22 May MTF Insights John

MTF Insights: John Morris Williams @ Luang Prabang View Hotel

John in the General Manager of Luang Prabang View hotel, which is hosting the MIST (Mekong Innovative Startups in Tourism) finalists’ presentations. This will be John’s first Mekong Tourism Forum (MTF). He read about the Luang Prabang event in social media and the “Vientiane Times”, before the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO), which he follows in the media and by word of mouth, approached him for rooms and venues.

What challenges does Luang Prabang face in hosting a multi-venue event?

“Luang Prabang does not face many problems from our side. I believe the venues chosen are all seasoned hotels who handle various groups all year round. I see the major challenge for the MTF is coordinating all this with the rooms, venues, etc. Then again, we can all learn from doing something new.

It’s a great opportunity for all attending to experience the city of Luang Prabang and sites outside of the main tourism centre.

MTF replies: True. Having a conference in one conference centre or big hotel is a lot easier. But besides the point that Luang Prabang does not have a big conference centre or large meeting facilities in a hotel (Pullman Luang Prabang is not open yet), we wanted to allow delegates to experience the beauty of the destination. For MTF2017, we decided to be as inclusive as possible and include as many small businesses in being a host for the Mekong Tourism Forum, in order to make the destination the venue, and to make the conference as experiential as possible. That way, also the hosting is shared, and people are not constrained to being only in one conference venue of the period of the event. This approach could become model for other smaller towns without big conference facilities to host events by businesses partnering and forming a consortia. But one thing is for sure – it is a lot more work!

What opportunities do you see for your business in hosting the multi-venue MTF?

“The Luang Prabang View is lucky to be able to host a good number of rooms, which adds revenue for our ‘Green Season’. We offered to host two breakout events at our Som View Restaurant, which overlooks the city.

What is your business, and Luang Prabang, doing to meet any challenges in hosting the MTF?

Our business is hospitality, with a 74-room hotel that caters to international travellers, groups, and incentives, so we are ready for the MTF. There are some last minute changes that we need to accept and work around, but part of the hospitality industry. Further, the Luang Prabang tourism sector works together, and we all work together and support each other when facing challenges.

We Are Lao asked several Luang Prabang businesses and organizations about the opportunities & challenges they face in hosting the multi-venue MTF, with MTCO Executive Director Jens Thraenhart responding. This is the 4th instalment in this series.

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