GMS Countries Roll Out Various Smart Tourism and Digital Initiatives

The Viet - Smart Tourist Card. Photo by Viet Nam Tourism website

The Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Economic Cooperation Program Strategic Framework 2030 (GMS-2030) emphasizes new possibilities opened by digitalization. At the recently held 51st GMS Tourism Working Group Meeting (TWG-51), GMS countries highlighted various digital initiatives they are implementing, which are helping boost their tourism markets and improve visitor management.

  • Cambodia's Ministry of Tourism launched the digital campaign, "Every Day is a Wonder," via a website to promote the country as a destination for international leisurely travel
  • The People's Republic of China (PRC) launched various apps and applets, including
    • Yunnan at Your Fingertips, which provides English service for inbound tourists and various information covering the whole trip, such as 682 scenic spots and 129 bus stations
    • China-Laos Railway Tour (applet)
    • Traveling in Northeast Thailand (applet).
  • Lao PDR’s Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism (MICT) launched several smart tourism and digital initiatives with the private sector, including
    • 8booking, a tourism platform with a reservation system
    • Laos-China Railway (LCR) application, a mobile phone ticketing app for the Lao PDR-PRC railway
    • Audio Tour for Buddha Park, available in eight languages
    • Lao Bus Navi, a Vientiane bus tracking system for real time bus schedules
    • Online submission for application of licenses for tourism businesses.
  • Myanmar is marketing its tourism on major social media channels and websites.
  • Thailand's smart tourism and digital initiatives include
    • The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)'s Digital Action Plan 2023-2027
    • e-Learning for tourism businesses focusing on increasing their marketing skills
    • Thailand Connex, a platform connecting tourism operators with online travel agencies (OTAs) of Thai startups and OTAs operating around the world
    • Carbon footprint database for hotels and accommodations project
    • Thailand Tourism Directory, provides tourism information available in Thai, English, and Chinese
    • Tourism Intelligence Center, collects information related to tourism sector from government agencies and private sector, and uses the information for data management planning and creating the country’s tourism development policy.
  • Viet Nam is developing digital communication channels on social media and websites for promotion, including
    • Viet Nam tourism website
    • Smart Travel Card, a project between Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism and the Department of e-Commerce, and Digital Economy, and the Ministry of Industry and Trade, which enables tourists to make non-cash payments for tourism activities.


GMS-2030 promotes inclusive digitalization and the use of advanced technologies in all GMS Program activities and projects. With COVID-19 acting as a catalyst in the digital transformation of GMS countries, digital readiness to date has successfully played a crucial role in some GMS countries in efforts to contain the virus. It has also provided some countries the potential to maintain a relatively open economy during the pandemic. Download the GMS Digital Economy Cooperation Initiative publication.

TWG-51, held on 25 April 2023 in Preah Sihanouk, Cambodia, shared updates from GMS countries, including key 2020-2022 tourism statistics (international and domestic visitors, tourism spending and employment); tourism visa/entry policy updates, and prioritized markets in 2023; smart tourism/digital initiatives to improve tourism management and marketing; and GMS tourism cooperation activities. Read the Summary of Proceedings.


Last Updated: 4 July 2023