A 24/7 automatic dispensing machine provides free rice for people out of work following the lockdown. This was spearheaded by a Vietnamese entrepreneur in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by Reuters on Twitter.

Initiative Gathers Mekong Innovations Spurred by the COVID-19 Pandemic

An initiative by the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO), Destination Mekong, and the Mekong Institute (MI) taps individuals' help in crowdsourcing newly-spotted innovations on how the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is being managed and/or overcome in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS).

GMS in the News

Scenes of healthcare workers at Thailand Bamrasnaradura Infectious Disease Institute, Ministry of Public Health. Photo: UN Women/ Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Greater Mekong Subregion Senior Officials Convene Meeting on COVID-19 Response

Senior officials of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) met to discuss responses to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the GMS, focusing on regional approaches to promote recovery and resilience. The meeting was held via videoconferencing on 2 June 2020, with participation from all GMS countries and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).  

Events

Photo: Rajesh_India/ Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Travel Bubbles Proposed to Kickstart Tourism in the Region

‘Travel bubbles’ are being considered by Southeast Asian countries, including Myanmar and Thailand, as a means to safely resume travel activities. Members of the Mekong Tourism Advisory Group recommended creating travel bubbles to kickstart regional tourism in the absence of a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine in their meeting in May.

GMS in the News

Motorcycle tires being manufactured inside the Camel Rubber Vietnam Co. Ltd factory at the Lao Bao Commercial Area in Huong Hoa District, Quang Tri, Viet Nam. The tires produced by the company are sold locally and are also exported to Lao PDR, Cambodia, Thailand, European and South American countries, as well as to other countries in the ASEAN region. Photo by the Asian Development Bank.

ADB Promotes Trade and Cross-border Investment between SMEs in the GMS and India

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved a $3,000,000 technical assistance to support the implementation of initiatives to accelerate trade and cross-border investment between small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) of Cambodia, Thailand, Viet Nam—member countries of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) program—and India. This ADB-administered technical assistance is financed by the United Kingdom Fund for Asia Regional Trade and Connectivity under the Regional Cooperation and Integration Financing Partnership Facility.

Projects

Bagan, Myanmar. Photo: Piktour UK via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Myanmar Releases Strategic Roadmap for Tourism Recovery

The Government of Myanmar released a Strategic Roadmap for Tourism Recovery that aims to establish ‘new normal’ conditions to help tourism make  a comeback.  

Mr. Ohn Maung, Union Minister of Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, provided guidelines for implementation of the plan. It includes three phases:  

Survival 

GMS in the News

Border gate between Lao PDR and Viet Nam in Lao Bao (ADB Photo)

Lao PDR, Viet Nam Plan to Open New International Borders

Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) and Viet Nam plan to upgrade two local border crossing points to international border crossings this year. The plan was announced during the 29th annual border meeting of the two neighboring countries on 26 December 2019 in Ha Noi, Viet Nam. 

The Dak Ta-Ok (Lao PDR)–Nam Giang (Viet Nam) between Xekong (Lao PDR) and Quang Nam (Viet Nam) provinces will be the first international crossing point in Xekong. The neighboring countries plan to open this upgraded international border crossing in the first quarter of 2020.

GMS in the News

Sunrise over Bangkok, Thailand. Photo: Roberto Trombetta

PACER Dialogue Tackles Tourism Recovery from the COVID-19 Outbreak

As countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion slowly move toward the ‘new normal,’ they are also enacting phased approaches to implement tourism recovery. The challenge for the subregion’s travel and tourism sector is to manage and mitigate the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), and build back a more sustainable, inclusive, and resilient tourism sector.

GMS in the News

Lao PDR and Myanmar to Work on a New Cooperation Master Plan

The Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) and Myanmar will explore opportunities to enhance tourism cooperation through bilateral and multilateral frameworks. This was agreed by the two countries at the 12th Meeting of Myanmar-Laos Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation held in Vientiane, Lao PDR on 6 March 2020. 

Lao PDR and Myanmar aim to create a new cooperation master plan. Tourism could help promote each other’s rich culture and heritage and bring their people together.  

News

LocalFarm enables farmers and gardeners who had relied on tourism for their incomes to market seasonal fruits, vegetables, salads, and processed fruits directly to consumers. Photo courtesy of TakeMeTour via ADB.

ADB Ventures Backs LocalFarm to Help Thai Tourism Endure Downturn

The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) impact investment platform, ADB Ventures, has teamed with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) to support technology startup TakeMeTour to develop the LocalFarm online platform and help mitigate the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic on Thailand’s tourism sector.

GMS in the News

Cambodia Plans Improvement of Thailand and Viet Nam Border Gate Facilities

A press release from the Royal Government of Cambodia’s Ministry of Economy and Finance announced plans to improve facilities at border gates with Thailand and Viet Nam.   

Cambodia’s border crossing points with Thailand and Vietnam are crowded with traffic of cross-border transport and tourists. The country wants to develop the necessary infrastructure to manage this traffic flow to ease cross-border transport and boost trade activities.

The Economic and Financial Policy Committee, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Aun Pornmoniroth, approved the proposal. 

News