Greater Mekong Subregion prioritises sustainable tourism

In order to secure a solid tourism rebound and stimulate the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) economy at the same time, developing a sustainable tourism sector is crucial.

Catherine Germier-Hamel, chief executive of Destination Mekong (DM), said in the wake of the pandemic, the organisation is focused on promoting a more sustainable way of assessing, measuring and monitoring the success of tourism destinations, experiences and practices.

Germier-Hamel: spread positive impacts around

Germier-Hamel shared: “It is true that communities need economic security and viability, but they also need social, cultural, and environmental sustainability. All positive impacts from tourism need to be better distributed all throughout the region.”

As a membership organisation, DM goes beyond national tourism bodies to offer innovative thematic and interest-based focus. As the region builds back after the pandemic, the marketing organisation also plays a crucial role in promoting the region on domestic, inter-regional and international levels.

“As the core purpose of DM is to champion sustainable and inclusive tourism in the region, we represent and coordinate with the private sector to generate value, impact, and opportunities for all, keeping in mind the well-being of local communities,” she added.

To help push tourism rebound within the GMS, DM is curating a raft of programmes that benefit micro and small tourism businesses in particular, as these businesses are the ones that form the backbone of the industry.

Germier-Hamel told TTGmice: “Through our bottom-up approach, we intend to provide smaller suppliers with supportive networks and collaborative frameworks in order to strengthen their independence and resilience, since they usually do not need large national programmes and schemes to thrive.”

In addition, DM is helping to build resilience within the tourism industry by promoting cooperation that benefits not only its members, but also micro-businesses, SMEs and social enterprises.

“We hope that larger organisations internationally, as well as development agencies, can see the potential we have to foster sustainable and inclusive growth in the region and leverage the transformative power of tourism both for residents and visitors,” noted Germier-Hamel.

Another element key to a strong tourism rebound is through collaboration with the private sector.

“We believe there is a very large potential to strengthen the region, if all efforts are coordinated and steered in the same direction and leveraged through concerted action.”

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