Cambodia to Host Mekong Tourism Forum 2023

Cambodia will host Mekong Tourism Forum 2023 in Sihanoukville in March, throwing the regional spotlight on the Kingdom’s tourism offerings
Delegates attend MTF in Vietnam. Kiripost/Marissa Carruthers
Delegates attend MTF in Vietnam. Kiripost/Marissa Carruthers

Cambodia will host the next Mekong Tourism Forum (MTF) after the baton was handed over from this year’s host, Vietnam.

MTF 2022 was held in Quang Nam province from October 12 to 13, focusing on the theme of “Rebuild Tourism, Rebound with Resilience”. It is the first in-person event bringing together public and private sector tourism leaders and experts from across the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) since the outbreak of Covid-19.

More than 250 delegates from across the globe, including attendees from Cambodia’s Ministry of Tourism, attended the two-day event, which aims to build a more resilient, inclusive, and sustainable tourism sector.

A group of regional and international media, including Kiripost, also attended the forum as part of a press trip to introduce them to Quang Nam province’s tourism delights. A move that will be replicated when Cambodia hosts MTF 2023 to lure more international visitors to the Kingdom.

Media visit a village belonging to Cotu mountain people in Quang Nam province as part of a press trip that will be replicated in Cambodia next year. Kiripost/supplied
Media visit a village belonging to Cotu mountain people in Quang Nam province as part of a press trip that will be replicated in Cambodia next year. Kiripost/supplied

Speaking at the opening of the event, Nguyen Trung Khanh, Chairman of Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, urged public and private stakeholders to rethink and reshape the tourism industry to steer it towards a more sustainable, inclusive and resilient future.

He added, “There have been positive trends in tourism recovery, but we still face a challenging economic environment created by high oil prices, inflation and international supply chain disruptions. This has resulted in higher transport and accommodation costs for the tourism sector.”

He said this adds pressure to tourism businesses and traveller purchasing power. These factors could lead to a delay in sub-regional tourism recovery.

At the closing of the forum, it was announced that Cambodia will host MTF 2023, from March 16 to 20 in Sihanoukville province. This will be held under the theme of “Rethink for Resiliency and Digitalisation”. The aim of the theme is to encourage the region’s tourism players to embark on a new age of travel in the “new post-Covid-19 normal”.

Cambodia’s hosting of the forum coincides with Visit Cambodia Year. The year 2023 will also see Cambodia host the 32nd SEA Games and 12th ASEAN Para Games in the spirit of "Sports Love in Peace".

MTF launched in 1996 and is an annual government-led event that throws the spotlight on the GMS. It provides a platform for travel and tourism stakeholders to discuss regional tourism development, as well as the marketing and promotion of travel to, from, and within the GMS.