Friday, 9 June 2017

Mekong Tourism Forum 2017 concludes with a Food Festival

Food festival
MTF 2017 concluded last night on with a celebration centered around food at the MTF closing Food festival. A large number of people involved with MTF during the past 3 days gathered on the lawns of the Grand Hotel in Luang Prabang in Laos. Various local restaurants and hotels had tables offering the fresh local Laos cuisine. People moved around refilling their plates with the taste sensations and drinks on offer.

Yesterday started early for the media contingent of MTF who were picked up at 4.45am and taken to see the Alms Ceremony where Monks walked along the streets of Luang Prabang in their orange robes collecting offerings of sticky rice and other food from local people and visiting tourists. These were taken back and eaten for breakfast by the monks or given away to people in need.

Alms Ceremony
The MTF media folk then went for breakfast at a local hotel where a Monk and Novice answered questions with the assistance of an interpreter.

The MTF started for everyone at the Central Bank for the final day with a welcome and introduction of the new 10 year Mekong Tourism Strategy. This was followed by a panel of speakers giving mini-talks about an aspect of tourism that they were passionate about. The big announcement was made that next years MTF would be hosted by Thailand.

Lunch was held at various local restaurants, then people were bussed to their afternoon elective workshop locations. I chose the elective which focussed on craft held at the Traditional Arts & Ethnology Centre (TAEC).  The second part focussed on festivals and was held on a new Mekong Kingdoms Long Boat called "Play" while travelling along the Mekong River.

Today people will either head back home or go on one of the various half day, full day or 2 day post MTF tours in and around Luang Prabang.

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