CAMBODIA – The 2023 Mekong Tourism Forum (MTF 2023), hosted by the Ministry of Tourism of Cambodia and co-organised by the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office, will take place 25-27 April in Sihanoukville city, the capital of Preah Sihanouk province. The Forum will address the theme “Rethinking for Resilience and Digitalisation.” Tourism Ministers, tourism leaders, NTOs, NGOs and private sector representatives, will discuss ways to rethink post-Covid tourism in China, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam as a collective and dynamic sub-region.
The conference programme has been designed to address job creation, gender equality, food safety and hygiene, digital transformation and a more geographically dispersed tourism approach, so that the benefits of the travel industry spread beyond over-touristed hotspots. At the Forum, tourism experts and political leaders will address five key ideas on 26 April: rethinking tourism to put people and planet first; developing local food production networks with a focus on safety and hygiene, while reducing food waste; using new digital technology to boost tourism startups and small- and medium-sized businesses; improving training so that tourism workers have the skills to adapt; and advancing equality of opportunity and fair treatment for women in the private and public sectors of tourism.
“The post-Covid- 19 tourism landscape now provides clear opportunities for us to take stock and rethink tourism for the better,” said H.E. Dr. Thong Khon, Minister of Tourism for Cambodia.
“With my tourism colleagues from around the Greater Mekong Subregion we will work hard to ensure that tourism re-establishes itself as an engine to create sustainable prosperity for our citizens. The MTF 2023 agenda has a clear focus and will address those issues,” he said.
The Mekong Area
The challenges of improving local food networks, to enhance safety and hygiene, will be addressed by Mr Luu Meng, a legend in the Cambodian culinary scene. The panel on smart tourism and digitalisation will be moderated by Mr Ben-Jie Lim, Group Head of Delivery, SuperApp, AirAsia. The expert panel debate on advancing human capital will be led by Mr Peter Semone, the Chairman of the Pacific Asia Travel Association, who will also keynote the Forum. Ms Veronica Mendizabal Jaffre of the Asian Development Bank will lead the panel session on women’s empowerment in tourism in the region.
As Preah Sihanouk province is the host destination, on 27 April delegates will have the opportunity to join many of the local excursions and post-tours such as Sihanoukville city tour, Koh Rong Island, diving, mangrove tour, kayaking, and community-based ecotourism exploration. Each trip will showcase sustainable tourism practices in the destination.
The MTF 2023 will also host a Sustainable Tourism Exhibit comprising over 20 exhibitors, showcasing responsible and sustainable tourism, community-based tourism and local community products. The exhibit will run on 25 and 26 April.
An estimated 150 international delegates are expected to attend the MTF 2023, which is free to join for leaders of the travel industry.
Registration is available through the new Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office website at www.mekongtourism.org. Registration will close on 18 April, or when places are fully booked, whichever comes first.