MTF rethinks recovery options – TTR Weekly

QUANG NAM, Vietnam, October 17, 2022: The annual Mekong Tourism Forum returned last week after a two-year hiatus inflicted by Covid-19.

About 250 tourism experts gathered at Hoiana Resort and Golf (Hoiana), Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, on Oct. 12 to discuss topics under the forum’s theme “Rebuilding Tourism, Rebounding with Resilience.”

Vietnam’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism organized the event, declaring it the region’s first government-led in-person event since the pandemic began, marking a milestone in the resumption of tourism in the GMS member countries. GMS countries include Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

Delegates’ deliberations focused on the theme “Rebuilding Tourism, Rebounding with Resilience”, the event brought together regional tourism leaders to rethink the rebuilding of GMS tourism by “adopting resilience-based approaches and effectively leveraging leveraging technology to create a more sustainable and inclusive sector”.

Vietnam National Tourism Administration, Chairman of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Vietnam, Nguyen Trung Khanh, urged public and private stakeholders to “rethink and reshape the tourism industry towards a brighter future. sustainable, inclusive and resilient”.

However, the one-day meetings also reflected concerns over the difficult economic environment created by high oil prices, inflation and international supply chain disruptions threatening to slow the recovery of tourism in the six countries. Discussions on the sidelines of the forum focused on determining China’s reopening timeline for overseas tours, with delegates hoping for a quick announcement. This could lead to the return of package tours from Yunnan province to Laos on a limited scale using the new high-speed rail link later this year. But most tourism experts believe the return of Chinese tour groups is more likely during the Chinese New Year holiday season in late January 2023. Bringing Chinese tourists back to GMS is seen as a lifeline that would help offset the slow return of European tourists. tourists.

Higher transportation and accommodation costs also discourage the growth of GMS tourism. Airfares will likely remain much higher than before Covid-19. Currently, inter-capital fares in the region are double what travelers paid in 2019. This adds pressure on tourism businesses and travelers’ purchasing power, which could delay the recovery of under-funded tourism. regional.

The VNAT Chairman encouraged “tourism stakeholders of all sizes to leverage digital tools to support sector resilience and sustainability and build tourism industry capacity through reskilling and upskilling programmes.

He welcomed the strong commitments of GMS NTOs to support the recovery of small and medium tourism enterprises and called for equal opportunities for local employment.

Meanwhile, the MTCO office under the GMS tourism recovery communication plan announced that it has completed various projects. They included a redesign of the website, a monthly newsletter from Mekong Tourism and a new GMS Tourism Recovery communication toolkit. As for promotions to consumers, she launched a #MekongPostcard campaign, which involved the active participation of tourism stakeholders, influencers and residents of the region.

Of the three “expert panels that took center stage, the one discussing “New Ways to Connect Sustainable Tourism Suppliers and Buyers” addressed a vital issue for GMS travel agencies suffering from fatigue. He discussed financing instruments, partnership structures and mechanisms to attract crisis-proof investors and development partners and create a resilient and sustainable future for travel businesses.

The green agenda was disseminated during the last round table entitled “Technology: Opening the opportunities of green tourism”. Panelists shared best practices on using digital tools to maximize the positive impacts of tourism on the environment and local communities.

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