Battle of the best: 2019 Mekong innovative start-ups in tourism finalists announced

The Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office has announced that 10 innovative start-ups from across the Mekong Region will compete in the Mekong Innovative Start-ups in Tourism (MIST) competition on 9 October 2019. This year, MIST will be held in Bangkok together with the new Travel Start-ups Asia Forum. MIST finalists represent two categories: travel tech ventures and social impact enterprises.

Now in its third year with hundreds of alumni, MIST is jointly managed by the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office and Mekong Business Initiative (MBI).  MBI and MIST are supported by the Australian government and Asian Development Bank (ADB). This year, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) are also partnering to support the programme.

Dominic Mellor, head of MBI and ADB Ventures said: “As one of the first travel start-up programmes 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.”

Jens Thraenhart, executive director of the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office added: “Recognising 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.”

On 8 October MIST finalists are invited to the PATA headquarters to network with tourism industry leaders, potential investors, and mentors. On 9 October, the MIST 2019 final pitch competition will be held at the creative space Quaint Brasserie Bangkok as part of the Travel Startups Asia Forum.

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