The Hanoitimes - The Mekong Innovative Startup Tourism (MIST) Initiative on March 9 announced in HCM City the two new startup accelerator to support innovative firms in tourism in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.
The Mekong Innovative Startup Tourism (MIST) Initiative has unveiled two new accelerators designed to make it easier and faster for innovative tourism businesses to get underway in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam.
The MIST Startup Accelerator will take entries from early stage companies with either travel technology or traditional tourism business plans.
Meanwhile, the MIST Market Access Accelerator welcomes applications from mature international tourism startups needing support entering the region.
According to the Mekong Business Initiative, the MIST accelerator programs give a leg up to tourism investments that create jobs, help local communities, and support entrepreneurship, especially for women.
Applicants must demonstrate how they will create jobs, generate a positive community impact, and contribute to sustainable tourism growth in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam.
Founders accepted into the MIST Startup Accelerator will attend mini bootcamps to further develop their business plans. The top business plans for each country market will win MIST Innovation Grants. Best projects of each country will receive MIST awards worth from 7,000 USD to 10,000 USD.
Foreign visitors visit Cai Rang floating market in the Mekong River Delta province of Can Tho.
MIST Market Access Accelerator participants will attend familiarization tours of relevant Mekong Region markets. Through these tours, they will receive coaching, custom market insights, and introductions to supplier networks and relevant stakeholders.
Participants in both MIST accelerators will introduce their plans to investors, global acceleration programs, and tourism leaders at the Mekong Tourism Forum held in this June in Luang Prabang, Laos, and the APEC Summit in November in Da Nang City, Vietnam. In-country teams will provide additional advisory services tailored to participants’ business needs.
MIST is a joint venture between the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office and the Mekong Business Initiative.
It receives regional funding and advisory and technical support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Australian Government, Amadeus Next, the Pacific Asia Travel Association, and Village Capital.
MIST has been endorsed by young entrepreneur associations and startup groups in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam.
MBI is an advisory facility that promotes private sector development in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam. It fosters the development of the innovation ecosystems by supporting business advocacy, alternative finance, and innovation. It is supported by the Asian Development Bank and the Australian Government.
Last year, Vietnam received more than 10 million foreign visitors. However, Huynh Kim Tuoc, Executive Director of the Saigon Innovation Hub, pointed out that Vietnam’s tourism products remain poor, which should be reformed and diversified to attract more tourists.
He also highlighted the significance of regional connectivity in strengthening tourism growth, while suggesting the promotion of advantages of Vietnamese tourism as well as the preservation of the sector’s unique characteristics.
According to the organising board, the two programmes will receive applications until March 27, 2017.
Translated by Nguyen Xuan
Binh An-Kim Dung-Kinhtedothi.vn