Innovative travel and hospitality companies attend an information session at the Mekong Innovative Startups in Tourism (MIST) business support programme. (Source: mist.asia)

HCM City (VNS/VNA) - The Mekong Innovative Startups in Tourism (MIST) will support 10 innovative travel and hospitality companies in 2018.

The programme, launched in 2016, is supported by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Australian Government and the six-government Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office.

MIST aims to identify and support high-growth travel and hospitality businesses that have the potential to contribute to local communities, economies and the environment.

It features a Startup Accelerator and the Market Access Programme.

The former teaches business fundamentals to early-stage travel and hospitality start-ups while connecting them with the industry and investors, and has chosen five entrepreneurs from Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam -- BambooLao, Ecohost, Go Explore, Sidesbag, and VDEs.

The finalists are attending the Mekong Tourism Forum to showcase their solutions and explore industry partnerships.

They will come together again in October at ITB Asia in Singapore to pitch to investors and compete for innovation grants of up to 10,000 USD.

The Market Access Programme invites innovators from around the world to resolve tourism and hospitality industry challenges in the Greater Mekong Sub-region.

It helps innovators clear market entry obstacles, form local partnerships, and secure financing for proof-of-concept pilots.

It has chosen five international travel and hospitality innovators: Adventoro, DidaTravel Technology, hereO, Moneybay, and Monkey Theory.

“There is no doubt that technology is rapidly transforming travel,” Jens Thraenhart, executive director of the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office, said.

“The trick is to harness and accelerate innovative business models that also positively transform lives, communities, and the natural environment.”

Dominic Mellor, senior investment advisor at the ADB, said: “MIST has received more than 350 applications from all over the world, demonstrating the Greater Mekong Sub-region’s dynamism as a destination and its attractiveness to innovators.”–VNS/VNA