Greater Mekong Subregion Tourism Sector Strategy 2016-2025 (Final Draft)

The Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS)—comprising Cambodia, Yunnan Province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in the People’s Republic of China, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam—is one of the world’s most dynamic tourist destinations. However, high tourism intensity can undermine inclusive economic growth, degrade the environment, and diminish interactions between visitors and hosts. To address these challenges, GMS national tourism organizations and the GMS Tourism Working Group have increased efforts to promote more competitive, balanced, and sustainable tourism development.

The draft GMS Tourism Sector Strategy (2016–2025) sets out five strategic directions.

  • Develop human resources. This involves implementing regional skills standards, capacity building for public officials, and strengthening tourism enterprise support services.
  • Improve tourism infrastructure. Expand and modernize climate-resilient urban infrastructure and services, air transport infrastructure, railways, roads, and ports to provide safe, convenient access to tourist attractions.
  • Enhance visitor experiences and services. This includes integrated thematic and spatial planning, continued efforts to develop thematic multicountry tour itineraries and experiences, scaling up common tourism standards implementation, guide training, and initiatives to facilitate tourism investment in secondary destinations.
  • Conduct creative marketing and promotion activites. This involves promoting multicountry experiences and events, positioning the subregion as a must-visit destination in Asia, strengthening public-private marketing arrangements, market research and data exchange, and promoting tourism awareness and sustainability.
  • Facilitate regional travel. This entails supporting the implementation of air service agreements, addressing tourist policy gaps, and improving border facilities and management.

This final draft was prepared by the Greater Mekong Subregion Tourism Working Group with the support of Asian Development Bank Technical Assistance 9090-REG. Significant inputs were provided by the Ministry of Tourism, Cambodia; [People’s Republic of] China National Tourism Administration; Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, Lao People’s Democratic Republic; Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, Myanmar; Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Thailand; Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Viet Nam; and the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office.