15 February 2017 - VGP

The Mekong Innovative Startup Tourism (MIST) Initiative has announced two new accelerators designed to make it easier and faster for innovative tourism businesses in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Viet Nam.

The MIST Startup Accelerator will take entries from early stage companies with either travel technology or traditional tourism business plans. The MIST Market Access Accelerator welcomes applications from mature international tourism startups needing assistance entering the region.

Applicants must demonstrate how they will create jobs, generate positive community impact and contribute to sustainable tourism growth in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, or Viet Nam.

The MIST accelerator programs give a leg up to tourism investments that create jobs, help local communities, and support entrepreneurship, especially for women, said senior Asian Development Bank (ADB) economist and head of the Mekong Business Initiative (MBI) Dominic Mellor.

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, with the best overall receiving US$10,000 and the three runners-up receiving $7,000.

MIST Market Access Accelerator participants will join 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 pitch their plans to investors, global acceleration programs, and tourism leaders at the Mekong Tourism Forum 2017 in June (Luang Prabang, Laos) and the APEC Summit in November (Da Nang City, Viet Nam).

In-country teams will provide additional advisory services tailored to participants’ business needs.

By 2020, Viet Nam hopes to attract 10 – 10.5 million international visitors with tourism revenue reaching from US$18 billion to US$19 billion each year.

Source: VGP News

Illustration Photo: Halong Bay, Vietnam (Public Domain from Pixabay.com)

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