52108-001: Mekong Tourism Innovation | Asian Development Bank

Regional: Mekong Tourism Innovation

Sovereign (Public) Project | 52108-001 Status: Active

Under this TA, ADB will provide support to the Private Sector Advisory Group of the GMS Tourism Working Group to design and implement the 2018 Mekong Innovative Startup in Tourism (MIST) accelerator program. MIST identifies, pilots, and helps entrepreneurs and government scale innovative tourism solutions, both traditional and technology-based, that contribute to sustainable and inclusive tourism.

Project Details

Project Officer
Mellor, Dominic P. Southeast Asia Department Request for information
Country
  • Regional
Sector
  • Industry and trade
 
Project Name Mekong Tourism Innovation
Project Number 52108-001
Country Regional
Cambodia
Lao People's Democratic Republic
Myanmar
Viet Nam
Project Status Active
Project Type / Modality of Assistance Technical Assistance
Source of Funding / Amount
TA 9510-REG: Mekong Tourism Innovation
Government of Australia US$ 225,000.00
Strategic Agendas Inclusive economic growth
Regional integration
Drivers of Change Gender Equity and Mainstreaming
Governance and capacity development
Knowledge solutions
Partnerships
Private sector development
Sector / Subsector

Industry and trade / Trade and services

Gender Equity and Mainstreaming Effective gender mainstreaming
Description Under this TA, ADB will provide support to the Private Sector Advisory Group of the GMS Tourism Working Group to design and implement the 2018 Mekong Innovative Startup in Tourism (MIST) accelerator program. MIST identifies, pilots, and helps entrepreneurs and government scale innovative tourism solutions, both traditional and technology-based, that contribute to sustainable and inclusive tourism.
Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy

The Private Sector Advisory Group of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Tourism Working Group (TWG) has requested support to sustain the Mekong Innovate Startup Tourism (MIST) accelerator program. MIST was designed and co-organized by the GMS TWG Secretariat - Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO) - together with public and private stakeholders, launched in January 2017, and culminated in a demo day at the 2017 Mekong Tourism Forum (MTF). To ensure sustainability, the 2018 MIST will be a private sector driven initiative supported by MTCO. MIST identifies, pilots, and helps entrepreneurs and government scale innovative tourism solutions, both traditional and technology-based, that contribute to sustainable and inclusive tourism. The first MIST accelerator program successfully incubated 12 tourism startups from Cambodia, Lao Peoples Democratic Republic, Myanmar, and Viet Nam (collectively referred to as the ASEAN-4). It also facilitated regional market access and technology transfer for 12 mature tourism technology companies, including from Thailand. MIST generated enormous visibility, amounting to over 360 positive media stories and 1.5 million social shares. Several MIST startups have subsequently raised investment and developed new corporate partnerships.

ASEAN-4 are richly endowed with diverse natural and cultural tourism assets but lag their regional peers in economic performance and regional integration. Tourism is prioritized in ASEAN-4 national socioeconomic development plans because of its potential to create jobs, generate foreign exchange receipts, and accelerate regional economic integration. International visitor arrivals are growing by 15% annually in ASEAN-4, approximately twice the rate of ASEAN-6 (the remaining ASEAN Member States: Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Singapore). In 2015, ASEAN-4 received a record-high 22 million international visitors, which generated $15 billion and supported about 4.6 million jobs more than half held by women. The direct contribution of travel and tourism to gross domestic product (GDP) is highest in Cambodia (13.5%), followed by Viet Nam (6.6%), the Lao PDR (4.6%), and Myanmar (2.6%).

While the ASEAN-4 have made good progress promoting tourism, average spending per visitor is much lower than Asia and the Pacific's $1,500 benchmark. Moreover, more than half of ASEAN-4 tourist arrivals and corresponding economic benefits accrue to fewer than 10 gateway destinations. Tourism growth and spending in secondary destinations is constrained by a weak business-enabling environment, low service standards, inadequate last-mile transport infrastructure, and insufficient protection of the environment and cultural heritage assets. These constraints lower overall tourism competitiveness in the ASEAN-4 and hold back the development of potentially lucrative market linkages between tourism and other sectors. The results are reduced economic benefits, environmental degradation, and persistent inequality between gateway and secondary destinations. Rather than focusing on simply increasing visitor numbers in countries, efforts should also shift toward generating and retaining more income from tourism and better balancing the distribution of benefits within ASEAN-4.

Apart from supportive tourist visa and aviation policies, tourism growth in the ASEAN-4 is being driven by improved physical connectivity with regional and global markets. ADB's on-going GMS Tourism Infrastructure for Inclusive Growth Project and ASEAN's broader connectivity agenda aim to help maximize the impact of better connectivity and Asia's growing affinity for travel. However, government and the private sector also need to take full advantage of rapid advances in information and communication technology (ICT) to affordably connect small- and medium- size enterprises (SMEs) to global markets. ICT has reshaped the way consumers plan, purchase, and share experiences about tourism products and services. According to the Boston Consulting Group, more than 95% of travelers use digital resources for travel planning and consumption, and to share information during and after a trip. This is expected to continue given increasing rates of fixed-line and mobile internet usage, the falling cost of internet access, and the rising popularity of online travel agents and social media.

During a SSTA fact-finding mission in December 2017, the GMS TWG affirmed its commitment to strengthen MTCO's capacity to deepen industry partnerships and support the MIST accelerator program in 2018 and beyond. Innovative tourism startups carry significant potential to scale and solve industry challenges while contributing to sustainable tourism growth. ADB was encouraged to leverage its networks and relationships to mobilize commercial funding and opportunities for MIST startups. This SSTA is urgent as the GMS TWG are keen to showcase the best local tourism startups at the MTF scheduled for June 2018. Consistent with these efforts and the urgency of the SSTA, the ADB included small-scale capacity development technical assistance (TA) in its Regional Cooperation and Integration Pipeline for Southeast Asia 2017-2020. Proposed TA activities are also listed as priority investments under the Greater Mekong Subregion Tourism Sector Strategy 2016-2025.

Impact A more dynamic tourism innovation ecosystem in ASEAN-4 that contributes to inclusive and sustainable tourism in the GMS
Project Outcome
Description of Outcome Innovative tourism business models are sourced, accelerated, and scaled
Progress Toward Outcome
Implementation Progress
Description of Project Outputs 2018 MIST accelerator program designed and implemented
Status of Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues)
Geographical Location Cambodia - Nation-wide; Lao People's Democratic Republic - Nation-wide; Myanmar - Nation-wide; Viet Nam - Nation-wide
Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects
Environmental Aspects
Involuntary Resettlement
Indigenous Peoples
Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation
During Project Design
During Project Implementation
Responsible ADB Officer Mellor, Dominic P.
Responsible ADB Department Southeast Asia Department
Responsible ADB Division Viet Nam Resident Mission
Executing Agencies
Asian Development Bank
6 ADB Avenue,
Mandaluyong City 1550, Philippines
Timetable
Concept Clearance 13 Mar 2018
Fact Finding 12 Dec 2017 to 26 Dec 2017
MRM -
Approval 26 Mar 2018
Last Review Mission -
Last PDS Update 18 May 2018

TA 9510-REG

Milestones
Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
26 Mar 2018 - 26 Mar 2018 31 Oct 2018 - -
Financing Plan/TA Utilization Cumulative Disbursements
ADB Cofinancing Counterpart Total Date Amount
Gov Beneficiaries Project Sponsor Others
0.00 225,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 225,000.00 26 Mar 2018 28,340.00

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