To increase their understanding of tourism development and cultures in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS), students from Khon Kaen University International College (KKUIC), led by Ms. Chonlada Pharino, a lecturer in Tourism Management Program, visited Mekong Institute (MI) on January 7th, 2014. 

Mekong Institute (MI) contributes to the GMS human resource development through training, learning, and sharing its expertise on different issues, including those related to tourism and cultures in the GMS area. Therefore, these undergraduate students sought to learn from MI as they are embarking on projects focusing on tourism within Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand (CLMTV). 

During the visit, students were provided with overview of the region as well as its potential economic development, and each GMS country’s background. 

GMS comprises of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand and two provinces of P.R. China, which are rich with diverse natural resources, eco-tourist attractions and cultures. It possesses high potential to be the world’s ‘single tourist destination.’ The idea of promoting the region to be the single tourist destination will not only put the region in the global stage, but also boost economic growth in the region. However, this goal cannot be achieved if each GMS country develops its tourist sector without a joint regional strategic plan. 

To make such idea a reality, cooperation among the GMS countries is vital. Therefore, the ‘GMS Economic Cooperation Program’ is initiated, which includes nine areas of focus. Tourism, which has strategies based on sustainable tourism development principles, is one of those areas. These core principles require the strategy implementation to be economically viable, ecologically sound, and poses minimal negative social impacts on the local community. 

Upon the completion of the presentation on GMS’ overview, each GMS national staff was invited to demonstrate each country’s culture followed by a Q&A session. 

At the end of the visit, KKUIC thanked MI for its contribution and support to the students’ learning during the visit.

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