New progammes support tourism startups in Mekong region
Update: Mar 10, 2017
The Mekong Innovative Start-up Tourism (MIST) on March 9 announced two incubation programmes to support innovative firms in tourism in Viet Nam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.

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

Representatives of selected start-up projects will attend a camp where they will develop their business ideas. The best projects of each country will receive MIST awards worth from US$7,000 to US$10,000.

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 an information-gathering tour to Mekong River countries to study the market, while being introduced to service providing networks of relevant agencies.

Last year, Viet Nam welcomed more than 10 million foreign visitors. However, Huynh Kim Tuoc, Executive Director of the Saigon Innovation Hub, pointed out that Viet Nam’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 need to promote the advantages of Vietnamese tourism as well as the preservation of the sector’s unique characteristics.

According to the organising board, the two programmes will accept applications until March 27, 2017. The project owners will have the 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 Viet Nam.

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