BANGKOK, 11 October 2019 – The Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office today announced the winners among the 10 innovative startups from across the Mekong Region, which competed in the Mekong Innovative Startups in Tourism (MIST) competition on 9 October 2019.
This year, MIST was held in Bangkok together with the new Travel Startups Asia Forum, featuring startup stories from successful travel ventures and MIST Alumni. The opening keynote was given by Senator and former Minister of Tourism and Sports of Thailand HE Mr Weerasak Kowsurat who linked the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship to tourism development in Thailand and the Mekong Region. The closing keynote was given by founder of Nok Airways Mr Patee Sarasin, who gave valuable insights from his experiences in starting an airline in Southeast Asia.
Golf Digg is an online platform for booking golf courses, and Noir is a spa and massage facility staffed by visually impaired people.
The Laotian ride-hailing service Loca won the special runner-up prize in the Travel Technology category. Both winners of the Travel Technology category received the honor to present at ITB-Asia on Friday 18 October in Singapore. Laos Buffalo Dairy won the special runner-up prize in the Social Impact category and the honor of presenting at the 2020 Mekong Tourism Forum in Bagan next May.
The judging panel included senior executives from the Travel and Tourism as well as Travel Technology industry including the CEO of PATA, CEO of Exo Travel, Chairman of Khiri Travel, VP of Minor Group, as well as executives from Dusit International, Amadeus, 500 Startups, Techsauce, the Mekong Business Council, Sasin School of Business, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Xpedite Capital Partners, the Thailand Digital Startup Institute, Lykke Studios, Go Real Asia, the Tourism Authority of Thailand, the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, the Women’s Initiative for Startups and Entrepreneurship, and the Asian Development Bank (ADB). All MIST 2019 finalists and judges can be seen at: https://mist.asia/2019-mist-finalists/