- WATCH: Tourism Upgrade in the Mekong. New tourism enterprises using start-up technologies are promoting a more inclusive and sustainable tourism industry in the Greater Mekong Region.
- Seeing huge potential for inclusive and sustainable tourism growth in diversifying tourism destinations, ADB, together with the Greater Mekong Subregion Tourism Working Group and the Government of Australia, created the MIST accelerator program.
- ADB and the Government of Australia got together and formulated the regional Mekong Tourism Innovation Project to continue supporting the Mekong Innovative Start-ups in Tourism (MIST) in 2018.
The Mekong region is introducing tourists to a wider array of attractions after several tourism start-ups are placed under an innovation accelerator program supported by the Asian Development Bank and the Government of Australia. As the success of these start-ups gains and sustains momentum, the Mekong region gets on its way to having a more inclusive and sustainable tourism industry.
The Mekong Region is Southeast Asia is steeped in rich history and culture,
making it a favorite tourist destination.
Every year, millions of tourists come to the Mekong Region
to experience the sights, sounds, and flavors unique to this part of Asia.
The Mekong Region includes four lower-middle income countries
whose natural and cultural tourism assets
are connected to the Mekong River: Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Viet Nam.
Collectively, these four countries received
29.3 million inbound international tourists in 2018
but the arrivals benefitted only less than ten tourist destinations.
Weak transport infrastructure
and a challenging business environment
make it difficult to promote secondary destinations.
In 2018, ADB and the Government of Australia
implemented the Mekong Tourism Innovation technical
assistance (TA) program to boost tourism start-ups and
The TA funded a start-up bootcamp called the Mekong
Innovative Start-ups in Tourism or MIST 2018.
The MIST is an accelerator program that incubates early-
stage tourism startups
by facilitating market access and technology transfer
with mature tourism companies, destination marketing,
and hospitality service solutions.
MIST 2018 received 107 applications
from which 9 start-ups graduated from the accelerator program:
5 in the start-up track, and 4 in the market access track.
14 more start-ups finished the MIST bootcamp.
After the program,
23 commercial partnerships were signed,
$1.65 million potential investments were raised,
813 media features shared their stories.
Their stories were also shared 3.1 million times in social media.
Tourism in the Mekong Region can now benefit big and small enterprises
as it continues to offer a beautiful experience of its rich and unique culture
and amazing people.