Destination Mekong aligns with other tourism leaders to sign the Glasgow Declaration on climate action in tourism

18 November 2021, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Destination Mekong became a proud signatory of the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism at the COP26.

As part of its efforts to play a leadership role in the global tourism community, Destination Mekong became a signatory and launch partner of the Glasgow Declaration on climate Action in Tourism, which was launched on 4 November 2021 during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26).

Founded in 2017, Destination Mekong (DM) is the regional tourism organization dedicated to championing the Mekong region, comprising Cambodia, PR China (Provinces of Guangxi and Yunnan), Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam, as a sustainable and inclusive tourism destination.  

The Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism unites travel and tourism behind a common set of pathways for climate action, aligning the sector with global commitments and catalyzing collaborative solutions to the many challenges facing businesses and destinations globally.

The Glasgow Declaration encourages the acceleration of climate action in tourism by securing commitments to reduce emissions in tourism by at least 50% over the next decade and achieve Net Zero as soon as possible before 2050.

As a signatory of the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism, Destination Mekong has committed to aligning its actions with the latest scientific recommendations to ensure its approach remains consistent with a rise of no more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels by 2100. It also has agreed to deliver or update climate action plans within 12 months, align programs with the five pathways of the Declaration (Measure, Decarbonise, Regenerate, Collaborate, Finance), report publicly on an annual basis, and work in a collaborative spirit, sharing good practices and solutions, and disseminating information.

 “More than ever, the global tourism industry has a unique opportunity to demonstrate its transformative power through inspiring and driving climate action. It’s not only an emergency but also a matter of human dignity.” Catherine GERMIER-HAMEL, CEO, Destination Mekong

The Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism brings together the latest research and global expertise to galvanize climate action. It will be hosted within the One Planet Sustainable Tourism Programme’s website, supported by Recommended Actions for tourism stakeholders across the world to consider as part of their action planning, alongside other resources. As the declaration states: “A just transition to Net Zero before 2050 will only be possible if tourism’s recovery accelerates the adoption of sustainable consumption and production, and redefines our future success to consider not only economic value but rather the regeneration of ecosystems, biodiversity, and communities.”

The need for a globally consistent approach for climate action in tourism has been made clear, notably through research into CO2 emissions carried out by UNWTO/ITF and released at the UNFCCC COP25 in December 2019. This showed that transport-related emissions from tourism were forecast to increase by 25% by 2030 from 2016 levels, against the current ambition scenario.

As the global tourism industry is slowly getting back on track, Destination Mekong (DM) has recently appointed a new Executive Team composed of Catherine Germier-Hamel as CEO, Gerrit Kruger as Chief Marketing Officer, Gavin Bell as Chief Development Officer, and Jens Uwe Parkitny as a strategic advisor, in an honorary capacity, effective 1 November.

This ‘dream team’ was formed by Jens Thraenhart, Founder of Destination Mekong and former Executive Director of the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO), before starting a new career as CEO of Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.

Destination Mekong hosts 2021 Mekong World Tourism Day Forum on October 6-7

The Mekong World Tourism Forum, part of the two-event series of the Destination Mekong Summit, held virtually on October 21-22, will feature inspiring keynote speakers, Bangkok-based award-winning hotel designer Mr. Bill Bensley in conversation with outgoing Executivve Director of the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office, Mr Jens Thraenhart, and social impact innovator Mr. Jimmy Pham, founder of Hanoi based social enterprise and Experience Mekong Showcase recipient, KOTO (Know One – Teach One).

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Destination Mekong – Responsible and Safe Forms of Voluntourism webinar on August 24, 2021

On August 24, Destination Mekong and EPACT International, together with Child Protection Expert Group, co-organized the Destination Mekong – Responsible and Safe Forms of Voluntourism.

It was a very successful event with almost 200 participants to learn how voluntourism plays an important role in sustainable, responsible travel and tourism development in the region.

Thank you very much for such great support from ក្រសួងទេសចរណ៍ Ministry of Tourism, Cambodia and Ministry of Information, Culture, and Tourism, Lao PDR to join the panel discussion and share the valuable insights from best practices implemented in the countries.
We also would like to thank all the great effort from our MeTAG Child Protection and Education Expert Group to organize and invite Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office to join the webinar.

