Jens Thraenhart was appointed by the six tourism ministries of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam, and China (Yunnan and Guanxi Provinces) to head the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO) as its Executive Director in 2014. The Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO) is an inter-governmental body to promote the Mekong region as a single tourism destination, and foster responsible tourism development in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS). In his tenure, which the governments extended for two additional terms, he digitised the organization, introduced new programs and initiatives to drive engagement with industry stakeholders, organized the annual Mekong Tourism Forum, and was recognised with various prestigious awards for innovation and design for the new website MekongTourism.org, as well as the MekongMoments.com collaborative marketing platform, as well as the Mekong Mini Movie Festival campaign. In order to execute the goals and mandates of the GMS Tourism Working Group of the six tourism ministries, he created the public-private partnership framework Destination Mekong, which operates various initiatives, including the collaborative social commerce platform Mekong Moments, the Mekong Innovative Startups in Tourism (MIST) accelerator program, the Mekong Mini Movie Festival, the Mekong Trends insight platform, and the Experience Mekong Collection curating and showcasing responsible and sustainable travel businesses.
In 2009, Dr Thraenhart co-founded award-winning China digital marketing and social media agency Dragon Trail, headquartered in Beijing/PR China with offices in Shanghai, Xian, UK, and USA, helping companies all over the world to reach affluent Chinese consumers. While at Dragon Trail, he published ChinaTravelTrends.com, and the corresponding China Travel Travel Trends books. Prior he has led marketing, CRM, and digital strategy teams at the Canadian Tourism Commission based in Vancouver/Canada when he founded the Canada-e-Connect Conference, and at Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, based in Toronto/Canada, being recognised with many prestigious international awards in digital marketing and design.
In 1999, he founded Chameleon Strategies based in Bangkok, Hong Kong and Vancouver. An Affiliate Member of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) since 2008, the firm helps organizations to leverage social commerce and CRM to drive sustainability and inclusiveness. He has personally assisted many global companies, including European Travel Commission, Tourism Vancouver, Tourism Whistler, Banff Lake Louise Tourism, Travel Alberta, Tourism Malaysia, Atout France, Australia Tourism Warehouse, Small Luxury Hotels of the World, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, Fiesta Americana Hotels & Resorts Mexico, Prestige Cruise Holdings (now Norwegian Cruise Lines), Swire Hotels, Dusit International, Shinta Mani Hotel Cambodia, Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), and the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO). In 2016, Chameleon Strategies moved its main office to Bangkok/Thailand, offering services from strategic consulting, social technology development, and marketing services from branding, content creation to creative design.
Educated at Cornell University with a Masters of Management in Hospitality, Mr. Thraenhart was recognized as one of the travel industry’s top 100 rising stars by Travel Agent Magazine in 2003, was listed as one of HSMAI’s 25 Most Extraordinary Sales and Marketing Minds in Hospitality and Travel in 2004 and 2005, and named as one of the Top 20 Extraordinary Minds in European Travel and Hospitality in 2014. A member of the UNWTO Global Panel of Experts, and PATA Board Member. As past executive global board member of HSMAI (Hospitality Sales Marketing Association International), in 2003 he created the HSMAI Digital Marketing Council, and the HSMAI Digital Marketing Strategy Conference as its founding chair. As past Chair of PATA China, he founded the Annual China Responsible Tourism Forum & Awards in 2011. Mr. Thraenhart is currently pursuing his part-time Doctor in Hotel and Tourism Management (DHTM) degree at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. A dual citizen of Germany and Canada, he now lives in Bangkok, Thailand.