The Pacific Tourism Organization (SPTO) and Destination Mekong have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to foster a collaborative partnership that will benefit both organizations and their stakeholders.
With their extensive membership of the greater Mekong sub- region (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam, as well as Southwestern Chinese provinces of Yunnan and Guanxi) and 20 Pacific Island countries (PICs), spanning all four sub-regions, SPTO and Destination Mekong represent world-class tourism destinations that will benefit from information sharing and best- practice experiences under the MoU.
A key objective of the partnership is to accelerate sustainable and inclusive tourism growth post- pandemic, so as to ensure that tourism’s benefits are equitably distributed to all stakeholders whilst also enhancing sustainable tourism development practices in the destinations.
Speaking at the MoU announcement at the virtual Mekong World Tourism Day Forum, Destination Mekong founder and outgoing Executive Director of the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office, Mr. Jens Thraenhart, noted the importance of innovative collaboration during this time.
“The MoU with SPTO signals an important step in a partnership agreement between two major regional tourism organizations, in a time when collaboration and sharing of knowledge is more important than ever, to practically assist our business communities prepare for a balanced tourism eco-system”, he said.
Similarly, SPTO Chief Executive, Mr. Christopher Cocker, emphasized the importance of building partnerships to effectively address common challenges.
“We are very excited to work with Destination Mekong to bring together our resources and experiences for the benefit of our respective member countries. We recognize that some Destination Mekong members are well established tourism destinations and will have valuable lessons to share with SPTO and our members”.
“Moreover, with diverse stakeholders and rapidly changing trends threats regional tourism is becoming more and more complex. Therefore, collaboration with like- minded partners is critical for regional tourism organisations, particularly against the backdrop of the pandemic. Innovation and collaboration will drive tourism’s recovery and ensure resilience in the long run”, said Mr. Cocker.
SPTO and Destination Mekong intend to host a virtual mini tourism forum towards the end of 2021, with details to be announced in due course.
Established in 1983 as the Tourism Council of the South Pacific, the Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) is the mandated organisation representing Tourism in the region. Its 21 Government members are American Samoa, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Marshall Islands, New Caledonia, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Rapa Nui, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu Wallis & Futuna and the People’s Republic of China. In addition to government members, the Pacific Tourism Organisation also enlists a private sector membership base. SPTO’s mission is to ensure sustainable tourism development through innovative partnerships. The vision of the organisation is, “Our Pacific Islands’ empowered and benefitting from sustainable tourism”.
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Destination Mekong (DM) is the regional destination marketing organization and is owned and funded by the private sector of the travel and tourism industry in the six countries of the Greater Mekong Subregion. DM initiates, develops, and operates various programs and initiatives aligned to the strategic framework of the regional Mekong Tourism collaboration, published by the six-member tourism ministries via its secretariat, the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office.
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