Written by Mekong Institute

This report evaluates the learning programme “Tourism: A Regional Approach for Economic Cooperation Strategy Bloc and East-West Corridor Countries.” Mekong Institute (MI) conducted this course from 6 September to 1 October 2004 with generous support and cooperation by the governments of Japan and Kingdom of Thailand through their representative agencies Japan International Development Agency (JICA) and Department of Technical and Economic Cooperation (DTEC), Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  

Twenty-three government officials attended the course from the five Economic Cooperation Strategy Bloc and East-West Corridor countries (Myanmar, Thailand, Lao PDR, Cambodia and Viet Nam). Participants hold a mixture of middle to senior level positions from a wide variety of tourism related ministries, agencies and state-owned tourism enterprises. Of participants, 39% are women. MIemphasised the importance of gender mainstreaming to CBTD in activities and curriculum. According to questionnaires and country-group discussions, participants felt that gender mainstreaming efforts at MI were excellent.

Four programme presenters, one PECD Instructor, four guest presenters and two field visit facilitators assisted participants with knowledge and skill development and professional network formation. Participants confirmed that the resource persons are qualified, experienced people who were able to explain difficult content in clear and simple terms. Overal, participants felt resource persons were excelent or good and attained their teaching objectives.

Curriculum was divided into four module segments. According to the MI questionnaires and country-group discussions, participants felt that the course content was very successful.

Supplemental activities included a wide range of learning and social activities. Participants felt that the main learning activites, including the PECD, were either excellent or good. They further felt that the additional learning activities were good and social activities were excellent. Participants also found MIto be a clean, well-run facility with dedicated, freindly staff and excellent IT and library services.

Many participants found the duration of the programme too short due to the amount of material and speed of lessons. They felt that six-weeks might be more appropriate.

Outcomes of the programme include knowledge and skills gained for CBTD. Participants further developed professional skills, such as data and case analysis, presentation, Internet research, and professional networking. Participants felt they fully attained or attained the new knowledge and professional skills presented in the curriculum. Further, they made many new friendships and professional contacts.

This report concludes, based on the above feedback, that the learning programme was ver successful. Finally, recommendations for further programme improvement are provided in Section 5 of this report.

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