Bangkok, 2 October 2019 – The Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO) has announced that 10 innovative startups from across the Mekong Region will compete in the Mekong Innovative Startups in Tourism (MIST) competition on 9 October 2019. This year, MIST will be held in Bangkok together with the new Travel Startups Asia Forum.
Now in its third year with hundreds of alumni, MIST is jointly managed by the MTCO and Mekong Business Initiative (MBI). MBI and MIST are supported by the Australian Government and Asian Development Bank. This year, the Tourism Authority of Thailand and Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) are also partnering to support the program.
MIST was set up to help integrate Greater Mekong Subregion travel startups into the global travel and tourism ecosystem, promote innovation, and help local firms thrive in the globally competitive tourism industry.
Mr. Dominic Mellor, head of MBI and ADB Ventures, said, “As one of the first travel startup programs created by a regional tourism board, MIST has attracted nearly 500 applications and generated millions of social shares in the first three years. It has elevated the status and prestige of tourism entrepreneurship across the region.”
Added MTCO Executive Director, Mr. Jens Thraenhart, “Recognizing both travel tech ventures and social impact enterprises, MIST is well-positioned to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals, encourage inclusive and responsible tourism development, and promote gender equity in the Mekong Region.”
MIST finalists represent two categories, Travel Tech Ventures and Social Impact Enterprises, with finalists coming from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.
Finalists in the Travel Tech Ventures category are Ticket 2 Asia (https://hello.last2ticket.com/asia) from Cambodia, Loca (https://www.loca.la) from Lao PDR, Get Ride (https://ride.get.com.mm) from Myanmar, Golf Digg (https://www.golfdigg.com) from Thailand, and Go Eat Me (https://www.goeat.me) from Vietnam.
Finalists in in the Social Impact Enterprises category are Rotanak (https://rotanak.co/) from Cambodia, Buffalo Dairy (http://www.laosbuffalodairy.com) from Lao PDR, Living Irrawaddy Dolphins (https://burmadolphins.com) from Myanmar, Find Folk (https://findfolk.com), Spa Noir (http://www.journeyofthesenses.vn) from Vietnam.
The 10 finalists will visit the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) headquarters on 8 October, to network with tourism industry leaders, potential investors, and mentors. On the following day, they will present their final pitch at the creative space Quaint Brasserie Bangkok.
The final pitch competition is held as part of the Travel Startups Asia Forum with more than 25 speakers including the keynote speaker, Senator H.E. Mr. Weerasak Kowsurat, former Minister of Tourism and Sports, and closing keynote by Mr. Patee Sarasin, the founder of Nok Air. Other speakers include MIST alumni – Take Me Tour and Local Alike (Thailand), I Love Asia Tour (Vietnam), Book Me Bus (Cambodia) and last year’s winner Bamboo Lao (Lao PDR) – and founders of 12 Go Asia, Cookly, and Tineri.