The Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO) has appointed Suvimol Thanasarakij as its new executive director, making her both the first female and – as a Thai national – the first person from a Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) country to fill the role.

The appointment was officially agreed by the National Tourism Organisations (NTOs) of the six Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) countries (Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam). The structure promotes cooperation and marketing for the six countries along the Mekong River

Speaking about the appointment Somxay Sipaseuth, deputy director general of Tourism Development Department from the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism Lao PDR said: “We are happy to welcome Ms Suvimol to our GMS tourism family, particularly as she is the first female executive director, and the first one with GMS nationality in MTCO’s 16-year history.”

(Logo: MTCO)

He added: “Suvimol brings to MTCO her extensive experience in the tourism industry and an in-depth expertise in international cooperation and project management. With her proven capacity to build strategic international partnerships and bolster support for various programs, we are confident that she will be a force in driving GMS tourism cooperation forward in this exciting, but also challenging time.” 

Thanasarakij said: “I look forward to working closely with the MTCO Board, international organisations, development partners, other travel and tourism stakeholders in promoting GMS countries as a single destination and supporting regional tourism development for a sustainable and inclusive recovery.” 

Thanasarakij is a planning and coordination expert with 23 years’ of experience delivering high-level multilateral programs and events for institutions such as the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) and the US Department of State. 

Prior to joining MTCO, she worked for Strategic Capacity Group, where she implemented multilateral programs on behalf of the US government across Southeast Asia. She spent more than eight years managing tourism marketing projects for ASEAN. She also worked for the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), Shangri-La Hotel Bangkok and Centara Hotels & Resorts. 

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