Southeast Asia’s Hospitality Leaders Fight For Sustainability at PHIST 5

Southeast Asia's Hospitality Leaders Fight For Sustainability at PHIST 5 - TRAVELINDEX - VISITPHUKETPhuket, Thailand, September 30, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / PHIST (Phuket Hotels for Islands Sustaining Tourism) is back as a live, in-person gathering, this important annual forum embraced the combative, cultural spirit of Muay Thai to spark candid conversation and instigate positive change in the travel and tourism industry. The theme of PHIST 5 was Muay Thai, the high-energy, culturally-rich sport of Thai boxing, which has gained global popularity and represents the battle to preserve authentic art and heritage

PHIST, Southeast Asia’s biggest and best responsible travel and hospitality forum, returned on Monday 26th September to deliver a knockout blow to unsustainable tourism in Southeast Asia! Back as a live, in-person gathering, this fast-paced event tackled the key topics impacting the region and supported the green recovery of hotels and tourism operators following the global pandemic.

Hosted at ACES, Angsana Laguna Phuket, the theme of this year’s PHIST was Muay Thai, the high-energy, culturally-rich sport of Thai boxing, which has gained fame and popularity around the world and represents the battle to preserve authentic art, heritage and tradition. Muay Thai fighters from Australia, Brazil, Thailand and the USA faced off in the main hall of ACES on Monday in a series of “super fights” for the Nai Khanom Tom belt, which is partly woven by the Me Fah Luang Foundation in the hills of northern Thailand.

Following these physical battles, keynote speakers delivered verbal blows as they provided unique insights on the critical issues facing the industry, including community tourism, green operations, ocean health, destination management, post-COVID trends and more. This included the “Rumble in the Jungle” – seven verbal bouts between two speakers, culminating in a battle of the heavyweights.

A series of expert-led workshops focused on practical subjects such as “Green Finance for Hotels,” “Zero Waste” and “Materials for Sustainable Tourism,” and a Green Expo presented a comprehensive selection of innovative, eco-friendly products from approximately 30 exhibitors. Finally, delegates were able to discuss the day’s events with evening networking drinks.

Bill Barnett, Managing Director of C9 Hotelworks and the co-founder & co-organiser of PHIST, said: “We are so pleased that PHIST returned this week as a live, face-to-face event. The global pandemic disrupted every aspect of our lives, but perhaps if it had one positive outcome it is that it forced the world to live, work and think more sustainably. At PHIST 5, we dug deep into the most important trends effecting the industry and delivered practical, workable solutions that hoteliers and business owners can use to boost their operations at this challenging time – and future-proof them for years to come.”

Bjorn Courage, President of the Phuket Hotels Association, commented: “Last year, even when many businesses were struggling to stay above water, we saw the travel trade come together at our virtual forum to advance the cause of sustainability. This week, as 500 delegates from across Southeast Asia met face-to-face at PHIST 5, we were able to share more ideas and put our pledges into action. Collaboration is the key – when people come together, great things can happen. What we decided at PHIST can drive positive benefits for your business and the entire region. It was great to see everyone jumping in the ring and getting involved!”

Hope Uy, Managing Director of South Palms Resort in Panglao, stated: “Islands such as Panglao and Phuket feel environmental and social issues even more acutely than other destinations. Fresh water, waste disposal, coral bleaching; these are not only concepts – they impact our lives and operations on a day-to-day basis. The only sustainable solution is to work hand-in-hand with communities and to create a circular economy. I was delighted to come together with like-minded people at PHIST 5 to share our experiences and offer workable solutions.”

Kevin Deisser, CEO & Founder of Invest Islands, added: “In a diverse archipelago such as Indonesia, preserving the integrity of island life is at the heart of everything with do. Every development we undertake must have a positive impact on local people, and, if undertaken in the right way, this will drive long-term benefits to all parties. In Indonesia and across Southeast Asia, indigenous people have already established highly sustainable ways of life. As outsiders, tourism providers and developers need to work with the islanders and learn from them.”

Eric Ricaurte, founder & CEO of Greenview, concluded: “Prior to the pandemic, traveller mindsets were already changing. Now, with travel and tourism at a crossroads, people are wanting more authentic experiences that connect them with their chosen destination. Our PHIST workshops were designed to create best practices for hotels that will not only strengthen their sustainability objectives, but also bring them closer to the local community. Tourism plays a pivotal role in the development of islands, so it is critical that we act responsibly.”

An exciting new feature at this year’s PHIST was the inaugural award for “Sustainable Design Innovation”, which was presented to Patrick Keane, founder of Enter Projects. Founded in 2005, Enter Projects has created myriad award-winning projects and continues to gain global acclaim for its eco-master planning, architecture and interior services.

A collaboration between the Phuket Hotels Association, Greenview and C9 Hotelworks, with support from the Tourism Authority of Thailand, American Chamber of Commerce Thailand (AmCham), QUO, Creative Concept AV, Delivering Asia Communications, Banpu NEXT, Indorama Ventures, Junkyard Theatre Phuket, GIZ, Angsana Laguna Phuket, Blue Tree Phuket, XCO2, ZeroWater Thailand, Revolution X, AustCham Thailand, Thai-Swedish Chamber of Commerce, Thaiger, Travel Daily, Teak Timber Phuket, Mbs Thai, Cocktails & Co, Wine on Tap, FullMoon Brewworks, and Kombuchawow.

For more information, please visit: phist.phukethotelsassociation.com

Exhibitors: Royal Phuket Marina, Reddonatura India Private Limited, Sentinel Solution (Thailand) Co.,Ltd, Development Management Group Co., Ltd., Ecolab LTD, Reef Repair, OKLIN (THAILAND) CO., LTD, Hoteliers.Guru, CREATIVE MOVE COMPANY LIMITED, Green Footprint Solutions Ltd, PHUKET TEINTHONG, EHL Hospitality Business School, Good Drop Water, SensorFlow, Sustainable Maikhao, SOS, Zero water, Seeds of Change, Hobart Thailand, Smarter Enegy Solution, Diversey Hygiene (Thailand) Co.,Ltd., Sunsear Phuket, Banpu NEXT Co., Ltd., Blue Tree, and BAAN SAIJAI CO., LTD.

Phuket Hotels Association members are as follows:
Absolute Twin Sands Resort, Amanpuri, Amari Phuket, Amatara Resort & Wellness, Anantara Layan Phuket Resort, Anantara Maikhao Phuket Villas, Anantara Vacation Club Maikhao Phuket, Andara Resort & Villas, Angsana Laguna Phuket, Angsana Villas Resort Phuket, Banyan Tree Phuket, Burasari Resort Phuket, Cape Sienna Hotels & Villas, Centara Grand Beach Resort, Club Med Phuket, COMO Point Yamu, Dewa Nai Yang, Dream Phuket Hotel & Spa, Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket, Grand Mercure Phuket Patong, Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort & Spa, Holiday Inn Maikhao, Holiday Inn Resort Phuket Patong, Hyatt Regency Phuket Resort, Impiana Resort Patong, InterContinental Phuket Resort, JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa, Kata Rocks, Keemala, Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort, Maikhao Dream Villa Resort & Spa, Manathai Surin Phuket, Millennium Resort Patong Phuket, Movenpick Resort Bangtao Beach Phuket, Novotel Phuket Kamala Beach, Novotel Phuket Phokeethra, Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort, Outrigger Laguna Phuket Beach Resort, Paresa Resort, Phuket Marriott Resort & Spa Merlin Beach, Phuket Marriott Resort & Spa Nai Yang Beach, Pullman Phuket Arcadia Naithon Beach, Pullman Phuket Panwa Beach Resort, Ramada Plaza Chaofa, Renaissance Phuket Resort & Spa, Rosewood Phuket, SALA Phuket Resort & Spa, Serenity Resort and Residences, Splash Beach Resort, Swissotel Resort Phuket Patong Beach, Thanyapura Sports Hotel, The Bell Pool Villa Resort, The Boathouse Phuket, The Clover Hotel Patong, The Nai Harn Phuket, The Naka Island, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, The Nature Phuket, The Pavilions Phuket, The Slate, The Surin, The Village Coconut Island, The Westin Siray Bay Resort & Spa Phuket, Trisara, Twinpalms MontAzure, Twinpalms Phuket, U Zenmaya Phuket, Wyndham Grand Phuket Kalim Bay, Wyndham Sea Pearl Resort Phuket

