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Mekong basin

Mekong Innovative Start-up Tourism

A programme devoted to supporting start-ups specialising in the tourist sector in the Mekong basin.

This initiative is developed by the Greater Mekong Sub Region (GMS) economic cooperation programme, grouping together six States via its tourism coordination bureau. It follows on from the revision of the tourist strategy of the GMS of 2010-2015 with a first edition in 2017.

This is a contest that selects the twelve best start-ups for a bootcamp organised in partnership with the Mekong Business Initiative (Australian government, Asian Development Bank) and regional start-up incubators Incubators Support structure for business creation projects. Provide know-how, a network and logistics during the first stages of the life of the company. Incubators address companies that are very young or in the course of being incorporated.
Incubators stand out by the services they propose, whether or not they are profitable or by the type of projects they target.
Since the mid 2000s, “second generation incubators” have appeared known as accelerators, offering aid for the creation of a firm in exchange for shares in the new company.
. A second competition is organised after this training with five awards (from 7,000 to 10,000 USD) distributed to the start-ups judged as the top performers.

The winner of the first prize was the Myanmar start-up “GoP”, offering an online platform listing local stakeholders proposing tourist circuits and local guides. The site can be used to make bookings and to have access to instant information for planning a trip to Myanmar without wasting time. It has not been translated into English. This initiative gives access to the market for local stakeholders, firms and guides.

Lessons learnt

  • This initiative is jointly run by several border States around a common challenge and can be replicated on the scale of the neighbouring local authorities.
  • In a region experiencing strong growth in tourist numbers, digital innovation constitutes one of the levers of local economic development and can vitalise an entire regional ecosystem.

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