mekong tourismThe UK-based speaker Anna Pollock, Founder of Conscious.Travel, will keynote Mekong Tourism Forum 2017 (MTF 2017) “Prosper with Purpose”, with a speech entitled “Passion + Purpose = Prosperity”.

The recipient of a Visionary of the Year Award from the Canadian tourism industry, Ms Pollock has worked with the Canadian Tourism Commission, Pacific Asia Travel Association, European Travel Commission, European Cities, Tourism New Zealand, and consulted for numerous destinations and organizations, in addition to being a Visiting Fellow at Oxford Brookes University (UK) and an advisor to the Tourism Education Futures Initiative (TEFI).

Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO) Executive Director Jens Thraenhart said: “I could not imagine a more suitable person to address our tourism industry at MTF 2017 with the theme “Prosper with Purpose”.

Her current focus is on models of destination development that “generate higher yields with less impact”.

Ms Pollock said: “Up until a decade or so ago the purpose of business was never questioned -- It was simply to generate a profitable return for shareholders. In less than a decade, those core beliefs have shifted radically and smart tourism enterprises and destinations are tapping into a growing desire of guests to buy from, and employees to work for, companies that can communicate not just what they sell but what they stand for. By serving a purpose higher than the bottom line, they unleash the passion of their employees and satisfy their guests’ search for meaning and fulfillment.

“Destinations also have the opportunity to differentiate themselves by demonstrating how tourism genuinely benefits the broader host community.”

A passionate proponent of the concept of “residents inviting visitors”, Ms Pollock envisioned the emergence of a company such as AirBnB, and was invited to AirBnB’s summit in Paris a few years ago.

Mr Thraenhart said: “This is very much in line with the unique model of MTF 2017.”

Hosted by the Lao Ministry of Information, Culture, and Tourism, MTF 2017 will be co-hosted by 16 small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in and around the UNESCO Heritage town of Luang Prabang.

The 16 SMEs will provide venues for a series of “breakthrough” sessions on the afternoons of June 7 & 8.

Mr Thraenhart said: “This year’s MTF will be the most inclusive ever and we hope that by matching sessions with venues and showcasing the destination will make the event collaborative and engaging.”

Ms Pollock’s will deliver her keynote presentation, “Passion + Purpose = Prosperity”, at 10:30 on June 8 at Luang Prabang’s Central Bank building.

Please check for the latest program updates, and register early as capacity is limited for the 16 breakthrough sessions.