MIST Program to Highlight Innovations in Sustainable Tourism

The community-based tourism area Bo Trach District, Quang Binh Province was first supported in 2001 by the GMS Sustainable Tourism Development Project. Photo by ADB.

The MIST program has been reimagined as “Mekong Innovations in Sustainable Tourism,” and shifts its focus to highlight innovations in sustainable tourism, resilience, and climate change in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO) made the announcement and opened the latest round of nominations on 1 February 2021. MIST welcomes nominees from startups, established companies, government organizations, NGOs, academia, media, as well as individuals, students, and partnerships on initiatives that can be applied to driving sustainability and resilience in the Mekong subregion. Entries must be an operating initiative or project. Nominations are being accepted until 31 April 2021 at www.MIST.asia

MIST’s new chapter looks toward the changing needs of the tourism industry, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, according to the press release. “Keeping our powerful MIST brand, the focus will be on innovative and creative projects and concepts driving sustainability and resilience to recover travel and tourism in the GMS,” remarked Mr. Jens Thraenhart, Executive Director of the MTCO, and Chair of Destination Mekong. 

Thi year’s MIST jury comprises members of the Mekong Tourism Advisory Group and Swiss-based Ecosystem builder Seedstars. Final pitches will be held at a hybrid MIST Forum planned for the second half of 2021 in Bangkok. 

The MIST program previously focused on startups in travel tech and travel social enterprises as “Mekong Innovative Startup in Tourism.” It was one of the first tourism board that pioneered its own travel startup program, integrating innovation and entrepreneurship with the travel and tourism ecosystem. 

MTCO is the secretariat of the Tourism Working Group of the six national tourism organizations of the GMS and Destination Mekong. Consultations to reimagine the MIST program were made with the six member countries of the GMS program and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), its partner. 

Last Updated: 15 February 2021