Tourism Startups To Be Boosted By New Regional Platform

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A tourist spot along the Mekong rover in Laos. Tourism entrepreneurs in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam will gain expertise and experience from the new MIST platform launching next month.

A new platform called the Mekong Innovative Startup Tourism (MIST), aimed at developing tourism sector startups across the CLMV region (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam), will be launched next month by the Mekong Business Initiative (MBI), an Asian Development Bank program and funded by the Australian government.

According to MBI country manager for Cambodia Ros Khemara, the MIST platform will look to boost private-sector-led innovation with an initial budget of $200,000. “We will start by identifying the challenges and the product opportunities in those tourism markets. After we’ve identified the challenges, we will call out to innovators to help come up with a solution to those challenges or to come up with a new product to capture the market potential,” said Khemara.

The MIST project will run for roughly six months and culminate in an event in Luang Prabang. “We will work directly with local entrepreneur associations to find people whose ideas address those challenges that we have identified,” added Khemara. “We will incubate 10 of them in each market and then we will select the top three or four from those markets to attend the competition to compete for prize money and expose their products to investors.”

As well as offering the potential of finding funding for projects, the MBI platform will also help local tourism entrepreneurs gain expertise and experience, and provide a platform for existing tourism ventures to learn from and adopt profitable businesses strategies with regional track records.

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