BANGKOK, THAILAND, March 27, 2017: Travel & tourism industry “visionary and change agent” Anna Pollock, Founder of Conscious.Travel, will keynote Mekong Tourism Forum 2017 (MTF 2017) “Prosper with Purpose”, with a speech entitled “Passion + Purpose = Prosperity”.

The UK-based speaker’s appearance at MTF 2017 is sponsored by EXO Foundation.

The recipient of a Visionary of the Year Award from the Canadian tourism industry, Ms Pollock has more 45 years of experience.

She has worked with the Canadian Tourism Commission, Pacific Asia Travel Association, European Travel Commission, European Cities, Tourism New Zealand, and consulted for numerous destinations and organisations, in addition to being a Visiting Fellow at Oxford Brookes University (UK) and an advisor to the Tourism Education Futures Initiative (TEFI).

Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO) Executive Director Jens Thraenhart said: “I could not imagine a more suitable person to address our tourism industry at MTF 2017 with the theme “Prosper with Purpose”.

“Her strength is her ability to see the whole “big picture” and help others make sense of their rapidly and dramatically changing world.

“I worked with, and was inspired by her, during my time at the Canadian Tourism Commission (Destination Canada) in the mid 2000s.”

Ms Pollock has undertaken seminal work in many aspects of tourism and is currently addressing ways of mitigating the negative impacts of “over-tourism”.

Her current focus is on models of destination development that “generate higher yields with less impact”.

These are based on her belief that “for tourism to thrive it must be re-invented in order to provide much higher levels of satisfaction to the customer, more net benefit to the host community, and sustained yields to shareholders”.

Ms Pollock said: “Up until a decade or so ago the purpose of business was never questioned — It was simply to generate a profitable return for shareholders.

“In less than a decade, those core beliefs have shifted radically and smart tourism enterprises and destinations are tapping into a growing desire of guests to buy from, and employees to work for, companies that can communicate not just what they sell but what they stand for.

“By serving a purpose higher than the bottom line, they unleash the passion of their employees and satisfy their guests’ search for meaning and fulfillment.

“Destinations also have the opportunity to differentiate themselves by demonstrating how tourism genuinely benefits the broader host community.”

A passionate proponent of the concept of “residents inviting visitors”, Ms Pollock envisioned the emergence of a company such as AirBnB, and was invited to AirBnB’s summit in Paris a few years ago.

Mr Thraenhart said: “This is very much in line with the unique model of MTF 2017.”

Hosted by the Lao Ministry of Information, Culture, and Tourism, MTF 2017 will be co-hosted by 16 small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in and around the UNESCO Heritage town of Luang Prabang.

The 16 SMEs will provide venues for a series of “breakthrough” sessions on the afternoons of June 7 & 8.

Mr Thraenhart said: “This year’s MTF will be the most inclusive ever and we hope that by matching sessions with venues and showcasing the destination will make the event collaborative and engaging.”

Ms Pollock’s will deliver her keynote presentation, “Passion + Purpose = Prosperity”, at 10:30 on June 8 at Luang Prabang’s Central Bank building.

Please check for the latest program updates, and register early as capacity is limited for the 16 breakthrough sessions.