25 May MTF Insights Sai

MTF Insights: Phonexay (Sai) Keuthbounmay @ Belmond La Residence Phou Vao

Sai is the operations manager at the Belmond La Residence Phou Vao hotel in Luang Prabang. He has never attended an MTF, but has followed the forum in the news. He learned of the Luang Prabang MTF from the local hospitality network.

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

There is not enough capacity and facilities to handle a large event yet…The other challenge is that Luang Prabang is not connected enough to big cities apart from Bangkok, Singapore, and Hanoi. A limited number of flights is also a problem.

MTF replies: LPQ has actually quite good air access – direct flights from Vientiane, Bangkok, KL, Hanoi, and Singapore. And easy to connect via these airports. Last year we were in Sihanoukville, which has lot less air access compared to Luang Prabang. We never have the Mekong Tourism Forum in capital cities, and try to avoid key gateway cities, as we want to promote secondary cities. We also have MTF in the low season to help stimulate tourism. Luang Prabang is a great destination for MTF 2017. Not only do we have suitable air access and great tourism products. The destination also has an active tourism industry that collaborates in welcoming delegates and staging a great MTF.

What opportunities do you see for Luang Prabang in hosting the multi-venue MTF?

The concept of having several events around the town is not a bad idea, because it will show real local lifestyle to the visitors. Having several host venues around the town will show participants that Luang Prabang has its own unique character, and is not ashamed of showing off the beauty of the town, the people and the offerings to visitors.

The MTF is also a great opportunity to promote the destination worldwide through (the MTCO’s) social media channels…and for businesses to promote their products. Further, the event will keep the town busy, because normally June is really slow season. The event also educates local people to aware of what a special place they live in, and why people come to visit. So, they should be proud.

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.