The ambition is to become THE Reference E-Guide to responsible tourism in the Mekong region, with a new design, a coverage of the 6 Mekong countries – Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and China with the provinces of Guangxi and Yunnan- and technical optimization designed for successful referencing by search engines.
The original printed version ‘The Guide to Responsible Tourism in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam’ was funded by the Cambodian Ministry of Tourism, the Lao National Tourism Administration and the Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism, with loans from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) as part of a MTDP initiative to support sub-regional cooperation for sustainable tourism.
The Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO) was charged with its distribution and promotion. Some 5,000 copies were distributed, proving the demand for such information, but then as for most of these projects they end up with funding, somehow a waste of time, money, energy and most of it a loss of good information.
In 2009, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) ASEAN Competitiveness Enhancement Project (ACE), supported the development of an online version that was hosted under the www.mekongtourism.org and www.exploremekong.org websites. But that was still insufficient as it was located on a sub site (so not having any chance to be found through a browser search by travellers) and was just a copy of the book posted online without the required dynamics for an active website.
In 2011, thanks to some funds secured by the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and using her own personal allowance, the Development Project Coordinator for MTCO engaged in expanding the guide book to feature all six countries of the Mekong sub-region and develop a full domain name website, designed with an optimised referencing by search engines in mind and, following a specific selection process.
It retains the essence of the former version using the same benchmark for selection, the “Cape Town Declaration”(2002) on responsible tourism principles, and the same presentation, but developed this time a thorough and scrupulous selection process.
In August 2011 French cooperation was terminated. As there was then little chance anyone keep maintaining the website and as domain name was owned (as had to be purchased by credit card) by Christine, she offered to keep maintaining the website. This was done pro-bono despite her request for basic support covering only maintenance and domain name costs. It was since as well offered as well to remain linked to Mekong tourism as that was key and only available content promoting the destination while keeping the original goal of showcasing SME’s making efforts to be responsible.
Each write-up is divided into two paragraphs: “What to experience” or “What to buy” describing the services available, and “How does it help?” describing (from the host’s point of view) how the featured organisation contributes to improve local communities’ lives, natural and cultural heritage conservation.
The French version of most content allow French-speaking travellers to the Greater Mekong sub-region, one of its major markets for this type of travel, to also have full online access to useful information on responsible tourism.
Mobile devices applications remain to be developed so your e-guide can follow you anywhere, any time, using the latest technology. Every page has a printable and a PDF version.
We welcome new partner who would wish to support the translation of the site into Thai, Japanese and Korean, as increasingly, Asian tourists are also in search of alternative forms of holiday, meaningful travels that benefit the communities visited, and contribute to the protection of the world’s rich biodiversity.
We are confident this comprehensive project will truly expand the potential readership and the geographical coverage of its valuable content, thus benefiting the destinations and their local communities. You can make a difference too by spreading the word. Thank you.
You are welcome to submit comments and contributions for the benefit of both tourism operators and fellow travellers. Email: email@example.com