As countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion slowly move toward the ‘new normal,’ they are also enacting phased approaches to implement tourism recovery. The challenge for the subregion’s travel and tourism sector is to manage and mitigate the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), and build back a more sustainable, inclusive, and resilient tourism sector.
The ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting on 4 June adopted the Hanoi Plan of Action on Strengthening ASEAN Economic Cooperation and Supply Chain Connectivity in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Through the action plan, economic ministers hope to counter the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak by promoting ASEAN markets for essential goods and strengthening economic cooperation among ASEAN countries.
The Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Working Group on Environment will present post-COVID-19 environment-friendly and climate-resilient response and recovery efforts in GMS countries on 23 June at 1:30-5:00 p.m. (GMT+7) via Microsoft Teams. Priorities for COVID-19 recovery support by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in themes such as climate action, biodiversity and wildlife management, and sustainable waste management will be discussed.
The Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Working Group on Agriculture will present post-COVID-19 response and recovery efforts in agriculture on 25 June at 1:30-4:30 p.m. (GMT+7) via Microsoft Teams. Priorities for COVID-19 recovery support by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in areas such as digital technologies for green agribusiness supply chain management, and livestock health and value chains will be discussed.
‘Travel bubbles’ are being considered by Southeast Asian countries, including Myanmar and Thailand, as a means to safely resume travel activities. Members of the Mekong Tourism Advisory Group recommended creating travel bubbles to kickstart regional tourism in the absence of a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine in their meeting in May.
Senior officials of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) met to discuss responses to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the GMS, focusing on regional approaches to promote recovery and resilience. The meeting was held via videoconferencing on 2 June 2020, with participation from all GMS countries and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
Cambodia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR), Myanmar and Viet Nam, CLMV countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), have experienced a relatively smaller number of reported cases and fatalities of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). As of 22 June, Cambodia reported 129 confirmed cases, Lao PDR reported 19 confirmed cases, and Viet Nam reported 349 confirmed cases. All three countries recorded 0 deaths from COVID-19. In Myanmar, while there have been 6 deaths, only 286 confirmed cases were reported.
Mr. Jens Thraenhart, Executive Director of the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office, cautioned that what makes travel in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) one of a kind is now at risk. This includes travel experiences that define the Mekong Region and small businesses that are unique to the subregion.
The members of the Working Group on Environment (WGE) from the six countries of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), namely, the Kingdom of Cambodia, the People’s Republic of China, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, the Kingdom of Thailand, and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, met in Kunming, PRC on 1 April 2019 for the 24th Annual Meeting of the WGE (WGE 24) and attended the Consultation Workshop on Proposed GMS Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability Program (CCESP) from 1 to 2 April 2019.