Journey of the Senses is a social enterprise in hospitality businesses in Ho Chi Minh that makes a positive social impact on people with disability. The business operates various innovative hospitality projects including restaurants, café, flower shop, and spa business as a means to support visually and hearing-impaired staff for a better life.Continue reading
The Family Tree is fully operated under the principles of Fair Trade by putting people and planet as top priorities. The fundamental principles that are evidenced in all of their businesses are promoting fair trade; promoting culture and communities; and promoting green products and the environment. Their handmade crafts are of high cultural values, eco-friendly and uniquely designed.Continue reading
iving Irrawaddy Dolphin Project is a social business promoting sustainable practices under the license of Burma Dolphins Ltd., a local travel company in Mandalay, Myanmar. The project was set to protect the endangered Irrawaddy dolphins and preserve a unique tradition of cooperative fishing while creating job opportunities in local areas through community-based tourism.Continue reading
Laos Buffalo Dairy (LBD) is the first and only buffalo dairy in Laos PDR, producing a wide array of artisanal cheeses and milk products which are directly sold to local and international customers. Located near Luang Prabang, the farm offers visitors a unique opportunity to visit dairy and production facilities, taste delicious cheeses and get up close with buffaloes and other farm animals.Continue reading
Yangshuo Mountain Retreat (YMR) has been widely recognised by a number of international travel magazines as one of the ‘must visit’ hotels on earth. Situated on the banks of the Yulong River in Yangshuo county, near Guilin city of China, the lodge develops a strong business model that focusses on sustainable tourism, cultural conservation and community development. Through the beauty of surroundings, the place offers high quality of customer services, and sustainable business practices that have a positive impact to environments and local communities.Continue reading
The Elephant Valley Project (EVP), the original elephant sanctuary in Cambodia, is dedicated to rescuing captive elephants and supporting conservation work protecting wild elephants. Visitors get an opportunity to observe elephants in their natural habitat and learn more about the conservation in the local area.Continue reading
Watch a recording of the event here:
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Finalists for the 2021 Experience Mekong Showcases announced
Public Voting is open to support small responsible businesses during these challenging times
Bangkok, July 27th, 2021: The Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office is announcing the 15 Finalists of the Experience Mekong Showcases 2021 from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand Viet Nam, as well as Guangxi and Yunnan in PR China. Finalists from Myanmar this year will be judged differently via an industry panel made up of relevant Mekong Tourism Advisory Group members. Three thousand eligible votes determined three Experience Mekong Collection members from each of the five participating countries this year for the next round of voting for this prestigious recognition. Now open for a public vote until August 31st, the six Experience Mekong Showcases will be announced at the 2021 Destination Mekong Summit later on this year. To cast your vote, please visit https://www.destinationmekong.com/experience-mekong-showcases2021-voting/
The 15 finalists – 3 from each of 5 member countries of the Mekong Region are:
Note: Myanmar businesses will be judged separately by an expert panel made up of members of the Mekong Tourism Advisory Group (MeTAG).
The Experience Mekong Collection was created four years ago to recognize and encourage sustainable and responsible tourism development in the Greater Mekong Subregion.
To be appointed as a member of the Experience Mekong Collection, all small travel businesses in the Mekong Region need to fulfill the following requirements:
- Make a significant social impact on its community
- Provide an authentically local experience positioning the GMS as a responsible, inclusive, and experiential tourism destination.
- Have an innovative concept and sustainable business model.
Members of the Mekong Tourism Advisory Group (MeTAG) selected the 60 shortlisted Experience Mekong Collection (EMC) member businesses – twelve from five member countries of the Greater Mekong Subregion from the 300+ members of the Experience Mekong Collection.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the currently active businesses – defined as businesses in communication with us, which is a requirement to be included in the Experience Mekong Showcases program – are currently at nearly 150 businesses.