Thailand MotoGP Grand Prix 2022 with Plenty of Exhilarating Moto Racing Action

Thailand MotoGP Grand Prix 2022 with Plenty of Exhilarating Moto Racing Action - VISITTHAILAND.net - TRAVELINDEXBangkok, Thailand, October 1, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / The Tourism Authority of Thailand is pleased to invite tourists to the 2022 MotoGP World Championship motorcycle race, the OR Thailand Grand Prix, which is making an exhilarating return this year and will take place at the Chang International Circuit in Buri Ram province this weekend, from Friday, 30 September to Sunday, 2 October.

To help promote the OR Thailand Grand Prix 2022, a pre-event “MotoGP vs Muay Thai” photoshoot was held in Bangkok on 27 September, which had MotoGP race riders learning the art of Thai kickboxing or Muay Thai at the famous Rajdamnern Stadium in a promotional video to be broadcast to MotoGP fans worldwide.

This included MotoGP race riders: Álex Márquez of the Honda LCR Team, Fabio Di Giannantonio of Gresini Racing MotoGP, and Albert Arenas of the Inde Gasgas Aspar Team, as well as Moto3 race riders: Izan Guevara of the Valresa Gasgas Aspar Team and two Thai riders from the Moto2 – Somkiat Chantra of the Idemitsu Honda Team Asia and Keminth Kubo of the Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team.

Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor, said “We are thrilled to see the MotoGP racing event back again this year, both for the thrilling action and excitement it offers fans here in Thailand and around the world through its live broadcast, and for the enormous opportunity it presents in showcasing Thailand’s ability to host world-class sporting events. It fits well with the promotion of sports tourism in the kingdom.”

With PTT Oil and Retail Business Public Company Limited (OR) as title sponsor, this is the third edition of the MotoGP – the world’s number one motorcycle road racing championship watched by over 800 million people and broadcast live to more than 200 countries – in Thailand after the first PTT Thailand Grand Prix 2018 and PTT Thailand Grand Prix 2019. The thrilling sport has a large following in Thailand, where there are more than one million fans.

The three-day OR Thailand Grand Prix 2022 is the 17th race on the 2022 MotoGP World Championship calendar out of a total of 20 races. The event programme sees free practices and qualifying for the MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3, and Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup on Friday and Saturday. The Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup’s first race will also be held on Saturday. On Sunday is the day of the MotoGP, Moto2, and Moto3 races, as well as the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup’s second race.

H.E. Mr. Anutin Charnvirakul, Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Health, will preside over the official opening of the 17th race on the 2022 MotoGP World Championship, the OR Thailand Grand Prix, which is scheduled to be held on Sunday afternoon. He will also witness the MotoGP, Moto2, and Moto3 races.

Meanwhile, H.E. Mr. Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, Thailand’s Minister of Tourism and Sports, will attend several events on Friday. Following a visit to the community park at the Chorakhe Mak Reservoir None-hunting Area and presiding over the opening of the Thai Sarus Cranes Community Tourism Festival, his schedules at the Chang International Circuit will include officially openubg the SAT SPORTS EXPO and the TAT’s Amazing Thailand booths and visiting other booths, including OR, HONDA, YAMAHA, CHANG, and the MUAY THAI EXPO.

In addition to the motorcycle races, the three-day programme features a music concert by popular Thai artists Joey Boy and Slot Machine on Friday evening, a Muay Thai or Thai kickboxing competition and concert by Thai singer, Katai Pannipa, on Saturday evening, and a concert by another Thai singer, Oat Pramote, on Sunday evening.

Tickets to the OR Thailand Grand Prix 2022 can be purchased at 7-Eleven stores nationwide, or through www.allticket.com.

For more information, please go to www.motogp.com/en/event/Thailand, www.bric.co.th/thailandgrandprix, or the Facebook page Chang Circuit Buriram.

Cardamom Tented Camp Sustainable Hotel Award for Climate Action

Cardamom Tented Camp Sustainable Hotel Award for Climate Action - TRAVELINDEX - VISITCAMBODIAChamkarmorn, Cambodia, October 17, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / Cardamom Tented Camp in Cambodia has won the 2022 Hotel Investment Conference Asia Pacific (HICAP) Sustainable Hotel Award for Climate Action.

Apart from climate action, there were awards for building preservation/adaptive reuse, positive community impact, and sustainable design. Seven judges, mostly from institutional sustainability backgrounds, assessed the submissions. The BHN Group, which runs the HICAP event, announced the winners on 12 October.

The judges based the climate action decision on Cardamom Tented Camp’s ability to work with partners to preserve 180 sq km of lowland rainforest in the Botum Sakor national park in southwest Cambodia. On climate action, it is estimated that the forest that the camp helps protect sequesters about 108,652 tons of carbon per year, according to Wildlife Works.

Since opening in 2017, the tented camp’s motto has been, “Your Stay Keeps the Forest Standing.” It makes the claim because monthly salaries of 10 Wildlife Alliance forest rangers are supplemented by profits from the camp. The rangers protect the habitat from illegal poachers, loggers, riverbank sand dredgers and land encroachers.

Populations of elephant, leopard, python, sun bear, otter, pangolin and other wildlife are increasing due to camp-funded ranger patrols. The rangers have forced poachers to the perimeters, or out of the park altogether.

“Despite setbacks during the two Covid years when tourism income greatly disappeared, Cardamom Tented Camp persevered in its environmental mission,” said Willem Niemeijer, CEO of camp operator YAANA Ventures. “We are grateful to HICAP for recognising our staying power and ability to work with partners to keep the forest standing, with all the benefits that brings,” he said.

HICAP judges also took into consideration the camp’s strong contribution to UN Sustainable Development Goals such as life on land, clean and affordable energy, decent work, economic growth, climate action, and partnerships. Cardamom Tented Camp is a partnership with Minor Hotel Group’s sustainability arm, the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation, Wildlife Alliance, and YAANA Ventures.

Beyond sequestering an estimated 108,652 tons of CO2 annually, the judges also recognised Cardamom Tented Camp’s additional environmental efforts. BHN noted: “The camp is powered by 100% onsite solar power for its electricity, has low impact heating and cooking, and natural wastewater filtration processes. The property recycles as much as possible and uses 100% organic personal care products. Future plans include powering its boat with an electric battery, increasing local and onsite food sourcing, and undertaking community activities for conservation.”

