and private sectors gathering together today here in Lijiang will create a unique opportunity to spearhead innovative and collaborative frameworks to redefine tomorrow’s travel on joined visionary journeys. I am thrilled to see such great turnout for this event. We are excited to see the profile of MTF delegates evolving and expanding, with more participation from international organizations, development partners and, most importantly, local communities. It is our mission to foster inclusive growth in the tourism sector in GMS region.

Present were also observers and principal leaders of four Prefectures and Cities in the 2nd Joint Conference on High-quality Transformation and Upgrading of Tourism in Northwestern Yunnan; Heads of the Culture and Tourism Bureau, Heads of Tourism Association, and Representatives of Key Culture and Tourism Enterprises; Representatives of Prefectures and Cities in Core Provinces and Regions of the Great Shangri-La Eco-tourism Area, such as Ganzi Prefecture, Aba Prefecture, Liangshan Prefecture, and Panzhihua City of Sichuan Province, Lhasa City and Qamdo City of Xizang Autonomous Region, Guoluo Prefecture of Qinghai Province, and Gannan Prefecture of Gansu Province.

Among the Government delegations from the other five GMS countries in attendance were; from Vietnam Mr. Ha Van Sieu, Vice Chairman of Vietnam National Authority of Tourism (VNAT) led the business delegation attending Mekong Tourism Forum 2024. From Cambodia, Mr. Veth Youvanneath, Deputy Director General Ministry of Tourism. From Lao PDR, Mr. Khom Douangchantha, Director General of Tourism, Marketing Department and Mr. Kettasone Sundara, Director of Tourism Marketing Activities Division. From Myanmar, Maung Maung Kyaw, Director-General and Mr. Tin Myo Aung, Deputy Director, Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, Mr. Thein Htwe, Chairman Myanmar Travel Association, Mr. Thein Win, Vice Chairman, Myanmar Hotelier Association. From Thailand, Patsawut Rattanakarn, International Relations Officer, Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Watcharakrit Yaemot, Chief International Cooperation Section, Office of the Governor, Tourism Authority of Thailand.

A panel session on Unleashing Potential: Enhancing International Cooperation to Propel Tourism Growth addressed strategies for strengthening cooperation and fostering a unified, prosperous, and responsible future for GMS tourism.

This session shared the significance of cooperation as an important part of the travel experience in the GMS region. Sustainability was discussed as a fundamental part of tourism resilience. This session took a holistic look at how the sustainable travel serves as an instrument to address major development challenges in the Mekong region and discusses leveraging the innovations in digital technologies for transformation in sustainability.

The forum concluded with the handing over of the Mekong Tourism Forum flag from Lijiang, the MTF 2024 host, to Luang Prabang, Lao PDR, who will host the Mekong Tourism Forum 2025 and symbolizing unity in promoting GMS tourism.

Among the international media covering the Mekong Tourism Forum 2024 in Lijiang,  Travelindex Group was represented by it’s Founder and Chairman, Mr. Bernard Metzger.

All Mekong Tourism Forum 2024 delegates experienced Lijiang’s charm firsthand during the Technical Tour, igniting inspiration for sustainable tourism.

Delegates had a chance to join a field study, an on-site exploration of Lijiang’s Old Town, and see an exhibition at the museum showcasing Lijiang’s cultural heritage. Lijiang’s Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, showcasing innovative cultural heritage blending with modern tourism, smart management, and integration into the thriving tourism industry.