Destination Mekong Announces Third Mekong Hero

DESTINATION MEKONG ANNOUNCED THIRD MEKONG HERO

7 December2023, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Destination Mekong has announced that Brian Linden, the founder and owner of the Linden Centre in Dali, Yunnan, is the third Mekong Hero.

Mekong Heroes are individuals who make a significant impact on the people in the region by inspiring them to strive and make an impact to improve communities through sustainability, inclusiveness and providing opportunities for the future.

During the 2023 Destination Mekong Summit in Phnom  Penh, Destination Mekong has announced its third Mekong Hero, Brian Linden, founder and owner of the Linden Centre in Dali, Yunnan, China. Brian follows Potjana Suansri, Founder of the Thailand Community Based Tourism Institute (CBT-I), and the late Srey Bandaul, founder of PHARE in Cambodia, the two previous Mekong Heroes.

Born and raised in Chicago and educated at Johns Hopkins and Stanford University, Brian was granted a scholarship to study in Beijing in 1984 and spent the following three years in China.   He moved to Dali in 2004 with his wife and two sons. There, he preserved a nationally protected Bai-style courtyard house built in 1948. He converted this into The Linden Centre to create a sustainable model of tourism development and heritage preservation.

Now, the Linden Centre has six sites, each focusing on preserving existing historical traditions by incorporating the villagers in the planning and managing heritage hotels.

Brian’s approach is to show the benefits of heritage protection and sustainability through example. He inspires his communities to preserve their heritage and reevaluate their sustainability approach. Through this bottom-up approach, the Linden Centre demonstrates how a social business can be financially sustainable and resilient, as well as helping the government recognize the social benefits for locals.

The integration with locals and communities is stressed at the Linden Centre.

“Development has to happen organically from within the community,” says Linden. “It is important to instill pride in the locals for their heritage and community, to increase the emotional value and counterbalance the potential value received from outside investors, who might change a community for the worse.”

“Brian exemplifies how individuals who have a passion for collaboration, preservation, and sustainability make communities better through tourism,” says Catherine Germier-Hamel, CEO of Destination Mekong. “After Potjana Suansri and Srey Bandaul, Brian Linden is the continuation of telling the stories of inspirational individuals in the region. We want to congratulate Brian and the entire team at The Linden Centre for their wonderful and important work.”

“It is a tremendous honor to be selected as this year’s Mekong Hero by the Board of Destination Mekong, especially since this is a recognition by the entire Mekong Region’s private sector, ” said Mr. Linden.

Mekong Heros are nominated by the public on the Destination Mekong website, evaluated, and then voted on by the executive board of Destination Mekong. They are an extension of the Mekong Faces program, which tells inspiring stories of individuals in the tourism sector. Both are published annually in the Mekong Stories book at MekongStories.com.

To nominate individuals to be recognized as Mekong Heroes, go to https://www.destinationmekong.com/mekong-heroes/. To be part of our engaged tourism community and enjoy the benefits and opportunities offered by Destination Mekong, go to https://www.destinationmekong.com/membership/ or contact us at info@destinationmekong.com.

-ENDS

Destination Mekong Summit 2023: Embark on a Journey of Empowerment and Engagement

27 November 2023, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Destination Mekong invites the tourism industry to their 4th edition of the Destination Mekong Summit on 6 and 7 December in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, under the theme “Mekong in Motion, Mekong Emotion(s)”.

Destination Mekong (DM), the private regional tourism organization of the Mekong region, is thrilled to announce the highly anticipated Destination Mekong Summit 2023 (DMS23) set to take place in the vibrant city of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and simultaneously online on December 6th and 7th, 2023.

Hosted annually, the premier event of the tourism industry in the Mekong region provides a unique and dynamic platform for all industry stakeholders – policymakers, practitioners, thinkers, changemakers, and investors to come together, exchange ideas and insights, and contribute to sustainable tourism growth in the region.

