mekong tourismThe half day Mekong Tourism Investment Summit returns after last year’s big success to be staged during the 2016 Mekong Tourism Forum in Sihanoukville, Cambodia from July 5 to 7.

Dr. Watcharas Leelawath, Executive Director of the Mekong Institute will give an overview of the investment climate in the GMS, followed by separate panels on infrastructure, aviation, and hotel development. The infrastructure panel will be led by Dr Leelawath, and will have representatives from the GMS member countries, including Mr. Inthy Deuansavan (CEO, Green discovery - Laos), Mr. Thourn Sinan (CEO, B2B Travel - Cambodia), Mr. Luzi Matzig (CEO, Asian Trails, Thailand). Issues to be discussed will include visa regulations; border crossing changes, airport developments, and new policies and incentives for the tourism sector.

The aviation panel, moderated by long-time GMS expert Mr. Don Ross, Managing Director of TTR Weekly will focus on air access in the region to develop secondary destinations. Currently, airlines are represented by Ms. Desiree Bandall from Air Asia, Mr. Peter Wiesner from Bangkok Airways, and Captain Woranate Laprabang from Thai Smile.

The hotel investment panel, moderated by Paola Ornelli-Bock, Vice President at HVS, will have a Cambodia focus, and will discuss investment opportunities and challenges for investors, operators, and brands in the region. The panel will feature will feature Mr. Rory Hunter of Song Saa Island, and Mr. Sokun Chanpreda of Shinta Mani, two of the most recognized properties in Camabodia. Brands will include Mr. John Kaplan of Minor Group and Mr. Vishal Daga of Six Senses Resorts & Spas.

The previous day, the River Cruise panel, moderated by Mr. Peter Semone, the author of the UNWTO Mekong River-based Product Development Report, released this year, will include Mr. John Boyd of Pandaw Cruises, and Mr. Maarten Perdok of Heritage Line.

Mr. Randy Durband, CEO of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council and Mr. Eric Ricaurte, CEO of Greenview will address the delegates respectively by aligning investment and development to sustainable practices to promote authentic experiences.

This year, the Mekong Tourism Investment Summit is produced in collaboration with the Global Tourism Economy Forum (Macau, PR China), and HVS.

The 2016 Mekong Tourism Forum will be hosted by the Cambodia Ministry of Tourism (MoT) at the Sokha Beach Resort Sihanoukville on the beautiful Southern Coast of Cambodia from July 5 to July 7. More information, and the most updated agenda, is accessible at As always, MTF strives to be as sustainable an event as possible, and is looking to move from printed brochures to a mobile app; please follow the app download link from the website.

In order to make it easy for even small- and medium-sized businesses to stay engaged, for the third time in a row, the 2016 Mekong Tourism Forum is free to attend for the first 150 qualified industry professionals, sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism of Cambodia.

Please be sure to register online at to secure one of the 150 free seats.