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Randy Durband, GSTC CEO, led two workshops on «Responsible Tourism» at the Mekong Tourism Forum 2017, Luang Prabang, Laos, on 6-9 June 2017.

The Mekong Tourism Forum provides a cooperative platform for public and private sector stakeholders in the tourism industry to discuss the development, marketing and promotion of travel to, from and within the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), and monitor sustainable and responsible tourism growth.

Hosted by the Lao Ministry of Information, Culture, and Tourism (MICT) in UNESCO World Heritage Town Luang Prabang, the Mekong Tourism Forum 2017 (MTF17) is free of charge for all tourism professionals, and will feature inspiring keynotes, and eight topical tracks with two sessions each in experiential venues all around Luang Prabang.

The Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO) has revived the forum in 2010 taking place in Siem Reap, Cambodia, with the theme of “New Roads, New Opportunities”. Followed by MTF2011 “Destination Mekong: The Making of a Star” in Pakse, Laos, MTF2012 in Chiang Rai, Thailand with the theme of “20/20 Vision: Building on Two Decades of GMS Cooperation”, MTF2013 in Guilin, China with the theme «The Rise of the Chinese traveller: Optimizing the impacts for the GMS”, MTF2014 in Mandalay, Myanmar with the theme “Tourism investment for the protection of Heritage and Culture”, MTF2015 in Da Nang, Viet Nam with the theme “Unlocking the GMS via Innovative Partnerships”, and MTF 2016 in Sihanoukville, Cambodia with the theme “Authentic Experiences along the Mekong River.”

The Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO) is administered out of the offices of the Department of Tourism of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports of Thailand, based in Bangkok, and was established with funding from the six governments of Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Thailand, which represent the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS). A common goal of both of public and private sectors in all countries is to create sustainable tourism profit. This is achieved optimally by increasing inbound tourism yield, by developing quality products that tourists are willing to buy, and inciting longer stays with enhanced motivation to revisit.