As well as Cardamom Tented Camp’s environmental efforts, it also scores well on hospitality and all-round guest experience metrics. The camp’s guest satisfaction levels are rated 5.0 – excellent – by TripAdvisor, and have been so for three years

After Covid impacts, YAANA Ventures estimates Cardamom Tented Camp will close 2022 with about 80% of 2019’s occupancy and will return to profitable levels in 2023. YAANA Ventures says it will then increase contributions to the forest rangers.

In the 2022 HICAP Sustainable Hotel Awards, Soneva Fushi in the Maldives won for positive community impact. Lyf one-north in Singapore won for sustainable design.

About Cardamom Tented Camp
Cardamom Tented Camp is an ecolodge located in the foothills of the Cardamom Mountains in Cambodia. The nine-unit tented camp, with restaurant pavilion, staff dormitory, ecotourism equipment and boat pier, uses solar power to run lodge amenities. The camp has its own waste water filtration process. There is no road access. The camp is accessible only by river boat – or forest hike.

The lodge aims to minimize the human footprint on the natural world and serve as a role model in promoting sustainable ecotourism practices within both the national park and Cambodia as a whole. Located on an 18,000-hectare (180 sq km) concession, the lodge and its surroundings are home to pristine lowland and coastal habitats linking wildlife corridors to the Cardamom Mountains. Eco-friendly trekking and kayaking packages are available for adventure enthusiasts who are keen to be a part of real conservation work.

Cardamom Tented Camp is a three-way initiative between Minor Group, YAANA Ventures and Wildlife Alliance to ensure the land and its biodiversity does not fall into the hands of loggers, poachers and sand dredging operations.

About YAANA Ventures
YAANA Ventures is an owner, partner and operator of entrepreneurial travel and hospitality ventures in Asia. YAANA Ventures distinguishes itself by sharing real experiences that are grounded in the cultural richness of Asia. The company is the champion of the triple bottom-line. It empowers its ventures with the values to nurture the people with whom it works.

Four Hands Collaboration Between Piedmont and Calabria in Bangkok

Four Hands Collaboration Between Piedmont and Calabria in Bangkok - TOP25RESTAURANTS.comBangkok, Thailand, October 7, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / La Scala Restaurant at The Sukhothai Bangkok is a triumph of innovative interior design paired with inspired Italian cuisine. Chef de Cuisine of La Scala, Eugenio Cannoni, extended an invitation to Luca Abbruzzino from the Michelin-starred Calabrian restaurant Ristorante Abbruzzino to join forces on a four-hand collaboration to create an unforgettable dining experience!

Since 2008 Ristorante Abbruzzino has been at the forefront of the Calabrian food scene, with chef-owners Luca and Antonio Abbruzzino taking the best of local produce and turning it into world-class cuisine. In 2013 the restaurant was awarded a Michelin star. The restaurant itself was completely refurbished by architect Michele Panza in 2016, giving the dining room a simple, elegant atmosphere and drawing all attention to the food itself. Curious diners can watch the kitchen at work through a large window, and in summer customers can choose to eat outside in the beautiful garden at the front of the building, which sits in a quiet residential area of Catanzaro. More about Ristorante Abbruzzino: https://www.abbruzzino.it/#pg-homepage-page.

27 – 29 October 2022
8 Courses: THB 4,600++ per person
6 Courses: THB 3,900++ per person
4 Courses: THB 2,300++ per persons

Lunch 12PM – 3PM (l.o. 2PM)
Dinner 6PM – 11PM (l.o. 10PM)

For reservations, please call 02 344 8888 or email to promotions@sukhothai.com

About La Scala
La Scala, an award-winning Italian restaurant is highly coveted for classic and progressive Italian cuisine combined with fine Italian and European wines. Its beautiful poolside setting is a bold statement in contemporary décor subtly infused with The Sukhothai’s cultural heritage, and showcases an open kitchen, private room and a bar with a wine cellar.

About Eugenio Cannoni
Eugenio Cannoni is from the northern Italian region of Piedmont. His career began in the family restaurant, but with a strong desire to enhance his knowledge he enrolled at one of Italy’s best cooking schools, Alma di Gualtiero Marchesi. From there begun a path of research and enrichment by touring different kitchens in Europe and around the world, also dedicating himself to collaborations and as a consultant on various TV shows in Italy and abroad. His latest appointment was Chef De Cuisine at Castello di Casalborgone in Turin.

Sabre Survey Reveals The Shifting Shape of Corporate Travel

Sabre Survey Reveals The Shifting Shape of Corporate Travel - TRAVELINDEX - AIRLINEHUB.comSingapore, Singapore, October 15, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / Corporate travel agents and TMCs across APAC outline the new trends in the corporate travel landscape, and how they are adjusting their business models to adapt to them. Sabre Corporation announced the results of a new survey of travel agents and Travel Management Companies (TMCs) in APAC, which reveals the changing face of corporate travel as industry recovery continues to gain strength.

The research was carried out with respondents across Asia Pacific, in five languages in 21 countries, to gain insight into the evolving expectations of business travellers, and how corporate sellers in the region are adapting to service these new demands.

Respondents pointed to a growing need for the corporate travel industry to tailor service offerings for new workforce realities, such as remote and blended working arrangements, while embracing technology to capitalize on, and drive, ongoing recovery. Key findings included:

– The majority of corporate travel agents (84%) have changed their business priorities as a result of the pandemic, and are now focused on optimizing costs and efficiencies, while meeting customer and business demands with fewer employees.

– Four-fifths of respondents have adopted new technological solutions to manage Covid-19 related risk over the past two years. And, of those who haven’t, 42% plan to do so within the next two years. The most popular solutions are travel risk management tools, automated workflows and virtual payment tools.

– Half of agents said a rise in internal corporate travel, to bring remote workers together, will create recovery opportunities, while 45% said emerging corporate travel markets are important for growth.

– There’s strong optimism in the market, with 82% saying they expect a return to pre-pandemic corporate travel levels, and 15% expecting a boom greater than pre-Covid-19, within the next 12 months.

– More than two-thirds of respondents have seen an increase in bookings in the three months to August. Most are reporting an increase of not more than 30% but there’s a notable 14% with an increase of more than 50%.

– 55% say company Covid-19-related travel restrictions are easing, and 38% say total travel spend is increasing.

– Cost remains a key consideration. More than two-thirds have seen a moderate or significant increase in bookings with low-cost carriers. The trend is most prevalent in North Asia where there’s been a 42% switch from FSCs to LCCs.

– Corporate travellers place high priority on information, flexibility, and hygiene. However, companies are also turning their attention to sustainability as one of the key personalization priorities for corporate travel.

“Sabre’s own booking data is showing that corporate travel is coming back strong,” said Brett Thorstad, Vice President, Sabre Travel Solutions, Agency Sales, “so, it’s heartening to see those same results borne out among our travel agency partners through our new research.

“However, while business travel is rebounding, what is clear is that it is returning differently,” added Mr Thorstad. “It is important, as an industry, that we understand these changes, and the reasons for them, and we are prepared to drive our own evolution, supported by robust technology. In this way, we can power increased revenue and efficiency across the travel ecosystem, while ensuring corporate travel agents are best placed to create the frictionless, tailored experiences that business travellers want and expect.”

About Sabre Corporation
Sabre Corporation is a leading software and technology company that powers the global travel industry, serving a wide range of travel companies including airlines, hoteliers, travel agencies and other suppliers. The company provides retailing, distribution and fulfilment solutions that help its customers operate more efficiently, drive revenue and offer personalized traveller experiences. Through its leading travel marketplace, Sabre connects travel suppliers with buyers from around the globe. Sabre’s technology platform manages more than $260B worth of global travel spend annually. Headquartered in Southlake, Texas, USA, Sabre serves customers in more than 160 countries around the world.

