5 December 2022, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Destination Mekong will hold its 2022 Destination Mekong Summit on 14-15 December in Phnom Penh and online.

As part of its action plan to boost tourism recovery in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), Destination Mekong, the private regional tourism board of the GMS, based in Cambodia and Singapore, will have the third edition of its Destination Mekong Summit on 14-15 December 2022.

As international travel has resumed in the GMS and globally, the 2022 Destination Mekong Summit will take place in Trellion and Aquation Parks on Koh Pich in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and online, under the theme ‘Together – Smarter – Stronger’.

Designed as a two-day journey celebrating creativity, diversity and inclusivity, the 2022 DMS will gather 40 speakers, and prominent representatives of the public and private sectors involved in the travel, tourism and hospitality in the Mekong region: operators and owners of tourism SMEs, social entrepreneurs, policy-makers, practitioners, influencers, change-makers, educators and learners, high-level officials, etc.

The program of the Summit features eight thematic panel sessions, three of them being led by supporting partners including:

  • World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) session on ‘Championing the GMS as a sustainable tourism destination’, a key partner of the 2022 DMS;
  • Child Protection in Travel and Tourism (ECPAT) International: session on ‘Practicing social responsibility and inclusiveness in tourism’;
  • Beyond Retail Business (BRB) session on ‘Catching the value of local culture, know-how and creativity’.

Other panel sessions will address a variety of subjects such as innovative capacity-building, sustainable food and beverage businesses and experiences, marketing and branding for SMEs, social enterprises and start-ups in tourism, and opportunities and threats for tourism recovery in the GMS.

On the morning of the second day, 15 December, the Destination Mekong Summit will offer its participants the opportunity to attend the following training sessions and workshops:

  • Training of Tour Guides as Wildlife Champions and Agents for Positive Changes by WWF,
  • Sustainable tourism recovery with child protection in focus by ECPAT International,
  • Storytelling techniques by the Centre for Communication and Information Literacy,
  • Developing a Tourism & Travel Brand in 2023 by Trove Tourism Development Advisors, and
  • Digital Marketing for Tourism Businesses by Destination Mekong
  • Presentation of the report on ‘Innovate to Compete – Cambodia’s Tourism Insights 2022’ by GIZ.

Three major networking events, including a cocktail reception on the first day and a business matchmaking breakfast and a garden party on the second day, will offer the audience another occasion to enjoy the ‘power of together’ while building promising bridges and exciting connections. 

The latest line-up of speakers and programs can be found here.

Hosted for the first time in a hybrid format, the Destination Mekong Summit intends to:

  • build a smart platform and network to stimulate sustainable tourism recovery across GMS​;
  • foster synergies and partnerships to position and market the GMS as an attractive, sustainable and inclusive tourism destination​;
  • To facilitate an innovative framework to share experiences, grassroots solutions, and inspiring stories to help the recovery and resilience of tourism recovery in the GMS​;
  • To showcase value-added, revenue-generating solutions, projects and programs designed by Destination Mekong and its members and partners.

Catherine Germier-Hamel, CEO of Destination Mekong, highlighted that ‘This 2022 DMS comes at a perfect time when we still have the chance to take stock of the lessons learnt in the past few years, and restart, rethink, and rebalance tourism so that it can truly contribute to inclusive local development and empowerment in the region’. 

‘The travel and tourism industry has come in for much criticism in recent years, particularly in terms of its environmental impact, this summit allows us to convey the positive role the industry can play as well as the necessity to promote social and economic sustainability if we are to achieve our environmental sustainability goals’ stressed Mark Jackson, Chair of the Executive Board of Destination Mekong.

‘Responsible tourists are a key player in wildlife conservation and sustainable local livelihood development. Wildlife and local cultures are priceless assets for tourism activities which need to be protected and restored’ said Teak Seng, Country Director of WWF-Cambodia. ‘Cambodia is blessed with rich biodiversity on earth but the nature-based tourism in Cambodia hasn’t reached its full potential at this point due to the limited infrastructure, quality products and services,’ Mr Seng added.

