30 May MTF Insights Gary

MTF Insights: Gary Tyson @ Azerai Hotel Luang Prabang

Gary is the general manager of the new Azerai Hotel Luang Prabang, which is an Official MTF Hotel. This will be Gary’s first MTF, having heard about event from colleagues shortly before its public announcement. He first learned of the MTCO through the monthly Lanith Hospitality Managers’ Rendezvous.

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

The co-ordination between all the venues in a professional way is vital, and making sure we have the proper transportation systems in place to the various events. The organisers need to provide clear information to the attendees for the precise times, and ensure all the venues are clearly marked. As numbers for the various events are limited and the fines are quite high if you do not attend, the above is of great importance.

MTF replies: Fully agreed. Communication is key to avoid confusion. We have a website as well as a mobile app, and we will have a program guide, which will explain all the details. We will also send emails to all registered delegates before June. Being registered is key though, which can be done for free at www.MekongTourismForum.org. This is standard for any conference, from delegates, media, speakers, hosts, facilitators, organizers, etc. http://www.mekongtourismforum.org/index.php/tickets/

Due to the capacity limitations of the session venues, which we cannot exceed by law, it is important for everybody to register and select their tracks of interest in order not to get left out.

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

I think this is a great opportunity to showcase and promote Luang Prabang and all the wonderful attractions the destination has to offer, as participants have the opportunity to move around the town and experience all the different facets of Luang Prabang.

What is your business, and Luang Prabang tourism, doing to meet any challenges you face?

We are all working together to better promote the destination and our respective businesses. We want to ensure we present a professional image with a constant focus on training our staff to meet international standards without losing the integrity of the Lao people.

The destination has many challenges such as environmental preservation, proper waste recycling and disposal, and cultural education for tourists, especially from China and Korea. This is a delicate and fragile town that is moving towards the edge of becoming another destination in Asia that has been overrun by large-scale tourism if left unchecked. We need to constantly be vigilant to work on keeping the balance between prosperity and sustainability within the town and outer areas and working closely with the local and national governments as well as the foreign government support agencies such as GIZ and JICA.

Together we need to promote the destination to more niche markets if we are to compete with the surrounding larger countries and not undervalue the destination. We also need to educate tourists and promote the importance of only buying locally produced products that keep the traditional crafts of Laos alive and thriving, with the money going to support the greater community.

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.