Fostering Tourism Innovation and Sustainability in the region

With a focus on innovation and sustainable tourism practices, DMS23 aims to foster collaboration, provide a platform to exchange ideas and devise strategies to propel the tourism industry forward responsibly and harmoniously.

Hosted at the Sales Center of its key partner and Destination Mekong executive board member OCIC Cambodia, the Summit will offer a blend of in-person and virtual engagement, ensuring accessibility and inclusivity for a global audience.

Insights and Dialogues Driving Change

Attendees can anticipate a dynamic agenda featuring inspiring stories by key players, dynamic panel discussions, and interactive workshops covering a diverse range of topics critical to the region’s tourism landscape.

Over two days, the afternoon plenary panel sessions include:

  • The Future of Travel in the Mekong Region: What to Watch in 2024 and Beyond;
  • Empowering Tourism Players with Essential Skills and Standards;
  • Nearing a Zero-Waste Tourism Future through Innovation and Collaboration;
  • Sowing the Seeds of Change through Food, Farm and Agri-Tourism;
  • Advancing a dynamic model of adventure and community-based eco-tourism for the region;
  • Championing the Region as a Creative and Transformative Tourism Hub.

For the first time, the event will also feature personal “Mekong Stories” of individuals working in the tourism industry, including Dr Jens Thraenhart, Founding Partner of UNWTO Affiliate Member Chameleon Strategies, François Schnoebelen, Director of EHT Paul Dubrule, Melita Koulmandas, Founder & CEO of Songsaa Collective, and Sokleap Ngon, CEO and Co-Founder of Smiling Gecko Cambodia.

“Looking at the agenda for this year’s DMS, I am struck by the amazing talent within the Mekong region and the really positive future for both the Mekong Region and Destination Mekong as an organization. Mekong is in motion and there is only one direction – forwards!”, praised Mark Bibby Jackson, Chair of the DMM Executive Board. A full program and speaker list can be found on the event website at www.destinationmekong.com/dms23

“The 4th Destination Mekong Summit is an important milestone since the launch of this important private-sector-led regional destination marketing organization for the Greater Mekong Subregion as part of an innovative public-private sector framework alongside the public-sector owned Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office. I look forward to attending the event in Phnom Penh to join other industry professionals and debate how to make tourism a force for good to drive balanced tourism growth and inclusivity and build back better after the pandemic to create jobs and strengthen communities. This is a critical event for busy tourism professionals to carve out some time to focus on collaboration and cooperation in the industry,” said Jens Thraenhart, Founder of Destination Mekong.  

Mekong in Motion, Mekong Emotion(s)

The DMS23 offers ample opportunities for networking and business development among tourism stakeholders from various backgrounds, fostering connections and partnerships that can drive positive change in the Mekong tourism sector.

In particular, The Summit’s first day will conclude with a networking reception at the DIB Club at Aquation Park, featuring an exciting Mekong cocktail competition and offering attendees a relaxed atmosphere by the poolside, just a 3-minute walk from the main venue.

The Summit will also feature a marketplace designed as a journey towards exploring a variety of key players of the travel, tourism, and hospitality industries in the Mekong region.

The second day of the DMS23 will start with an industry matchmaking breakfast and two concurrent series of workshops. Participants will have the opportunity to enhance their skills and knowledge through hands-on workshops and training sessions.

Workshops on the morning of 7 December cover the topics of:

  • Protecting children and vulnerable communities
  • Digital Transformation for the tourism and hospitality sector
  • Simplifying sustainability: 4 key ingredients to authentic action that makes an impact and doesn’t cost the earth.
  • Promoting Cambodia as a Wellness Destination
  • Re-enchanting Mekong Destinations: The Case of Phnom-Penh

“We invite everyone working in the tourism sector in the region to the Destination Mekong Summit. It is not just an event; it is a movement calling for action and connection, a catalyst for innovation through collaboration, and an inclusive community inviting all its members to engage in the positive transformation of the Mekong region,” stressed Catherine-Germier-Hamel, CEO of Destination Mekong.

