Confluences Incubateur, a Phnom Penh-based travel startup incubator, has been selected to coordinate a series of Market Access Tours of Cambodia for 4 companies specifically selected by the Mekong Innovative Startup Tourism Accelerator (MIST), one of Asia’s leading tourism accelerator programmes!
Started up in December 2016, MIST is a joint venture between the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office, the Government of Australia and the Asian Development Bank (ADB)-supported Mekong Business Initiative (MBI). Showing tremendous success, the programme received over 250 applications for the Market Access Programme this year alone.
This market access initiative has been specially designed for tourism industry startups to establish operations in the Greater Mekong Subregion by presenting these selected startups with the opportunity to discover Cambodia and make the necessary contacts that will help them on their journey to success in this rapidly developing market.
As mention by Jason Lusk, Communications specialist and programme lead for MIST, the the aim of the programme is to maximise private sector development through support for tech commercialisation and entrepreneurship. He continued, “We do this by channeling support to high-potential sectors including agritech, fintech, urban development, and tourism. The Greater Mekong Subregion, including Cambodia, is the fastest-growing region in the world for tourism, especially inbound international tourism, which is creating abundant demand for innovative businesses”.
Hence, over the next 3 months, Confluences will lead the selected companies from Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia on separate three-to-four-day tours of Cambodia’s highlights with the aim of providing a real and in-depth insight into the possibilities and challenges on the ground. They will also help to introduce these startups to pre-screened partners, clients, suppliers and other stakeholders.
Founder and Director of Confluences Incubateur, Soreasmey Ke Bin, said that this programme corresponds to exactly why he set up his company. “We’re here to provide a gateway to the Cambodian market for companies that are looking to invest here. To that end, we’ve created a system for delivering a wide and diverse range of expertise, experience and connections that can really make the difference for those seeking to reach out to Cambodia. My goal is to ensure that these companies come away with a rich understanding of the market and the steps they will need to take to broach it and, of course, a new love for Cambodia.”, he said.
With that, the selected companies include an interactive urban orienteering company from Vietnam, Urban Tales, Thai city-tour company, TakeMeTour, Malaysian visa-queue-buster BorderPass, and Vietnamese tour facilitator, Di Vui.
Here is a brief summary of what each of the companies do:
Currently based in Vietnam, Urban Tales offers a new fun way to visit cities, which is through having ‘investigations’ or treasure hunts around the city. The players wander around the city based on a scenario written by experts and along the way, players get to meet actors and local people who will provide the tourists with the necessary clues and hints to reach the next point. This interactive city-tour is available for independent tourists, but also for corporate groups who want to do some team-building.
A Thai-based start-up offering 1-day city tours all around Thailand led by ‘Local Experts’, who are basically inhabitants native to Thailand willing to share their hobby or passion and show tourists their beloved city from a very genuine perspective. These unique journeys can range from walking around the old town of Bangkok, or even a street food trail.
A Malaysian start-up, BorderPass is a solution to avoid long queues at immigration desk in airports, relieving congestion and helping business travellers clear immigration faster. They have already developed a test gate in Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and the service is available to all ASEAN citizens.
Di Vui, a Vietnamese-based startup, offers tours and activities in Vietnam and in international destinations. Their key role is to introduce best things to do for Vietnamese natives when they travel and they also help them conveniently book activities at their location of choice in advance.
These companies were chosen based on their transformation and scaling capacity; on top of their business models and technology approaches that have already shown significant traction in their countries of origin and therefore, can show the same scaling potential into Cambodia successfully.
“We also looked for startups that we thought we had special resources to help through partners like Confluences Incubateur, our existing networks, our partner the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office’s connection with traditional tourism businesses in the country, and our deep relationships in government via the Asian Development Bank.”, Lusk went on to say too.
Hearing from the companies involved as well, Nicolas Plesse, Managing Director of Urban Tales, sees a lot of untapped potential in Cambodia, especially in the Meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) domain.
“We believe it is a fantastic playground for real and original team- building activities that not only focus on the country’s heritage but also on its culture and its people. We believe Cambodia will attract more and more groups as well as individual tourists that would love to enjoy exclusive experiences such as Urban Tales”, he said, adding “For the moment, Angkor gives such traction that the tour operators do not really feel the need to renew their programme and look for alternative solutions. What we want to bring with Urban Tales is a new way to feel and experience the country. Our activities are immersive to a point that has rarely been done before. Participants will live a scenario of which they are the main actors and in doing so, they will experience the country much more deeply.”.
Co-founder and CEO of TakeMeTour, Taro Amorched, also expressed his sentiments, explaining that he is looking forward to his first visit to Cambodia and the opportunity to adapt to a different context. “I think the knowledge and experience we gain from Thailand market is not a fixed and absolute solution, instead it’s an approach and process on how we could tackle and handle a developing market in a right way. Although it won’t be exactly the same solution and approaches, we both surely have something in common”, he said.
For more information on Confluences, visit their website at www.confluences.com.kh or follow their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/confluencesincubateur. As for MIST, you can find more information at their website here or on their Facebook page as well.