‘Global travel and tourism are making a comeback, but it is important that we don’t revert to old behaviours,” said Jedsada Taweekan, head of WWF-Greater Mekong’s Illegal Wildlife Trade program. ‘The way forward must be green and sustainable, and consider the needs of wildlife and the environment in addition to the needs of travellers. Therefore, working with the travel and tourism sector to encourage tourists to have responsible tourism experiences – at the minimum by refraining from consuming wild animal meat or buying wildlife products as souvenirs – is a small but effective way to promote positive change in tourist behaviour.’

For Gabriela Kühn, Head of the Programme of Child Protection in Travel and Tourism – ECPAT International, ‘Practicing social responsibility and inclusiveness for tourism development can only happen through human rights approach. Actions to address adverse impacts on children’s rights need to be scaled up by governments and companies in cooperation with civil society organizations. The Destination Mekong Summit allows stimulating action of building together sustainable tourism destinations that protect children.’

Registration and details:  (the event is FREE for Destination Mekong Members, Partners and Speakers).


Destination Mekong publishes the first Mekong Stories book

14 September 2022, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

To draw attention to the many people contributing to building a sustainable tourism industry in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) and the many stories that make up the region, Destination Mekong is publishing the first Mekong Stories digital book.

Destination Mekong, the private-sector-led regional tourism board that champions the Greater Mekong Subregion as a single sustainable tourism destination, has launched its first Mekong Stories book.

Mekong Stories is, in part, a compendium of some of the best examples of travel enterprises within the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS). It is also the genuinely inspiring stories of those people working in the Mekong’s travel sector, from the small, responsible travel businesses and social enterprises showcased in our Experience Mekong Collection, the tourism professionals portrayed in Mekong Faces, the passionate entrepreneurs featured in the Mekong Innovations in Sustainable Tourism program (MIST), to the Mekong Heroes, as well as to all the shared experiences by travelers and residents from the Mekong Moments and Mekong Minis campaigns.

Dr. Jens Thraenhart, founder of Destination Mekong, said that he “firmly believes that destination storytelling is the most powerful marketing tool for a travel destination to inspire the world and build pride, in particular, a region as diverse as the GMS.”

Mark Bibby Jackson, editor-at-large of Mekong Stories, says: “The Mekong is an amazingly diverse area. There are so many stories to tell. In Mekong Stories we are giving voice to the many, many people working in the region who depend upon travel and tourism for their livelihoods. For too long the travel industry has had a bad press. Now is the time to hear real people talking about the positive benefits of tourism.”

Destination Mekong’s purpose is to engage the private sector, whether regional hospitality companies, small tour operators, shop owners, or individuals who provide services to visitors. “By sharing stories, we create bonds between people and bridges between cultures,” said Catherine Germier-Hamel, CEO of Destination Mekong.

Destination Mekong thanks its partners and supporters for this publication, including Studio DMB, UNWTO Affiliate Member Chameleon Strategies, Small Luxury Hotels of the World, and the World Wildlife Fund. Contributors to the publications include:

  • Bertie Alexander Lawson for Sampan Travel
  • Cambodian Children’s Trust (CCT)
  • Hayley Holden for epicarts
  • Hivester
  • Janina Bikova
  • Jens Thraenhart
  • Jens Uwe Pakitny
  • Laurence Couton for WildChina
  • Mahidol University
  • Marissa Carruthers for TTG Asia
  • Mekong Quilts
  • Michael Biedassek for Bangkok Vanguards
  • Nattakorn Asunee Na Ayudhaya
  • Peter Richards
  • Sampan Travel
  • Small Luxury Hotels of the World
  • Sophie Hartman for SustainableVN
  • Suzanne Becken
  • Valerie Olla for Ock Pop Tok
  • WildChina

The 243-page publication will be available to read and download on; the content will also be published on as well as on Destination Mekong’s Facebook page.


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