Join the Conversation

Registration for the summit is currently open. Interested participants can visit the official DMS23 website at www.destinationmekong.com/dms23 for more information, speaker details, registration options, and partnership and sponsorship opportunities.

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Destination Mekong Takes a Step Further with its New Executive Board

6 July 2023, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Destination Mekong held its second Annual General Meeting and announced the composition of its new executive board of directors.

Destination Mekong (DM), a membership-based destination management and marketing organisation championing the Mekong region, had its second Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 4 July 2023. The AGM took place virtually, with full and affiliate DM members in attendance worldwide. The meeting started with remarks by Mark Bibby Jackson, Chair of Destination Mekong’s Executive Board of Directors, Melita Koulmandas, Vice-Chair of the Board, and Gerrit Kruger, Chief Marketing Officer of Destination Mekong. It continued with a presentation by Catherine Germier-Hamel, CEO, on the current status of the organisation, its strategies and action plan to engage and serve its community of members and partners.

The Chair of the Board thanked the executive team for all their work this past year. “We are seeing that Destination Mekong is well positioned to play its role as a supporter of the small players in the region. Micro and small tourism businesses make up most jobs in the region and greatly impact their communities and the environment. Our goal of promoting sustainable and inclusive tourism ecosystems in the Mekong region, creating value together with our members and partners is now more relevant than before”.

Together | Stronger | Smarter

The CEO of Destination Mekong introduced the creative partnerships and collaborations developed over the past year, materialised by a series of multi-stakeholder events such as the Destination Mekong Summit in December 2022, Destination Siem Reap, a program of webinars and workshops organised for members. “Our focus is to increase the value and benefits we offer to our members through building their capacity and providing them with better access to markets, networks, tools, technologies, funding, and business opportunities, together with our partners. We are willing to facilitate an innovative platform to promote sustainable and inclusive tourism ecosystems creating value for all involved players in the Mekong region. We will also create local chapters to engage with professionals and businesses at a grassroots level.”

Members are invited to join three new working groups: Cruise & River-based tourism, in collaboration with FrauBlau by tmf dialogue marketing in Germany; ecotourism & community-based tourism; and tourism & hospitality certifications.

Moreover, Destination Mekong will focus on already launched initiatives and solutions, such as its Experience Mekong Collection (EMC), featuring eco-friendly tourism experiences offered by small businesses in the region in the categories STAY, DO, TASTE, TOUR, SHOP, and CRUISE. Catherine Germier-Hamel commented, “Unfortunately, several EMC members had to close during the Covid-pandemic, and many are still struggling after these difficult years. We invite all of them to join us to jointly rebuild a strong committed network and strengthen the Mekong region’s tourism industry.”

Mekong in Motion | Mekong Emotion(s)

Gerrit Kruger presented last year’s Mekong Stories book and website with Mark Bibby Jackson, also the Editor in Chief of the publication. “It is important that we tell the stories of individuals and the impact they make on the industry,” said Gerrit Kruger. “It is amazing to see the inspiration others find when listening to those voices, which are normally not heard. Even though many small business owners in the hospitality and tourism sector face challenges, they become stronger when working with others. We invite everyone to send us stories for the next issue of the Mekong Stories book to show that tourism is a force for good.”

Then, Full members elected four new board members, corresponding to half of the board members to be elected or re-elected every year for a two-year term, according to the DM Charter. The other executive board seats are given to supporting organisations, and ex officio seats are for the CEO and the founder, Dr Jens Thraenhart.

The eight candidates for the four seats open to elections introduced themselves before the vote through an online system. By the Charter, full members were invited to rank the candidates by order of preference.