Best Western Evolves Upscale Portfolio with All-Villa Resort on Phu Quoc Island

Best Western Evolves Upscale Portfolio with All-Villa Resort on Phu Quoc Island - TRAVELINDEX - TOP25 HOTELSPhu Quoc, Vietnam, October 6, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / Best Western Hotels and Resorts has continued to strengthen its presence in Vietnam with the opening of the Best Western Premier Sonasea Villas Phu Quoc, an elegant new upscale all-villa resort in Vietnam’s “Pearl Island.”

Nestled on the soft sands of Bai Truong Beach, on the island’s sunset coast, this beautiful boutique resort is ideal for families, couples, honeymooners, and any other guest seeking a little extra space to unwind. Surrounded by lush tropical gardens and only 10 minutes’ drive from the airport, this chic retreat seamlessly weaves contemporary design and international amenities into its natural, tropical surroundings.

The inviting three-, four- and five-bedroom villas are designed in an eco-sensitive style with warm, earthy tones and panoramic glass walls and doors that allow daylight to flow into every space. Guests can step out of their villas onto shady terraces and slide into sparkling pools. Barbecues, alfresco dining areas and even pool tables are perfect for special occasions and private parties.

Like every Best Western hotel and resort in Asia, the Best Western Premier Sonasea Villas Phu Quoc promises the latest in-room comforts and amenities, including sleep-inducing king or twin beds, bathrooms with power showers, flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, working desks, USB ports, complimentary Wi-Fi and outstanding in-room dining.

The Best Western Premier Sonasea Villas Phu Quoc is located adjacent to the existing Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc, and visitors will be able to access the extensive facilities of this sister property including the sublime Thala Spa, fully-equipped fitness center and colorful Nemo’s kids club. The Essence Restaurant, Oasis Pool Bar and C View Sky Bar also offer myriad opportunities to relax, refuel and refresh.

“We are excited to unveil the Best Western Premier Sonasea Villas Phu Quoc, which represents not only the expansion of our presence in Vietnam – one of our most important target markets – but also the evolution of our upscale product. Best Western gained a strong and proud reputation in the midscale sector, but our 17 industry-leading brands now span every tier of the market from economy to luxury. The launch of this upscale all-villa retreat is further evidence of the diverse nature of our portfolio in Asia, and the confidence owners have in the power of our brands. We look forward to introducing this beautiful beachfront resort to our guests,” said Olivier Berrivin, Vice President of Operations – Asia-Pacific, BWH Hotel Group.

Guests at the Best Western Premier Sonasea Villas Phu Quoc will also be able to earn and redeem points and benefits with Best Western Rewards®, the group’s award-winning loyalty program.

This opening represents the latest phase of Best Western’s expansion strategy in Vietnam. The company now operates three hotels and resorts across the country, with 24 hotels and resorts and two branded residences in the pipeline, in destinations ranging from Ha Long Bay in the north to Phu Quoc Island in the south.

For more information about Best Western Hotels & Resorts in Asia, please visit www.bestwesternasia.com

About Best Western Hotels and Resorts
Best Western Hotels & Resorts headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, is a privately held hotel brand within the BWH Hotel Group® global network. With 17 brands and approximately 4,500 hotels in over 100 countries and territories worldwide*, BWH Hotel Group suits the needs of developers and guests in every market. Brands include Best Western®, Best Western Plus®, Best Western Premier®, Executive Residency by Best Western®, Vīb®, GLō®, Aiden®, BW Premier Collection®, and BW Signature Collection®. Through the acquisition, WorldHotelsTM Luxury, WorldHotels Elite, WorldHotels Distinctive, and WorldHotels Crafted collections are also offered. Completing the portfolio are SureStay®, SureStay Plus®, SureStay Collection®, and SureStay Studio® franchises**.

* Numbers are approximate, may fluctuate, and include hotels currently in the development pipeline.
**All Best Western, WorldHotels and SureStay branded hotels are independently owned and operated.

Andaz Pattaya Jomtien Beach Unveils Senior Leadership Team

Andaz Pattaya Jomtien Beach Unveils Senior Leadership Team - TRAVELINDEX - TOP25HOTELSPattaya, Thailand, October 14, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / Andaz Pattaya Jomtien Beach, Hyatt’s inaugural Andaz-branded luxury and lifestyle resort in Thailand, has unveiled its highly skilled and experienced executive management team ahead of its grand opening in the fourth quarter of 2022.

This one-of-a-kind beachfront retreat will be led by Mr. Ranjeet Y. Rajebhosale, General Manager of Andaz Pattaya Jomtien Beach, who has enjoyed 28 years in the highest levels of the hospitality industry. A graduate of the prestigious Indian Institute of Hotel Management, Ranjeet started his career working with Taj Hotels Palaces Resorts Safaris, India’s leading luxury hospitality company. He first joined Hyatt in 2002, as Assistant Director of Food & Beverage at Hyatt Regency Delhi and has not looked back since.

Over the last two decades, Ranjeet has demonstrated his talent at Hyatt hotels and resorts in six countries and territories worldwide, gradually moving up through the managerial ranks. Most recently, he was GM of Hyatt Regency Liberation Square Chongqing, China, where he oversaw a complete renovation and rebranding of the hotel. He is now bringing his lifetime of expertise to Andaz Pattaya Jomtien Beach, as it prepares to welcome guests later this year.

He will be very ably supported by Ms. Anna Rhee, who has been appointed Executive Assistant Manager – Rooms, and brings extensive experience to this chic beachfront hotel. Hailing from Seoul, Anna was educated in Korea and the US before she entered the hospitality sector with Hilton. Anna joined Hyatt in 1998, initially as a corporate management trainee, and has spent more than 23 years with the family, including spells at Park Hyatt Los Angeles, Grand Hyatt Singapore, Hyatt Hotel Canberra, Hyatt Regency Kota Kinabalu and Hyatt Regency Danang. Most recently, she served on the pre-opening team for Hyatt Regency Nha Trang in Vietnam.

Heading up the commercial strategy is Director of Sales & Marketing Ms. Sunny Yu. Originally from China, she graduated from Australia Blue Mountains Hotel Management School and has worked in hospitality ever since. Sunny’s career includes launching InterContinental Phuket Resort, DOSM for Rosewood Bangkok, and Head of Commercial for JA Hotels & Resorts – Middle East & Indian Ocean (managing 10 properties). The majority of the last decade has been spent with IHG’s corporate offices in both Shanghai and Bangkok, where she held roles in Loyalty Marketing, Global Sales Effectiveness and Commercial Marketing. Sunny is an active keynote speaker on the webinar, meeting and conference circuit in Asia, and is in her fifth year serving as President of the Thailand Chapter of HSMAI (Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International).

Overseeing the hotel’s restaurants, bars and lounges is Mr. Alexis Movio, Director of Food & Beverage at Andaz Pattaya Jomtien Beach. Born in London but of Italian descent, Alexis comes from a family of restaurateurs. A dynamic F&B professional, he has worked in some of Asia’s most luxurious hotels and resorts, including Ritz-Carlton properties in Sanya and Mandarin Oriental in Shanghai, plus the Michelin-starred restaurant, Opera Bombana Beijing. Passionate about travelling and experiencing new cultures, Alexis understands how to create exceptional epicurean journeys for the world’s most discerning diners.