Finalists for the 2021 Experience Mekong Showcases announced


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

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:

  1. Make a significant social impact on its community
  2. Provide an authentically local experience positioning the GMS as a responsible, inclusive, and experiential tourism destination.
  3. 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:

All members of the Experience Mekong Collection get exposure via Mekong Tourism and Destination Mekong, including,,, 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 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


Support us by publishing the voting banner:

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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 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 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:

Mekong Tourism Collaboration

Tourism in the Mekong Region is steered collaboratively by a public-private framework between the public and private sectors.

The Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office, which is the secretariat of the Tourism Working Group, and Destination Mekong, which is the destination marketing organization led by private sector partners, are both managing initiatives aligned to the GMS Tourism Strategy to create a sustainable and inclusive environment to support businesses and communities in the Mekong Region and provide benefits for all stakeholders – residents, travelers, and businesses.

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The Bangkok-based Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO) seeks an Executive Director to lead overall management of the organization and initiate/coordinate regional public and private tourism marketing and development initiatives in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS). For more information about MTCO visit

Applications will be accepted by email from all qualified candidates during 7 June to 30 June 2021 (deadline, 17:00 Bangkok time).  All nationalities of all genders will be considered. GMS citizens (Cambodia, PR China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam) and women are especially encouraged to apply. The position is a two-year fixed term appointment extendable for an additional two years.



Established in 2006, MTCO is the Secretariat of the GMS Tourism Working Group (TWG), principally comprising the National Tourism Organizations of Cambodia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam; and the People’s Republic of China, representing Yunnan Province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

MTCO is hosted by Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism and Sports and is staffed by a full-time Executive Director and Operations Manager. The MTCO Executive Director reports to the MTCO Board, made up of senior tourism officials representing each of the six GMS-member countries. The TWG meets twice-yearly, with participation customarily up to Director General-level or equivalent. As of May 2021, the TWG has met 46 times, rotating among each GMS country. MTCO’s annual workplans align with the GMS  Tourism Sector StrategyGMS Tourism Marketing Strategy and Action Plan, and other relevant public and private strategic planning documents.




The Executive Director’s primary objective is to provide specialized knowledge to support secretariat functions of the GMS TWG and MTCO Board, including organizing TWG/MTCO Board meetings and the annual Mekong Tourism Forum. The secondary objective is to coordinate and facilitate the implementation of GMS tourism sector strategies, GMS tourism marketing and communications plans, and other regional tourism initiatives as directed by the MTCO Board.




The MTCO Executive Director shall undertake the following tasks under the supervision of the MTCO Board and in close cooperation with the GMS TWG:

MTCO Administration

  • Provide secretarial and administrative support to the GMS Tourism Working Group and MTCO Board of Directors.
  • Archive documents to the cloud and make use of digital tools, services, and platforms to cost efficiently manage a paper-less and “green” office, and manage virtual meetings
  • Frequently liaise with MTCO Board members and other GMS tourism officials.
  • Supervise the MTCO Operations Manager and other MTCO employees, interns, consultants, and advisors.
  • Closely coordinate with officials of Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism and Sports regarding day-to-day MTCO administrative matters (e.g., office arrangements and hardware, telephone lines, Internet service, etc.).
  • Oversee the management of MTCO finances. Prepare quarterly and annual financial reports in accordance with internationally accepted accounting standards. Arrange an annual external audit of MTCO’s financial statements.
  • Represent the MTCO at TWG meetings, and at relevant travel trade events, and other tourism-related meetings and conferences.
  • Prepare GMS TWG/MTCO Board Meeting summary of proceedings and reports on other meetings and events organized by the GMS TWG/MTCO.
  • Prepare technical reports on events organized by the TWG/MTCO.

Technical & Stakeholder Coordination

  • Coordinate with GMS National Tourism Organizations and public and private destination marketing/management organizations to market and promote the GMS as a single destination, following the GMS tourism marketing plan and GMS TWG’s annual work plan.
  • Coordinate with GMS National Tourism Organizations and other public and private development partners to identify resources to support the implementation of priority projects in the GMS Tourism Sector Strategy, with emphasis on mobilizing assistance for secondary destinations.
  • Develop and maintain relationships with local, regional, and international travel media organization and individuals to support MTCO initiatives.
  • Develop and maintain strong relationships with national, regional and international organizations, including UNWTO, WTTC, PATA, and ASEAN Centres, to promote MTCO initiatives, solicit investment, and seek support and cooperation.
  • Engage with academic institutions, including teachers/professors and students, especially in the fields of tourism planning, management, and promotion to support MTCO initiatives.
  • Supervise maintenance of the MTCO website and social media accounts, including security and content management; upload relevant documents to the online library, dissemination of announcements, travel advisories/crisis communications, social media engagement, newsletters, and press releases.
  • Coordinate and support the respective host countries to organize the annual Mekong Tourism Forum and other GMS tourism knowledge events. Organize virtual events, and online webinars to communicate with shareholders and public and private sector stakeholders.
  • Supervise and maintain MTCO databases (e.g., contacts database, publications inventory, image library, and all other electronic archives).



