Destination Mekong Announces 16 Candidates for its Executive Board Elections

19 May 2022, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Destination Mekong has launched its campaign to elect its first Executive Board as part of its journey toward building a unified and resilient tourism industry in the Greater Mekong Subregion.

Since the incorporation of Destination Mekong as a full-fledged company in January 2022, its Executive Team has worked hard on consolidating the organization, driving membership, building partnerships, and exploring funding opportunities.

As a continuation, Destination Mekong has now launched the campaign to elect its new Executive Board during its first Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 03 June 2022. The AGM will be held in a hybrid format and open to members, representatives of partners, and non-members. It will include the confirmation of the DM Charter and the election of a new Executive Board by voting members (Changemakers), with eight seats available in the first year.

The list of candidates for the Executive Board is composed of 16 professionals with impressive backgrounds in travel, tourism, and hospitality in Asia, highly committed to sustainable development and local community empowerment in the Mekong region: 

Ms. Duangmala Phommavong, Co-Founder and Partner | EXO Travel Lao

Mr. Fréderic Tambon, Founder/CEO | Society and Fred, Expert in international marketing, tourism industry, and education

Mr. Guido Neil, Director Special Operations | 12Go

Mr. Hailin Zhang, Professor at Guilin Tourism University

Mr. Jacques Guichandut, Managing Director | All Dreams Cambodia Co. Ltd.

Mr. Jean Claude Dhuez, Owner | Sâmata

Mr. Mark Bibby Jackson, Founder | Travel Begins at 40

Ms. Melita Koulmandas, CEO/Founder | Song Saa Collective

Mr. Miquel Angel Perez Martorell, Founder | MQL Sustainable Tourism Services

Dr. Neal F. Bermas, Founder | STREETS International

Mr. Nguyen Tuan Linh, Owner | Mr. Linh’s Adventures Travel Company Limited

Mr. Nick Ray, Principal at Hanuman Films. Lonely Planet Writer for Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. Tourism Consultant with the World Bank

Dr. Sasithara Pichaichannarong, Rector | College of Tourism, Hospitality, and Sports; Chairperson | RSU Vista Golf Course, Thailand

Mr. Sean Too, Chief Eco Consultant | Sentinel Solution Thailand Co Ltd

Ms. Sophea Sok, Regional Program Manager, Asia-Pacific | Planeterra Foundation

Dr. Soriya Yin, Associate Professor, Environmental Science | American University of Phnom Penh

The profiles of candidates can be consulted here:

Besides the elected members, the DM Executive Board will also include Dr. Jens Thraenhart, as the founder of Destination Mekong, Mr. Willem Niemeijer, in his role as past Chair of the Interim Board of Directors, and representatives of the largest private-sector supporters of Destination Mekong, including a permanent seat for its founding contributor UNWTO Affiliate Member Chameleon Strategies.

Catherine Germier-Hamel, CEO of Destination Mekong, stressed that “these are challenging yet exciting times for Destination Mekong and its growing community of members, partners, and supporters. To create impact and value for all, we will not only need coordination, cooperation, and innovation but also motivation, dedication, and compassion. The candidates to our Executive Board all have these qualities, together with being true changemakers and role models”.  

Dr. Jens Thraenhart, Founder of Destination Mekong and former Executive Director of the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO), praised the list of candidates and stressed that “the new DM Executive Board will contribute to the success of the mission of Destination Mekong and its innovative strategies, models and operations. One of the reasons for establishing Destination Mekong was to foster a strong and balanced public-private-partnership framework to boost tourism recovery and resilience in the GMS aligned to the Tourism Strategy”.   

Willem Niemeijer, Chairman of the interim board and CEO of Yaana Ventures, and Michael Marshall, Vice-Chair of the Interim Board and CCO of Minor Hotels, commented on the high quality of the list and are looking forward to handing over their board positions to the new members.

Up to one day before the elections, 2 June 2022, all professionals active in the Greater Mekong Subregion and interested in being part of building a sustainable, inclusive, and united regional tourism destination can become Changemakers (Full voting Members) at a special launch rate. 

To become a Destination Mekong Member, please go to:

Besides its existing initiatives, Destination Mekong will prioritize the execution of the new Mekong Tourism Recovery Communications Plan, starting with the release of the much-expected Mekong Stories book in June.


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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