Tourism

Countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion are working together to promote the subregion as a single destination for international visitors and encourage communities to enhance the environmental, social, and economic benefits of tourism.

The Tourism Working Group (TWG) provides operational leadership and technical guidance to plan, implement, monitor, and evaluate subregional activities.


In September 2017, ministers from the six member countries of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) endorsed the GMS Tourism Sector Strategy 2016-2025 to enable more competitive, balanced, and sustainable destination development. The Strategy sets out five strategic directions: (a) develop human resources, (b) improve tourism infrastructure, (c) enhance visitor experiences and services, (d) conduct creative marketing and promotion activities, and (e) facilitate regional travel.

Work of the GMS tourism working group has included marketing sustainable and pro-poor tourism in the subregion through the development of multi-country tour packages; training government officials and people working in the tourism industry; producing local products for sale to tourists; and preserving the ecological and cultural heritage of key tourist sites in the subregion.

The GMS Economic Cooperation Program Strategic Framework 2030 (GMS-2030) builds on the current Tourism Strategy directions. Since the subregion’s tourism industry has been severely impacted, the GMS-2030 will promote recovery efforts, such as intraregional tourism. Over the long term, GMS-2030 will support the development of higher value-added and secondary destinations, as well as strengthen human capital, connectivity infrastructure, public–private linkages, and environmental sustainability. GMS-2030 was endorsed and adopted at the 7th GMS Summit of Leaders in September 2021. It aims to provide a new setting for the development of this subregion for the next decade.

Related

Greater Mekong Subregion Tourism Sector Strategy 2016-2025

Tourism Working Group (TWG)

Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office website

Focal Persons at the Asian Development Bank and Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office

  • Steven Schipani
    Viet Nam Resident Mission,
    Southeast Asia Department
  • Nattakorn Asunee Na Ayudhaya
    Operations Manager,
    Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office 
    www.mekongtourism.org

Other Concerned Staff & Consultants

  • Asadullah Sumbal
    Regional Cooperation and Operations Coordination Division,
    Southeast Asia Department
  • Alma Canarejo
    Regional Cooperation and Operations Coordination Division,
    Southeast Asia Department/GMS Secretariat

Send inquiries to GMS Secretariat.

The 12th Mekong-Japan Summit took place virtually on 13 November as part of the 37th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits. Photo by VNA via VNExplorer.

12th Mekong-Japan Summit Highlights How Cooperation Enhances Connectivity in the Subregion

Japan and Mekong countries convened the 12th Mekong-Japan Summit on 13 November, cochaired by Japan Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide and Viet Nam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc. The meeting underscored Japan’s strong commitment to the Mekong subregion and reviewed progress of cooperation between Japan and Mekong countries (Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic [PDR], Thailand, Myanmar, and Viet Nam) as guided by the "Tokyo Strategy 2018." The Strategy seeks to strengthen connectivity, improve human resource development, and enhance environmental protection.

GMS in the News

Mekong Countries, Republic of Korea Convene 10th Foreign Ministers’ Meeting

The 10th Mekong-Republic of Korea (RoK) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting was held on 28 September online, with the participation of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and the RoK. The meeting highlighted achievements in cooperation on infrastructure, information technology, education, agriculture, environmental protection, and water resources management, and adopted the action plan for 2021-2025.

GMS in the News

Top row, left to right: Dr. Danucha Pichayanan, Deputy Secretary General, Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council (Thailand); Mr. Liu Weihua, Deputy Director General, Department of International Economic and Financial Cooperation, Ministry of Finance (PRC); Mr. Alfredo Perdiguero, Director, SERC, ADB. Middle row: Mr. Than Aung Kyaw, Director General, FERD, Ministry of Investment and Foreign Economic Relations (Myanmar). Bottom row, left to right: Ms. Sisomboun Ounavong, Director General, Department of International Cooperation, Ministry of Planning and Investment (Lao PDR); Dr. Pham Hoang Mai, Director General, Foreign Economic Relations Department, Ministry of Planning and Investment (Viet Nam); and H.E. Mr. Ros Seilava, Secretary of State, Ministry of Economy and Finance (Cambodia) 

GMS Senior Officials’ Meeting Reviews COVID-19 Response Initiatives and Prepares for Upcoming Events

A GMS Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) was held on 11 September 2020 via web-based conferencing to review (i) proposed key GMS strategic planning documents and knowledge products, which includes GMS COVID-19 response initiatives and the new long-term strategy for the GMS program, and (ii) preparations for upcoming GMS events—the 11th Economic Corridors Forum (ECF-11), the 24th GMS Ministerial Conference (MC-24), and the 7th GMS Summit (Summit-7).  

Events

The Bago-Kyaikto expressway will link to the Yangon-Mandalay highway (in picture). Photo by ALwinDigital (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Myanmar Approves Proposed ADB Loan for the Bago–Kyaikto Highway along GMS’ EWEC

Myanmar’s Union Parliament approved a proposed loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) worth around $483.8 million to finance construction of the Bago–Kyaikto highway. The Bago–Kyaikto highway lies along the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) East–West Economic Corridor (EWEC), which links Myanmar to Thailand, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, and Viet Nam, and Myanmar’s Thilawa Port in Yangon to Viet Nam’s Danang Port.

GMS in the News

Areenee Jasiti is a store assistant manager in Thailand where convenience stores have remained open, despite COVID-19. Convenience stores are one of Thailand's lifelines. Photo: UN Women/Ploy Phutpheng (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

$1.5 Billion ADB Loan to Support Thailand's COVID-19 Response

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is providing a $1.5 billion loan to support the Government of Thailand’s response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

GMS in the News

LocalFarm enables farmers and gardeners who had relied on tourism for their incomes to market seasonal fruits, vegetables, salads, and processed fruits directly to consumers. Photo courtesy of TakeMeTour via ADB.

ADB Ventures Backs LocalFarm to Help Thai Tourism Endure Downturn

The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) impact investment platform, ADB Ventures, has teamed with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) to support technology startup TakeMeTour to develop the LocalFarm online platform and help mitigate the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic on Thailand’s tourism sector.

GMS in the News

Sunrise over Bangkok, Thailand. Photo: Roberto Trombetta

PACER Dialogue Tackles Tourism Recovery from the COVID-19 Outbreak

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.

GMS in the News

Bagan, Myanmar. Photo: Piktour UK via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Myanmar Releases Strategic Roadmap for Tourism Recovery

The Government of Myanmar released a Strategic Roadmap for Tourism Recovery that aims to establish ‘new normal’ conditions to help tourism make  a comeback.  

Mr. Ohn Maung, Union Minister of Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, provided guidelines for implementation of the plan. It includes three phases:  

Survival 

GMS in the News