Post Coronavirus Pandemic Recovery: Tourism continues to be one of the sectors hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Executive Director will facilitate implementation of the Mekong Tourism Recovery Communications plan in cooperation with MTCO’s public and private partners.



University degree in tourism, marketing, or related specialized fields, preferably with a postgraduate degree.

Minimum of 5-years of relevant experience in tourism marketing and strategic planning/development, preferably in the Greater Mekong Subregion.

At least 3-years of relevant experience managing digital tourism assets. Demonstrated advanced social media and website development capabilities.

At least 3-years of relevant experience working with one or more national tourism organizations in the GMS.



  • You have graduated from a recognized university or college, ideally with a master’s degree in Tourism and Marketing, Marketing, Business Administration, or relate field.
  • You thrive working in the tourism industry with passion and a high level of understanding of the impact of tourism in the Greater Mekong Subregion.
  • You have extensive experience supporting marketing campaigns, including digital social media, and web-based marketing, digital innovations, as well as expertise in the key tourism source markets of the GMS member countries.
  • You have a fair understanding of the issues facing small businesses, start-ups, and entrepreneurs, and are familiar with innovation ecosystems and platforms.
  • You are an expert user of Microsoft Office and Adobe products; and WordPress to publish website content, and post content on social media platform. You are able to design social media graphics and optimize and edit photos and videos for the web.
  • You are familiar with tourism statistics and analytics, especially in GMS and ASEAN countries.
  • You have experience interfacing with political leadership and tourism government officials in the GMS and/or ASEAN.
  • You have experience managing staff and interns.
  • You are a diplomatic communicator that naturally enjoys engaging with diverse stakeholders, including government, development partners, academia, civil society, private sector travel companies, as well as media including trade and consumer media.
  • You have experience managing complex projects and events.
  • You are familiar with the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office, its mandate, and activities.
  • You have experience in handling official documents, and secretarial administration.
  • You recognize that flexible work hours are required, including evenings and weekends and some travel will be required for meetings, conferences and events.
  • You are familiar with the current COVID-19 situation and recovery plans in the GMS countries.
  • You bring relationships, networks and new fresh ideas from your previous professional engagements to the position which helps to evolve and adapt the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office to new challenges and situations.



The MTCO Executive Director shall report to the MTCO Board. Regular reports to be provided to the Board include but are not limited to: (i) MTCOs annual audited financial statements; (ii) brief quarterly and annual reports on MTCO operations and activities, in a format agreed with the MTCO Board; (iii) and annual report on the GMS TWG Workplan, in a format agreed with the MTCO Board.



Shortlisted candidates will be invited to an online interview with the MTCO Board in August 2021. The successful candidate is expected to be appointed by mid-September 2021.



The successful candidate will be engaged as an independent consultant under a fixed-term two-year contract, extendable for an additional two years contingent on a performance evaluation by the MTCO Board prior to expiry of the initial two-year appointment. The total tenure is limited to two terms. The MTCO Executive Director is not an employee of any of the six governments and is responsible for paying his/her own tax obligations and insurance costs.



The MTCO Executive Director shall receive a monthly consulting fee of USD 4,000, plus work-related travel expenses.



All interested candidates are required to submit the following by email before 30 June 2021 to with copy to

  • a signed expression of interest, detailing the applicant’s suitability for the position
  • a CV (not longer than 5 pages) summarizing qualifications, skills, and experience relevant to the position.
  • Three references (ideally combination of supervisor, peer, subordinate, partner/client).


The Executive Director of the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office will be selected by the MTCO Board, which is made up of senior government officials from the six member countries of the Greater Mekong Subregion.


Only candidates shortlisted for an interview will be contacted.

Destination Mekong coordinated the organization of consultative workshop of the Mekong Tourism Recovery Communications Plan

On June 15, Destination Mekong coordinated the organization of the workshop of the Mekong Tourism Recovery Communications Plan, an initiative by the six governments facilitated by the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office with technical assistance from the Asian Development Bank.

A brief summary of the meeting is available here