As a result, three people are now officially joining the Executive Board:

  • Nikolas Hatz, Managing Director | HatzConsult and Lead Consultant & Tourism Development Export | Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)
  • Hannah Pearson, Founder | Pear Anderson and Regional Director Asia | Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA)
  • Phan Thanh Ha, Partnership Officer | ASSET – H&C network

One board member was confirmed in his position:

  • Guido Neil, Director Special Operations | 12Go

Additionally, new Board Members representing the most significant financial contributors to Destination Mekong are:

  • For the Overseas Cambodian Investment Corporation (OCIC): Thierry Tea, Vice President
  • For the World Wildlife Fund (WWF): Jedsada Taweekan, Regional Illegal Wildlife Trade Program Manager for WWF-Greater Mekong
  • For Confluences: Dara N. Van, Business Development & MarCom Manager
  • For Control Union: Dilum Wijenayaka, General Manager, Control Union Cambodia
  • For the AZ Group: Lim Bunsour, Chairman

“We are happy about having a very experienced executive board and thank all outgoing members for their commitment, “ said Mark Bibby Jackson, adding that “all small- and medium-sized businesses and the many individuals working in tourism are making a large positive impact in the region, and we have to work together to overcome our challenges. That’s why Destination Mekong is championing the private sector and driving change for the better.”

To be part of our engaged tourism community and enjoy the benefits and opportunities offered by DM, go to https://www.destinationmekong.com/membership/ or contact us.

-ENDS

Siem Reap Tourism Club Update

The Siem Reap Tourism Club (STC) has launched several new initiatives aimed at promoting tourism and supporting the local community in the area.

The STC has successfully implemented various projects, including a charity event that raised funds for the Angkor Hospital for Children, a cross-border motor ride from Thailand to Cambodia, and support for the ULS on We Love Siem Reap Campaign. This campaign encourages individuals to share their love for Siem Reap by taking picture posts and winning prizes. Additionally, the organisation has conducted capability training programs and signed memorandums of understanding with Destination Mekong as a strategic partner for destination promotion and Satapana Bank for digital and fintech solutions for the tourism industry.

Furthermore, the STC has partnered with Siem Reap Provincial Hall and JICA to develop a digital platform that supports the Smart Tourism initiative. This platform will connect tourists with local businesses and attractions while providing information on sustainable tourism practices.

The STC has also launched a pre-employment program to recruit 300 students from low-income families in five remote districts (Chikreng, Kralanh, Angkor Chum, Varin, and Prasat Bakong), starting in April 2023. The program aims to provide training and employment opportunities for local residents, support the development of a skilled tourism workforce, and STC has joined HOKA as one of the speakers to share about tourism skills being essential for life.

“We are thrilled to announce these new initiatives, which demonstrate our commitment to supporting the local community and promoting sustainable tourism in Siem Reap,” said STC’s president. “We look forward to continuing these efforts in the years ahead and working with our partners and stakeholders.”

For more information on Siem Reap Tourism Club’s initiatives and programs, please visit their website at [www.siemreaptourismclub.com]

Confluences selected to become exclusive agent in Cambodia for Doppelmayr Group, global leader in ropeway mobility

Confluences, the leading business growth catalyst in Cambodia and ASEAN is particularly delighted to announce the signing of a representation agreement in Cambodia with the leading international ropeways manufacturer, Doppelmayr Group.

‍The agreement was signed by Alexander Klimmer, Executive Director Sales @ Doppelmayr and Soreasmey Ke Bin, Confluences CEO on January, 2023 in Austria, Doppelmayr Headquarter, with the presence of Peter Vogelmann, Director International Sales @ Doppelmayr and Martin Ladner Area Manager @ Doppelmayr.

According to the agreement, Confluences will become, effective as of January, Doppelmayr Group’s exclusive agent in Cambodia with the objective of exploring and identify business opportunities in the Kingdom and bringing them to fruition.

The partnership will focus on developing mobility solutions in the Kingdom of Cambodia, where the country offers tremendous possibilities in tourism and urban transportation.

