The five speakers of the CLMVT countries at the session were:
- Cambodia: Mr. Seila Hul, Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Tourism;
- Lao PDR: Mr. Vongdeuan Keosulivong, Acting Director of Division, Tourism Marketing Department, Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism.
- Myanmar: Mr. Nyi Nyi Oo, Deputy Director, Directorate of Hotels and Tourism, Ministry of Hotels and Tourism.
- Vietnam: Mr. Vu Nam, Deputy Director General, Tourism Marketing Department, Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism.
- Thailand: Mr. Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, Deputy Governor for Marketing Communications, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).
Speakers noted that the region was dotted with iconic tourist spots, popular cities, and scenic cruising destinations; such as, Angkor Wat, Bangkok, and Halong Bay respectively. Myanmar and Lao PDR, too, have rich heritage sites namely Bagan and Luang Prabang.
All of these are part of the mosaic that binds the CLMVT countries and will play a major role in ensuring positive growth in future.
They noted that although many of the heritage sites could be traced back to similar cultural roots, they were all different in their own way.
The same could also be applied to the region’s culinary delights which had a lot of commonality but still managed to retain its own unique selling propositions from country to country.
Visitors also had a chance to balance the urban tourism delights of cities; such as, Bangkok with the charms of provincial destinations.
Increasing road connectivity will be a major facilitator of travel, especially for landlocked countries such as Lao PDR which has eight overland border checkpoints with Thailand, including four via Friendship bridges over the Mekong River.
Cambodia is also facilitating overland border crossings with easier visa processing.
The entire region abounds with great stories which can and should be widely disseminated across all social media channels.
The panelists were later joined by Mr. Jens Thraenhart, Executive Director, Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office.
He briefed participants on the outcomes of the recent Mekong Tourism Forum held in Luang Prabang. The next MTF is to be held in the Thai Northeastern province of Nakhon Phanom, which will open up another major destination in the region.