New progammes support tourism startups in Mekong region

Nga Do
The Mekong Innovative Startup Tourism (MIST) on March 9 announced two incubation programmes to support innovative firms in tourism in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.

The tourism startup incubator programme will accept business ideas in tourism technology forms as well as traditional models of startup businesses in the first stage.

Representatives of selected startup projects will attend a camp where they develop their business ideas. Best projects of each country will receive MIST awards worth from 7,000 USD to 10,000 USD.

Meanwhile, the market access incubator programme is a chance for larger-scaled travel firms which are in need of support to access the regional market. Selected project owners will join a fact-finding tour to Mekong River countries to study the market, while being introduced to service providing networks of relevant agencies.

Last year, Vietnam welcomed more than 10 million foreign visitors. However, Huynh Kim Tuoc, Executive Director of the Saigon Innovation Hub, pointed out that Vietnam’s tourism products remain poor, which should be reformed and diversified to attract more tourists.

He also underlined the significance of regional connectivity in boosting tourism growth, while suggesting the promotion of advantages of Vietnamese tourism as well as the preservation of the sector’s unique characteristics.

According to the organising board, the two programmes will receive applications until March 27, 2017. The project owners will have a chance to present their ideas in front of investors and incubators as well as tourism leaders at the Mekong Tourism Forum in June 2017 in Laos and the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in November in Vietnam.

The MIST is a joint initiative of the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office and the Mekong Business Initiative.

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