Click here for the full release: https://www.confluences.asia/blog/confluences-selected-to-become-exclusive-agent-in-cambodia-for-doppelmayr-group-global-leader-in-ropeway-mobility

A Community-Building Trade Fair

KINGDOM TALENT FESTIVAL – 20-21st of May

This trade fair features talent from a wide range of Khmer professionals — from the medical field to hospitality, artisans to martial arts, and beyond. Each participant creates a display of their work and shares their passion and stories as community visitors explore, ask questions, get inspired, and discover new interests.

THE MISSION

To offer Khmer professionals a platform to inspire others with their stories and skills, to build professional pride, and to expand business exposure.

To inspire and expand the community’s minds for what is possible in existing trades in Cambodia, as well as plant seeds for new possibilities.

The event will be hosted by Satcha, the first Cambodian Handicrafts Incubation Center based in Siem Reap.  The beautiful gardens of Satcha are set around numerous artisan workshops. Winding through the unique space, and the tranquil gardens, a total of 30 different professionals will display their work and share their passions during the festival. Satcha has a shared interest in developing the Cambodian entrepreneur and offering empowerment to successfully pursue their passions.

This event is co-organized with Creation Haus, a graphic design studio and source of design training and workshops in Siem Reap, with a passion for sparking creativity and talent discovery. This event partnership with Satcha, their artisan entrepreneurs, and the guidance of multiple experienced community members has made this festival of opportunity a reality.

If you want to sponsor this event, please contact CHRISTIE PINK Event Founder, Kingdom Talent Festival Director, Creation Haus Email: ktfcambodia@gmail.com Whatsapp: +855 10691392

Partnership Between Destination Mekong and AZ Group

25 March 2023, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

During the Destination Siem Reap Engagement Day on 25 March, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Destination Mekong, represented by Catherine Germier-Hamel, CEO, and AZ Group, represented by Erkan Bilal, Managing Director.

AZ Group & Destination Mekong expressed their willingness to align their visions and core values and enter into a strategic collaboration towards promoting sustainable travel, Eco-friendly tourism and hospitality in Cambodia and the Mekong Region.

(pictures by Erkan Bilal)

Destination Mekong and Siem Reap Tourism Club Successfully Co-hosted the first Destination Siem Reap Networking Day

28 March 2023, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Destination Mekong and Siem Reap Tourism Club joined hands to host the first Destination Siem Reap networking event dedicated to sustainable and smart tourism.  

On 25 March 2023, Destination Mekong (DM) and Siem Reap Tourism Club (STC) co-hosted their first Destination Siem Reap networking day under the theme ‘Together Smarter Stronger’.   

Designed as a creative and interactive event, Destination Siem Reap was primarily dedicated to the community of professionals in travel, tourism, hospitality and related sectors, especially existing and potential members/partners of DM and STC. It mainly aimed to promote business collaborations and public-private partnerships and help generate tourism income and job opportunities in Siem Reap, Cambodia, and more widely in the Greater Mekong Sub-region.  

Destination Mekong and Siem Reap Tourism Club also intended to facilitate a dynamic and inclusive platform to share stories, experiences, and good practices while giving a voice to those too often excluded from mainstream conversations.  

Destination Siem Reap took place under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism of the Kingdom of Cambodia and was sponsored by AZ Group as key partner, and Sathapana Bank. This local networking day was the first joint action of DM and STC, giving life to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) they had signed during the 2022 Destination Mekong Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.  

The Destination Siem Reap program’s main part occurred in the morning at Memoire Angkor Palace. It started with a multiplayer networking breakfast in the garden followed by a workshop featuring two sessions on 1. Promoting Siem Reap as a Sustainable Tourism Destination, and 2. Promoting Siem Reap as a Smart Tourism Destination.    

