Experience Mekong Showcases 2021 Opens Voting for Nominated Mekong Businesses

The Greater Mekong Subregion Sustainable Tourism Development Project funded by ADB developed homestay service, catering services and tours in Viet Nam. Photo by ADB.

The Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO) is inviting the public to vote for their favorite Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) small businesses to determine the six final businesses that will be recognized for the 2021 Experience Mekong Showcases. The public gets to learn about and choose from the 72 finalists from the Experience Mekong Showcases voting page.  

Created four years ago in September 2017, the “Experience Mekong Collection” curates small, responsible, and sustainable travel businesses in the GMS, endorsed by members of the Mekong Tourism Advisory Group (MeTAG). Chosen businesses fulfill the following requirements: (i) make a significant social impact on its community; (ii) provide an authentic local experience and position the GMS as a responsible, inclusive, and experiential tourism destination; (iii) have an innovative concept and sustainable business model. 

Recognizing the most innovative best practice businesses through the Experience Mekong Showcases sets several benchmarks that could motivate other operators to become more involved and do their part for responsible tourism and further improve travel experiences in the GMS, shared Mr. Htay Aung, former Minister of Hotels and Tourism of Myanmar, and a member of MeTAG.  

In this difficult time of the COVID-19 pandemic, many small businesses are struggling, and some may not survive, noted Ms. Duangmala Phommavong, Managing Director of Exo Travel Laos, and a member of MeTAG.  “What makes travel in the GMS so unique and authentic are these small local enterprises and responsible operators. For some of these experiences to go away is like taking a part of the Mekong Region away. The Experience Mekong Collection not only creates a strong community for these small businesses to get through this difficult time, but also provides a powerful platform to accelerate the recovery process,” she said.  

“The importance of responsible tourism cannot be underestimated and the ‘Experience Mekong Collection’ is a wonderful way of highlighting examples of good practice. Social enterprises have the potential to drive sustainable tourism and to promote the Mekong Region as an experiential and responsible travel destination. We aim to tell their stories to inspire travelers to experience these 'stars of the Mekong,’” said Mr. Jens Thraenhart,  Executive Director of the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO). 

Support small businesses in the GMS through these challenging times by casting your vote at the Experience Mekong Showcases 2021 page. Voting is open until 31 March 2021. 

Last Updated: 5 March 2021