The six countries bordering the Mekong River are to combine resources for the first time to promote cross-border tourism along the length of Asia’s greatest water source.
The Mekong flows through China, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar (Burma).
Speaking in Hanoi at the ASEAN Tourism Forum, Mason Florence – chief executive of the new Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office – said: “The greater Mekong is a golden piece of tourism real estate. Tourists can visit multiple countries on a single trip.”
The office has launched an Explore Mekong campaign, with a consumer website at exploremekong.org.
Currently, half the 20 million visitors a year to the Mekong go to Thailand.
The coordinating office aims to drive annual visitor numbers to 30 million by 2010 and 50 million by 2015 – expecting 30 million of these to visit Thailand.