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Mekong Tourism Forum 2014 announced
Reinhard Hohler, Chiang Mai (17.04.2014)
According to media news from Bangkok (TTR), the annual Mekong Tourism Forum (MTF) will be held in Myanmar's Mandalay on June 11-12, 2014. Also, Mr. Mason Florence, Executive Director of the Mekong Tourism Co-ordinating Office (MTCO), revealed that the international organization UNWTO is sponsoring the second day of the event providing speakers to present some cultural heritage case studies.

Mandalay is known as the last royal capital of Myanmar and was founded by King Mindon in 1857. Today the sprawling city is still the cultural heart of the country, where the most refined arts, crafts, traditions of dance, music and drama live on.

Actually, Mandalay is situated on the eastern bank of the Ayeyarwady River in Central Myanmar some 700km north of Yangon and is linked by rail, road and air to other parts of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar.

There are 7 domestic airlines operating daily between Yangon and Mandalay International Airport. China Eastern Airline connects Mandalay to Kunming in China's Yunnan Province, while AirAsia flies from Bangkok to Mandalay. A flight by Asian Wings even connects it to Chiang Mai in Thailand.

One of the highlights to visit in Mandalay is the Royal Palace with its 12 gates and 4 bridges spanning a moat and leading to the 4 main gates. The whole inner palace complex was tragically destroyed by fire during the Second World War, but has now been reconstructed and is a fine example of traditional Myanmar wooden architecture.

Another highlight is the visit of the most sacred Mahamuni Buddha image cast in bronze, which originated in Rakhaing and brought to Amarapura south to Mandalay by King Bodawpaya in 1785.

For shopping, Mandalay features the centrally located Zegyo Market, a busy place for souvenirs and a myriad of local products.  

As the event will be hosted at Mandalay Hill Resort, the expected 200 participants will have the opportunity to climb up the 230m high Mandalay Hill to enjoy a panoramic view of the city, especially during sunrise or sunset.  

On the sidelines of the event, the Mekong Tourism Working Group made up of government representatives of the six member countries that fund the MTCO office in Bangkok will have a meeting. A boot camp to assist travel companies, hotels, resorts and guesthouses that need to improve their online profile will be held on June 10.

The annual Mekong Tourism Forum dates back to 1996 when it was organized in Thailand's Pattaya for the six member countries, namely Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Viet Nam, Thailand and China's Yunnan Province.

MTF 2013 was successfully held in Guilin in Guangxi, China, on June 19-20 under the theme of “The Rise of the Chinese Traveler: Optimizing the Impacts for the GMS.”

MTF 2014 in Mandalay will hopefully be another landmark event within the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS).

For further information, please contact GMS Media Travel Consultant Reinhard Hohler by e-mail:

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