After opening remarks by Catherine Germier-Hamel, CEO of Destination Mekong and Philip Kao, President of Siem Reap Tourism Club, Mr Sieng Neak, Deputy Director-General of the Tourism Development and International Cooperation Department of the Cambodian Ministry of Tourism, gave congratulatory remarks. Mr Erkan Bilal, Managing Director of AZ Group, then gave a speech before the signing of the MoU between Destination Mekong and AZ Group. Through this MoU, both parties expressed their will to ‘align their visions and core values and enter into a strategic collaboration towards promoting travel, ECO-Tourism, sustainable projects and hospitality of Mekong Region at local, regional & global levels and in other related fields’. 

During the two morning sessions, ten speakers from a variety of backgrounds shared their positive experiences and inspiring stories to stimulate sustainable tourism recovery and resilience in Siem Reap. Ms. Katrine Solhaug, Owner and General Manager of Babel Guesthouse, explained how her business succeeded in surviving the COVID pandemic. She also raised concerns over noise pollution issues in Siem Reap and insisted that the support of the public sector was crucial to solving them. Ms. Sophany Mao, Director of Spoons Cambodia Organization, which provides hospitality training to disadvantaged young Cambodians, mentioned the difficulty of securing funds to train enough students in spite of many applications. 

Other speakers were (by alphabetical order):  

  • Clemy Balasoto, Founder & CEO of The Better Cambodia, who introduced the latest trends in e-marketing and how Siem Reap business can be prepared;  
  • Ty Chea, Head of Sales, Urban Living Solutions, who shared his love for Siem Reap and encouraged all to join the ‘We Love Siem Reap Campaign’;  
  • Jean-Pierre Gagnon, DCEO of Sathapana Bank, spoke about the key role of FINTECH as an important mechanism to support sustainable tourism development and briefly presented the cutting-edge services offered by Sathapana bank;  
  • Vannak Hang, General Manager of Angkor Green Gardens by Dara, talked about the property as a smart and eco-friendly accommodation;  
  • Nicolas Hatz, Tourism Development Expert at GIZ ICONE, highlighted the findings of a recent GIZ study on travel trends and travellers’ profiles in Siem Reap, urging all local operators to take advantage of it,  
  • Philippe Kao, President of STC, stressed the importance of working together and actions over words, as well as addressing labour shortage with a training project initiated by STC through funding from the Cambodian Ministry of Finance;  
  • and Torsten Munther, Managing Director of Fair Trade Village who stressed the necessity to include older people in the local tourism workforce and especially when t comes to handicrafts, so that they can also get a sustainable income and participate in community development and empowerment efforts.  

The workshop was attended by 120 representatives from the public and private sectors, including high-level officials from the Ministry of Tourism, travel operators and agents, accommodation and travel experience providers, tourism-related social enterprises, investors, developers, representatives of the academia, international development organisations and NGOs, consultants, media representatives, etc.   

In the afternoon, participants were offered the opportunity to join a two-hour cycling tour co-organized by LoLei Travel and EHT Paul Dubrule and visit handicraft workshops. This dense networking day ended with an evening party at Spoons Restaurant and Café, where guests celebrated the WWF Earth Hour 2023 with candlelight to raise awareness about the importance of saving energy.  

One of the highlights of the event was Destination Mekong’s signature cocktail, Mekong Morning, which was served to the panellists of the workshop and to all guests at the evening party.   

Philip Kao, President of STC, stressed that ‘we all know that a dream without action is a fantasy and cannot be true! That’s the reason why we are here!’  

Catherine Germier-Hamel, CEO of DM, mentioned that ‘to achieve tourism recovery and resilience, building trust and strong connections is crucial. Through our networking events and together with our partners, we are willing to help the industry regain confidence and bet on cooperation rather than competition. She added that it was vital to transform intentions and ambitions into concrete actions.  