He is now putting the finishing touches to the six unique F&B concepts at Andaz Pattaya Jomtien Beach: Wok Wok, a Thai and Asian wok restaurant; La Cucina, an authentic Italian trattoria; Village Butcher, the premium steakhouse; Fish Club, a beachfront restaurant and bar; Teak Lounge, a chic venue for light bites and relaxation; and Ruen Thai, the traditional teak Thai teahouse.

These innovative venues will provide the perfect stage to showcase the talent of Chef Vincenzo Gatti, the resort’s Executive Chef. Born in the Puglia region of Italy, Chef Vincenzo has worked in the top kitchens of Europe and Asia for two decades, giving him a wide repertoire of techniques in the global gastronomic arts. Having commenced his career in Italy, he went on to work in top restaurants in Asia and arrived in Thailand in 2019. He has extensive experience of Hyatt and its brands, having worked at Park Hyatt Guangzhou, Grand Hyatt Seoul and Hyatt Regency Hua Hin in the past six years.

Also joining the executive team at Andaz Pattaya Jomtien Beach will be Mr. Thanate Likhittumrongkawin, Director of Finance, who is originally from Phuket and has worked with brands including JW Marriott and W Hotels before joining Hyatt Regency Phuket; Ms. Dollarpapat “Mali” Sookmuang, Director of Human Resources, a Thai national who has worked with Four Seasons, Six Senses and most recently, Park Hyatt Maldives; and Mr. Kriengkrai Chongkhanpond, Director of Engineering, who was born in Bangkok and most recently worked on the successful launch of Hyatt Regency Koh Samui.

Nestled on a serene 6.4-hectare plot of land at Tawanron Beach, on Thailand’s Eastern Seaboard, Andaz Pattaya Jomtien Beach will introduce global explorers to a new era of experience-driven hospitality. This resort has been sensitively woven into a former family estate, complete with mature gardens, fully-grown trees and restored Thai heritage houses. With low-rise clusters of rooms and villas, shady courtyards, sparkling pools and creative event spaces, this enchanting retreat will allow guests to connect with the local culture, true to the spirit of the Andaz brand and Hyatt’s Boundless Collection.

About Andaz Pattaya Jomtien Beach
Nestled on a serene stretch of beach on Thailand’s sunset coast, Andaz Pattaya Jomtien Beach is a luxury and lifestyle resort that seamlessly weaves world-class hospitality with authentic Thai heritage. A former private seafront estate with mature gardens, shady trees and heritage houses has been sensitively reimagined as a 204-room and villa resort, including six restaurants and bars, three swimming pools, inspiring event spaces, a kids’ club and more. Global explorers, including experience-seeking couples and families, can reconnect with nature, discover Thai culture and enjoy myriad activities, all just a short drive from Bangkok and Suvarnabhumi International Airport.

About Andaz
Global in scale while local in perspective, the Andaz brand of luxury lifestyle hotels weaves the sights, sounds, and tastes of each property’s surroundings for a distinctively local experience. Through thoughtful, unscripted service tailored for travelers, Andaz hotels enable guests to go beyond the familiar and satiate their curiosity while immersing them in the spirit of the eclectic culture around them. There are currently 25 Andaz hotels: Andaz 5th Avenue and Andaz Wall Street in New York, Andaz San Diego, Andaz West Hollywood, Andaz Napa, Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Bungalows, Andaz Savannah, Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort, Andaz Ottawa ByWard Market, Andaz Mayakoba Resort Riviera Maya, Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo, Andaz London Liverpool Street, Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht, Andaz Munich Schwabinger Tor, Andaz Vienna Am Belvedere, Andaz Singapore, Andaz Delhi, Andaz Xintiandi in Shanghai, Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills, Andaz Seoul Gangnam, Andaz Xiamen, Andaz Capital Gate Abu Dhabi, Andaz Dubai The Palm, Andaz Shenzhen Bay, and Andaz Bali.

About Hyatt Hotels Corporation
Hyatt Hotels Corporation, headquartered in Chicago, is a leading global hospitality company guided by its purpose – to care for people so they can be their best. As of March 31, 2022, the Company’s portfolio included more than 1,150 hotels and all-inclusive properties in 71 countries across six continents. The Company’s offering includes the Park Hyatt®, Miraval®, Grand Hyatt®, Alila®, Andaz®, The Unbound Collection by Hyatt®, Destination by Hyatt™, Hyatt Regency®, Hyatt®, Hyatt Ziva™, Hyatt Zilara™, Thompson Hotels®, Hyatt Centric®, Caption by Hyatt, JdV by Hyatt™, Hyatt House®, Hyatt Place®, UrCove, and Hyatt Residence Club® brands, as well as resort and hotel brands under the AMR™ Collection, including Secrets® Resorts & Spas, Dreams® Resorts & Spas, Breathless Resorts & Spas®, Zoëtry® Wellness & Spa Resorts, Vivid Hotels & Resorts®, Alua Hotels & Resorts®, and Sunscape® Resorts & Spas. Subsidiaries of the Company operate the World of Hyatt® loyalty program, ALG Vacations®, Unlimited Vacation Club®, Amstar DMC destination management services, and Trisept Solutions® technology services.

MICE Show Asia Returns with Strong Line-Up of Exhibitors and Partners

MICE Show Asia Returns with Strong Line-Up of Exhibitors and Partners - VISITSINGAPORE.org - TRAVELINDEXSingapore, Singapore, October 6, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / Asia’s premier MICE show with strong exhibitor line-up such as Abbott Rapid Diagnostics, Alaska Destination Specialists, Destination Hospitality, Incheon Tourism Organisation, NYC & Company, Sapporo Convention Bureau, Ungerboeck, Visit Anchorage, Visit Guam, Visit Monaco, YTS Services Marketing and many more, underlining the growth of Asia MICE market. MICE Show Asia 2022 is a three-day conference and exhibition for the meetings industry in Asia Pacific (APAC) that aims to redefine industry practices and identify new trends that will shape the future of MICE. The fourth edition of the premier MICE Show in Asia returns as an in-person event held at Marina Bay Sands from Wednesday, 19 October – Friday, 21 October 2022. The event is co-located with ITB Asia and Travel Tech Asia and will be organised by Messe Berlin (Singapore).

Strong presence of exhibitors signals the importance of MICE Show Asia for the industry

Across the three days, more than 30 exhibitors from Convention and Visitor Bureaus (CVB), MICE buyer organisations, destinations, MICE tech companies and start-ups will showcase their products and services including Abbott Rapid Diagnostics, Alaska Destination Specialists, Business Events Perth, Business Events Sarawak, Czech Republic, Destination Hospitality, Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Incheon Tourism Organisation, Latvia Travel, Mississippi River Country USA, NYC & Company, River Cruises DCS -Touristik GmbH, Sapporo Convention Bureau, Saxony Tourism Germany, Taipei City Government, Ungerboeck, Visit Anchorage, Visit Berlin, Visit Brussels, Visit Estonia, Visit Finland, Visit Guam, Visit Iceland, Visit Malta, Visit Monaco, Visit Rovaniemi, Visit Sarajevo, YTS Services Marketing, and Zagreb Tourist Board.

“MICE Show Asia 2022 will bring together industry suppliers, meetings & events professionals and emerging MICE innovators to connect and build the future of MICE. With the industry’s revival and positive signs, this event is a must-attend for the meetings industry in APAC to get the latest insights and strategies and capture the immense growth of the Asia MICE market”, said Katrina Leung, Managing Director of Messe Berlin (Singapore), the organiser of MICE Show Asia, Travel Tech Asia and ITB Asia.