“Alliances like the Experience Mekong Collection are more important than ever, especially in crises such as during the COVID-19 pandemic, to strengthen resilience both at the destination level, as well as for the individual businesses themselves, via sharing of best practices, networking, cross-promotional activities, and creating operational efficiencies”, says Mr. Jens Thraenhart, outgoing Executive Director of the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office, and initiator of the Experience Mekong Collection, operated as part of the private-sector-led regional tourism board Destination Mekong. “I am convinced that the Experience Mekong Collection will help accelerate tourism recovery in the region, as well as protect and conserve these locally authentic experiences, which are the treasure trove of the Mekong region.”
“In recognizing the most innovative best practice businesses as the Experience Mekong Showcases, this sets several benchmarks to further improve travel experiences in the Greater Mekong Subregion. As consumer trends and travel behaviors are changing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we hope this inspires other operators of any size to become involved in responsible and inclusive tourism,” said Mr. Willem Niemeijer, Founder & CEO of Yaana Ventures and current interim Chairman of Destination Mekong.
The 2018 Experience Mekong Collection Showcases included Phare Cambodian Circus (Cambodia), Longji Rice Terraces Guangxi (PR China), Ock Pop Tok (Lao PDR), Inle Heritage Place (Myanmar), Local Alike (Thailand), and Koto (Viet Nam). The 2019 Experience Mekong Collection Showcases included Soksabike (Cambodia), Linden Centre (PR China), Elephant Conservation Centre (Lao PDR), Hla Day (Myanmar), Sampran Riverside (Thailand), and Streets International (Viet Nam). The 2020 Experience Mekong Collection showcase include the Elephant Valley Project (Cambodia), Yangshuo Mountain Retreat (PR China), Laos Buffalo Dairy (Lao PDR), Living Irravaddy Dolphin Project (Myanmar), The Family Tree (Thailand), and Journey of the Senses (Viet Nam). Please see: https://www.destinationmekong.com/initiatives/experience-mekong-showcases/
All members of the Experience Mekong Collection get exposure via Mekong Tourism and Destination Mekong, including MekongTourism.org, DestinationMekong.com, ExperienceMekong.com, and the dedicated Experience Mekong Collection Facebook and Instagram accounts. Experience Mekong Collection members also have priority access to marketing campaigns and have their own dedicated online member-only community to connect with each other.
To help struggling members of the Experience Mekong Collection survive these challenging times during the COVID-19 pandemic, a support page has been created at https://www.destinationmekong.com/projects/support-experience-mekong-collection-members/ to list businesses asking for donations or selling gift certificates. Please support these small businesses by visiting: For more information about the Experience Mekong Collection and its members, please visit www.experiencemekongcollection.com.
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About the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office:
The Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO), located in Bangkok, and hosted by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports of Thailand, was set up with funding from the governments of the six Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) countries – Cambodia, the People’s Republic of China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam. The MTCO, which operates on annual financial contributions from each GMS country, acts as the secretariat for the GMS Tourism Working Group, comprising of senior officials of the six GMS countries’ National Tourism Organizations, to coordinate and facilitate sustainable tourism development of the GMS, and promotion of the Mekong region as a single travel and tourism destination, in collaboration with the public and private sectors. The MTCO manages its award-winning MekongTourism.org digital platform as a one-stop platform to promote responsible and sustainable tourism in the region, as well as the annual Mekong Tourism Forum, whose hosting is rotated among GMS countries.
Please visit www.MekongTourism.org for more information.
About Destination Mekong:
Destination Mekong, located in Phnom Penh, and hosted by the Ministry of Tourism of Cambodia, to promote the Lancang-Mekong region, comprising of Cambodia, PR China (Provinces of Guangxi and Yunnan), Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam as a single tourism destination to stimulate responsible and sustainable development and investment, and drive inclusive growth. Aligned to the mandate of the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office, the tourism secretariat of the six-member governments of the Greater Mekong Sub-region, Destination Mekong executes targeted projects and initiatives, including Mekong Moments, Mekong Mini Movie Festival, Mekong Innovations in Sustainable Tourism (MIST), Experience Mekong Collection, Mekong Heroes, and Mekong Trends, the Destination Mekong Summit, with feedback from the Mekong Tourism Advisory Group (MeTAG).
More information at: www.DestinationMekong.com