(picture by Sam OL, Siem Reap Tourism Club)

 —ENDS

New Power Partners to Strengthen the Tourism Sector in Siem Reap Province, Cambodia, and Beyond

24 March 2023, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Destination Mekong and GIZ ICONE recently signed a Memorandum of Interest at the Tourism Innovation Summit 2023 to collaborate as strategic partners.

At the Tourism Innovation Summit 2023, Destination Mekong and GIZ ICONE signed a Memorandum of Interest (MoI) with the goal of strengthening the tourism sector, increasing the competitiveness of local tourism providers, and creating more awareness about Cambodia and the Greater Mekong Subregion as an attractive tourism destination. The summit took place from March 23-24, 2023 and was successfully implemented by the GIZ ICONE program. The event focused on the potential and importance of innovation and, with that, on the potential in adventure tourism, touristic route creation to address customer needs, sustainability as a tool for innovation, and using the right marketing tools to cater to customers.

The summit also stressed the importance of collaboration for innovation and featured as a special occasion the official signing of the MoI between Destination Mekong and GIZ ICONE. While the GIZ ICONE program aims at improving the competitiveness of Cambodian national enterprises in three sectors (tourism, agriculture, manufacturing) in three Northwestern provinces (Siem Reap, Battambang, Banteay Meanchey) and with that, the competitiveness of the private tourism sector in Siem Reap Province, Destination Mekong has the goal to champion the Greater Mekong Subregion as an attractive sustainable tourism destination creating value, impact and opportunities for all. The MoI aims to create synergies between both organisations through mutual support and the organisation of joint activities in Siem Reap Province, Cambodia, and the Greater Mekong Subregion.

Known for its ancient temples and rich cultural heritage, Siem Reap has long been a popular destination for tourists from all over the world. However, despite its natural beauty and historical significance, the tourism industry in Siem Reap has great potential for innovation in various areas besides the Angkor temples. The topics of the summit hence centred around Cambodia’s Tourism Insights Study 2022, which was conducted last year by GIZ ICONE with around 750 tourists visiting Cambodia. The study was officially presented and handed over to the Ministry of Tourism at the end of November 2022 and highlights six main areas with promising potential for future tourism development in Cambodia besides the Angkor temples: (1) culture, (2) gastronomy, (3) history, (4) islands and beaches, (5) nature, outdoors, and adventure, and (6) wellness. During the summit, tourism providers jointly developed ideas on tourism product development in several of those areas. Further information about the GIZ ICONE program are available on the Proudly Cambodian website.

 —ENDS

STEPS IMPACT REPORT 2022

Impact-report-22-English-version_Page_01

Year

Poverty, stigma and discrimination intersect to create barriers for people with disabilities to gain equal access to education.
A lack of education prevents access to decent work, which, coupled with weak enforcement of laws, poorly designed policies and widespread discrimination, creates a multitude of barriers for people with disabilities to enter into the workforce.

For example, the Persons with Disabilities Quality of Life Promotion Act BE 2550 requires companies and organisations to hire one person with a disability for every 100 people, however 98.2% of companies opt to instead pay the fine, resulting in 2 billion baht per year being paid to the fund.

Employers in our network consist of multinationals, large corporations, SME’s, and sole traders all of whom share that they want to hire inclusively, but they don’t know how.

The distinct lack of support available for all stakeholders leaves behind an untapped talent pool.

Of the total 856,844 just 36.25% are in some form of employment, with the majority of those (53.69%) working in agriculture, and freelance labour-intensive work (23.49%). These numbers reveal a deeply unequal society which prevents the full enjoyment of rights for people with disabilities. Women with disabilities face even greater exclusion from meaningful participation in both social and family settings, as well as greater risk of violence than men.

COVID-19 has greatly exacerbated these entrenched inequalities, as people with disabilities are the first to become unemployed during an economic crisis and are not sufficiently covered by social protection systems.

Whilst our focus today is Thailand, our strategic vision for 2023-2026 is to be a leader in the region.

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