MICE Show Asia Conference: Original content, breaking news and thought-provoking ideas

MICE Show Asia will take place on the leading MICE & Corporate Travel conference stage, with a strong international participation from speakers and partners from International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE), International Association of Professional Congress Organisers (IAPCO), International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), Meeting Professionals International (MPI), Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) and many more. The who’s who of the community will discuss five main topics ranging from “Emerging Trends Shaping the Future of Event”, “Digital Nomads – A New Type of Corporate Travellers”, “Duty of Care for All: The Extended Role of Travel Managers with Travel Risk Management”, “Experiences Reimagined: The New Growth Indicator” and “Emerging Focus on Sustainability and Wellness for MICE Travel”.

What the future holds for an in-person event, especially in the wake of a global pandemic, is the main topic of the CVB’s panel on Day 1, 19 October, 11 a.m. – 12 p.m., moderated by Ciaran McQuillan, Head of Special Events, Asia, Global Media Services, Associated Press. Titled “How Large-scale Meetings, Conventions, and Live Events Are Surging Anew”, Gareth Martin, CEO, Business Events Perth, Noor Ahmad Hamid, COO, Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB), Jerry Cito, Executive Vice President, Convention Development, NYC & Company, Marico Ogi, MICE Director, Sapporo Convention Bureau and Nichapa Yoswee, Senior Vice President, Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) will explore what it takes to be future ready and how the industry has rebounded to take the MICE industry forward.

The Buyers Meet TMCs Panel Discussion on Day 2, 20 October, 3 – 4 p.m., titled “The State of Corporate Travel 2023”, will feature C-level executives talking about the future of corporate travel, trends that might continue into 2023 and beyond and how the MICE industry is evolving. The panel discussion will be moderated by Vivek Neb, Managing Director APAC & MEA and Global Head, Travel & Tourism, Escalent, who will lead a debate with Sanghamitra Bose, Vice President and General Manager Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, AMEX GBT, Brenda Quek, Asia-Pacific Travel Meetings and Events Program and Engagement Leader, Ernst & Young (EY), Khaled Khattab, Travel, Events & Congresses Manager, Novartis and Carl Jones, Managing Director, South-East Asia, SAP Concur.

The MICE Leaders’ Panel, “Return to a World Transformed: Revitalising MICE for a New Era” on Day 3, 21 October, 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. features a discussion where professionals, buyers and sellers of travel and meetings services explore how different players in the MICE ecosystem can work together to deliver a better bottom line and future for the industry. The panel will be moderated by Richard Ireland, President, Singapore Association of Convention & Exhibition Organisers & Suppliers (SACEOS). Confirmed panelists include Patricia Cheong, Managing Director Asia, International Conference Services (ICS), Waikin Wong, Regional Director Asia Pacific, ICCA – International Congress and Convention Association, Wee Min Ong, Vice President of Conventions & Exhibitions, Marina Bay Sands, Ashwin Gunasekeran, CEO, Penang Convention & Exhibition Bureau and Arnold T. Gonzales, Head, MICE Department, Tourism Promotions Board Philippines.

Traditional in-person meetings were paused in 2020, but innovation flourished out of necessity. Now is the time for venue providers to use those lessons learnt over the past years to rebuild MICE even stronger. The Venue Providers’ Talks, titled “The New Meeting Space” on Day 1, 19 October, 2 – 3 p.m., will feature Gilles Cretallaz, COO, Dusit International, Arun Madhok, CEO, Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre, Chua Wee Phong, Chief Executive (Venues), Constellar and James Fong, CEO, Jewel Changi Airport, who will share on how venue providers are building safe, secure, and thoughtful meeting space and experience for planners and suppliers.

MICE Show Asia Conference Partners
MICE Show Asia can count on well-established conference partners including International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE), International Association of Professional Congress Organisers (IAPCO), International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), Meeting Professionals International (MPI) and Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE).

IAPCO welcomes its Ambassador Stéphane Talboom to discuss the “The Future of Business Meetings and Travel in Asia from a PCO’s Perspective”.

IAEE and MPI will lead four joint conference sessions where eligible practitioners will earn 4 CE hours for their certification revalidation. The topics of the joint sessions are “Meetings & Exhibitions Outlook: Future Predictions for the Business of Meetings”, “Top 7 Trends in Sales Today”, “Extraordinarily Inclusive: Events and Exhibitions that Embrace Everyone” and “The Exhibition and Event Professionals Marketing Playbook”. All the four sessions will be led by Karen Gonzales, Director Global Business Development, IAEE and Estefani Aguirre, Vice President, Business Development, MPI who will join together to navigate the audience through the overarching trends impacting MICE market.

ICCA will host a C-Suite Talk, titled “Global Trends – Reshaping Business Events: The Fast Track of Recovery”, with Dato’ Sri Abdul Khani bin Daud, Board of Director, Member of ICCA as expert speaker.

SITE will host a C-Suite Talk featuring its Past President Rajeev Kohli who will talk about “5 Things You Absolutely Need to Know About the Future of Incentive Travel in a Post Pandemic World”.

Further high-profile industry leaders have their say.
Other experts leading the industry conversation with their market insights, brand new ideas and inspiring case studies include:

– Andy-Michaels Lim, Managing Director – Singapore & Malaysia, Amadeus
– Sanjay Seth, Managing Director, Asia Pacific, BCD Meetings & Events
– Amelia Roziman, CEO, Business Events Sarawak
– Foo Sze Zhaun, Executive Director, Corporate Information Travel (CIT)
– Laura Ruffles, Executive Director, Global COO, Corporate Travel Management (CTM)
– Maura Geertsma, Vice President, Global Retention Center of Excellence, CWT
– Ian Cummings, Global Head, CWT Meetings & Events
– Teresa Matheson, Head of APAC, Egencia
– Tracey Edwards, Global Strategic Lead & GM ANZ, Event Travel Management (ETM)
– Bertrand Saillet, Managing Director, Asia, FCM Travel
– Ben Taylor, CEO, APAC, George P. Johnson
– Martin Sirk, International Advisor, Global Association Hubs Partnership (GAHP)
– Kelli Vettoretto, Regional Vice President, HelmsBriscoe
– Neelu Singh, Managing Director, APAC, HRS Group
– Lim Hui Ject, Managing Director, Singapore & Brunei, International SOS
– Stephane Talboom, VP Sales and Marketing, K.I.T. Group
– Richard Soo, Chief Guru @ Creative Marketing (Managing Director), MEP Meeting & Exhibition Planners
– Jonathan Seto, Senior Vice President and Managing Director – APAC, MOI Global
– Agnieszka Majkowska, Experience Director, Prudential Polska
– Edward Koh, Executive Director, Conventions, Meetings & Incentive Travel, Singapore Tourism Board (STB)
– David Hughes, Managing Director, Asia Pacific, Uniglobe Travel International
– Alycia Brady, Managing Director – Singapore, We Are Aspire

About ITB Asia
ITB Asia, Asia’s leading travel trade show, is organised by Messe Berlin (Singapore) Pte Ltd and supported by the Singapore Exhibition & Convention Bureau. The annual B2B trade show and convention will feature hundreds of exhibiting companies from the Asia-Pacific region, Europe, the Americas, Africa and the Middle East, covering not only the leisure market, but also MICE and corporate travel. Exhibitors from every sector of the industry, including destinations, airlines and airports, hotels and resorts, theme parks and attractions, inbound tour operators, inbound DMCs, cruise lines, spas, venues, other meeting facilities and travel technology companies are expected to attend.

ITB Asia is the premier meeting place for the travel trade industry to forge new partnerships and strengthen existing business relationships with the most important players in the region.

About MICE Show Asia
MICE Show Asia is the premier MICE event in Asia where incentive travel, meetings and events industries come together to connect and build the future of MICE. The annual B2B trade show and convention features industry suppliers, meetings & events professionals to up-and-coming MICE innovators from a wide range of disciplines, sectors and all levels of seniority. The show is co-located with ITB Asia and Travel Tech Asia.

About Travel Tech Asia
Travel Tech Asia is the premier travel technology show in Asia. The trade show is where latest technologies, emerging trends, leading travel brands and innovative start-ups are all at one place to create the new possibilities of travel. From travel tech suppliers, innovative start-ups to leading travel brands who are at the forefront of the industry transformation, Travel Tech Asia welcomes attendees from all levels of seniority across a wide range of disciplines and sectors in the travel industry. The show will be co-located with ITB Asia and MICE Show Asia.

Mekong Tourism Forum 2022 Focused on Rebuilding a More Resilient Tourism Industry

Mekong Tourism Forum 2022 Focused on Rebuilding a More Resilient Tourism Industry - TRAVELINDEXHoi An, Viet Nam, October 18, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / After two years of disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mekong Tourism Forum returned as a physical event in 2022. It was be held in Quang Nam Province, home to Hoi An ancient town in central Viet Nam, on 12 October 2022.

Under the theme “Rebuild Tourism, Rebound with Resilience,” it was be the first interactive in-person event convening public- and private-sector tourism leaders and experts from the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) and beyond since the pandemic began. This GMS signature forum focused on targeted regional efforts and cross-sectoral collaboration to foster real action toward rebuilding a more resilient, inclusive, and sustainable tourism industry.

The Mekong Tourism Forum 2022 took place at the Hoiana Resort and Golf (Hoiana), Quang Nam Province, Viet Nam, under the theme “Rebuild Tourism, Rebound with Resilience”. The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Viet Nam hosted the event in collaboration with the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO) and support of the Asian Development Bank. The Mekong Tourism Forum (MTF) was preceded by the 50th Meeting of the Greater Mekong Subregion Tourism Working Group and the MTCO Board Meeting.

The annual MTF aims to raise the profile of the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) as a unified tourist destination, provide an industry-wide platform for the public and private sectors to address sub-regional tourism issues, and expand marketing networks and opportunities for promoting the GMS while pooling collective resources to create intra- industry synergies.

The MTF 2022 was the region’s first in-person, government-led event since the pandemic began, marking a significant milestone in the recovery of tourism within GMS member countries. The interactive event served as a platform for tourism stakeholders and development partners to reconnect in person, exchange tourism recovery communications knowledge and experiences, and gather new GMS travel insights from industry experts.

In light of the gradual international tourism recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, the MTF 2022 focused on the theme “Rebuild Tourism, Rebound with Resilience”. The event brought together regional tourism leaders to rethink the rebuilding of GMS tourism by adopting resilience-based approaches and effectively leveraging technology to create a more sustainable and inclusive sector.

H.E. Mr. Nguyen Trung Khanh, Chairman of Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Viet Nam, gave an opening remark that urged public and private stakeholders to rethink and reshape the tourism industry towards a more sustainable, inclusive, and resilient future. Despite the positive trends underway in tourism recovery, the challenging economic environment created by high oil prices, inflation, and international supply chain disruptions has resulted in higher transport and accommodation costs for the tourism sector. This adds pressure to tourism businesses and traveler purchasing power, which could delay the sub-regional tourism recovery. H.E Nguyen Trung Khanh further encouraged tourism stakeholders of all sizes to leverage digital tools to support the resilience and sustainability of the sector and to boost the tourism industry’s capacity through reskilling and upskilling programs.

H.E Nguyen Trung Khanh commended the strong commitments of GMS NTOs to reinforce subregional efforts to foster cross-sectoral collaboration; strengthen engagement and support for micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs); and promote equal opportunities for local employment. His Excellency further emphasized the importance of capacity-building and knowledge-sharing programs to enhance the skills of tourism professionals, particularly in developing green, sustainable growth.

H.E Nguyen Trung Khanh recognized a series of initiatives carried out by the MTCO under the GMS Tourism Recovery Communication Plan. In addition to updating the MTCO website, these include the development of the monthly Mekong Tourism newsletter, the GMS Tourism Recovery Communication Toolkit and online seminar, and the #MekongPostcard campaign, which involved active participation from tourism stakeholders, influencers, and residents in the region. His Excellency also acknowledged the support provided by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

H.E. Tran Van Tan, Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of Quang Nam Province, delivered a welcome address and expressed his warmest gratitude to all delegates attending the MTF 2022, which was the first physical regional tourism event held in Quang Nam since 2020. This was a golden chance for Quang Nam to present its image as a destination and strengthen tourism linkages with GMS member countries and beyond. Mr. Tran Van Tan affirmed that Quang Nam is intensifying efforts to help the tourism sector recover due to its economic importance, as well as its social and environmental values. Quang Nam is also the host of the year’s biggest national tourism event, “Visit Vietnam Year 2022,” under the theme “A green tourism destination.” The province is committed to the sustainable growth of the tourism sector by leveraging technology to reduce negative impacts while promoting protection of the natural environment. Mr. Tran Van Tan further encouraged delegates to experience Quang Nam’s treasures, including the Hoi An Ancient Town, My Son Sanctuary, Cu Lao Cham World Biosphere Reserve, delicious local cuisine, spectacular beaches, and charming villages.

The keynote on “The Future of Tourism – Rethink Travel, Rethink Destination Marketing and Management” was given by Ms. Liz Ortiguera, CEO of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA). Ms. Ortiguera discussed the evolution of mega trends and their impact on travel dynamics in Asia and the Pacific, especially within the GMS, and how tourism stakeholders should adapt.

ADB’s Senior Sustainable Tourism Specialist, Mr. Wouterus Schalken, shared his perspective on “Sustainably Reviving Tourism – Mekong Reflections.” He highlighted the concerted policies, regulations, and investments needed to ensure tourism resilience and sustainability, emphasizing quality infrastructure, nature-based solutions, and industry-wide adoption of environmentally friendly operational practices and diversification.

The MTF 2022 featured three expert-led panel discussions. The first panel session on “Social Enterprises: A Purposeful and Powerful Tool for Sustainable Tourism Recovery, Development and Promotion” explored how social enterprises offer a promising business model for inclusive growth, environmental sustainability, and positive branding of destinations. The panelists discussed knowledge, skills, and resources required to enhance visibility, legitimacy, and legal frameworks to boost the competitiveness and leverage the power of social enterprises toward sustainable tourism recovery in the GMS.

The second panel, “New Ways of Connecting Sustainable Tourism Suppliers and Buyers,” examined new strategies to connect sustainable tourism suppliers and buyers with markets, financing, and nature. The panelists discussed financing instruments, partnership structures, and incentivizing mechanisms for both tourism suppliers and buyers to collaborate with each other, investors, and development partners for a resilient and sustainable future.

The final panel covered “Technology: Unlocking Green Tourism Opportunities,” in which the panelists shared best practices on leveraging digital tools to maximize the positive impacts of tourism on the environment and local communities. The panel discussion highlighted the challenges, solutions, and opportunities for tourism SMEs and MSMEs to better adopt technology and integrate into the booming digital economy.

Overall, the Mekong Tourism Forum 2022 concluded with success. Viet Nam wished to express sincere gratitude to GMS NTOs, MTCO, participants, and speakers, including representatives from PATA, ADB, Agoda, ASEANTA, Destination Mekong, Yaana Ventures, OAG, Exo Travel, JNE Group, Song Saa Collective, CBT Travel, Planeterra, Social Enterprise Thailand Association, Green Discovery Laos, Seeva Capital, Travelife, Clickable Impact, etc. More than 250 delegates participated in the MTF 2022, including both international and local participants.

The Kingdom of Cambodia will host the next MTF from 16-20 March 2023 in Preah Sihanouk province under the theme “Rethink for Resiliency and Digitalization” as we are embarking into a new age of traveling and living in the context of the new normal era of the post COVID-19 global pandemic, which are the dynamic region full of excitement, experience, resilience, and most importantly healthy safety measures to all passionate travelers. 2023 is Visit Cambodia Year in which we will also be the host of the 32nd SEA Games and 12th ASEAN Para Games in the spirit of “Sports Live In Peace”. Looking forward to welcome you all to Cambodia – Kingdom of Wonder- Feel the warmth (safe, clean and green).

About Mekong Tourism Forum
First held in 1996, the Mekong Tourism Forum is an annual government-led event dedicated to the tourism industry in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS). The event provides a cooperative platform for travel and tourism stakeholders to discuss regional tourism development, along with the marketing and promotion of travel to, from, and within the GMS. It presents an inclusive, interactive, and results-oriented opportunity to encourage public- and private-sector participation in promoting the GMS as a single destination.

Mekong Tourism Forum aims to:
– Raise the profile of the Greater Mekong Subregion as a single tourist destination,
– Provide an industry-wide platform for the public and private sectors to address sub-regional tourism issues,
– Expand marketing networks and opportunities for promoting the GMS and pool collective resources to create intra-industry synergies.

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) organized the first Mekong Tourism Forum in 1996 and led it for 10 consecutive years. In subsequent years, the private sector initiated similar events that shared the Forum’s vision and objectives. The Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO) revived the Forum in 2010 in Siem Reap, Cambodia with the theme of “New Roads, New Opportunities.” Since then, the GMS member countries have co-hosted this influential event with the MTCO annually on a rotating basis. Each event is designed to focus on a unique theme that addresses critical subregional tourism issues and sets future strategic directions.

Viet Nam’s Deputy Minister Outlines Tourism Priorities

Viet Nam's Deputy Minister Outlines Tourism Priorities - TRAVELINDEXHa Noi, Vietnam, October 5, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / Ahead of the Mekong Tourism Forum in Quang Nam, Central Viet Nam, 12-13 October, Mr Doan Van Viet, Viet Nam’s Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, outlines the vision and latest tourism priorities for his country

1. What are your targets for Viet Nam tourism in 2022?

In the last “normal” year, 2019, we attracted over 18 million foreign visitors. China, South Korea, Japan are traditionally our biggest markets. We have the ambitious target of attracting five million foreign tourists in 2022, up from almost zero in 2021, which was due to Covid-19. In the first eight months of 2022, we welcomed over 1.2 million international tourists. Besides the international market, Viet Nam’s tourism industry aim was to serve 60 million domestic tourists by the end of 2022. However, the number of domestic visitors has already exceeded the target, reaching 79.8 million visitors. Domestic tourism is forecast to fully recover in 2022.

2. Is there a new emphasis or focus in Viet Nam’s 2022-23 tourism promotion campaigns?

We completely re-opened the door for tourism from 15 March, 2022. Viet Nam is one of very few countries in the Asia-Pacific region opening to international tourism without any entry conditions required. We promote communication to attract international tourists to Viet Nam with the campaign “Live fully in Viet Nam”. The Viet Nam tourism marketing plan 2022 – 2023 is to bring an image of a safe, friendly and hospitable Viet Nam to the world. We are focussing on smart and sustainable tourism development followed by green and responsible travel.

3. What role does Quang Nam province play in Viet Nam’s tourism marketing plans?

It plays an increasingly important role as part of our tourism cluster strategy. Quang Nam together with Da Nang, Thua Thien Hue will be one of the clusters in Central Viet Nam. The national tourism year 2022 was chosen to be held in Quang Nam with the theme of ‘green destination’ because of its potential. It is already known as a visitor-friendly destination thanks to its natural resources and wonderful coastline. It offers a vibrant culinary scene, many cultural attractions, and a diverse history, especialy Hoi An ancient town. For tourists seeking a sustainable travel experience where you can learn as well as appreciate nature, Quang Nam is home to productive farms, handicraft villages, rivers, mountains, and unspoiled natural attractions.

4. Which new tourism-related infrastructure projects will improve the tourism sector in Viet Nam?

We have a lot going on, much of it guided by the Viet Nam Tourism Development Strategy to 2030. The strategy clearly defines our goal in developing modern and holistic infrastructure, especially transport infrastructure in tourism clusters, national tourist sites and areas with tourism potential. We are taking an inclusive approach to tourism infrastructure development, which focuses not only on international-class tourism destinations, such as Hoi An, Sapa, Ha Long, Da Nang, Nha Trang and Phu Quoc, but also on secondary tourism destinations, especially ones with potential to connect to regional tourism networks. Regarding Greater Mekong Subregion cooperation, for the last 20 years, Viet Nam has participated in four regional tourism infrastructure development projects sponsored by the Asian Development Bank, among which the latest is the Second GMS Tourism Infrastructure for Inclusive Growth Project. These projects were designed to improve the accessibility to secondary tourism destinations in provinces along GMS economic corridors as well as to enhance the environmnental conditions and urban infrastructure for tourism development.

5. What does Viet Nam Tourism hope will be the positive outcomes from the 2022 Mekong Tourism Forum?

There are three outcomes we would like. First, to strengthen linkages between the leaders of the sub-region’s tourism industry, with the aim of rapidly recovering the tourism industry in a sustainable, resilient and comprehensive way, to promote the sub-region’s tourism as a common destination. Second, to introduce the city of Hoi An, voted as one of the 25 best cities in the world; also, to introduce Quang Nam in Central Viet Nam as an ideal destination for green and sustainable tourism, rich in cultural values, full of amenities of a top-class beach resort. Third, the Forum demonstrates the recovery of the tourism industry, the return of sellers and buyers in the region, after a period of travel freeze. Our aim is to promote a rapid recovery of international tourism and create sustainable tourism supply and demand.

6. What message do you have for tourism leaders and delegates attending the Forum?

We should focus on practical goals that make the travel and tourism industry better for the benefit of our populations. My message is, “Let’s act together for sustainable tourism growth.” I hope all delegates arrive in a positive state of mind to listen, learn and return home motivated to “Rebuild Tourism, Rebound with Resilience” – the theme of the 2022 Mekong Tourism Forum.

About Mekong Tourism Forum
First held in 1996, the Mekong Tourism Forum is an annual government-led event dedicated to the tourism industry in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS). The event provides a cooperative platform for travel and tourism stakeholders to discuss regional tourism development, along with the marketing and promotion of travel to, from, and within the GMS. It presents an inclusive, interactive, and results-oriented opportunity to encourage public- and private-sector participation in promoting the GMS as a single destination. Visit: https://mekongtourismforum.org/about-mtf-2/