Thailand wants to promote its regional cuisine as a tool to open new destinations for tourists. Surprisingly, a recent survey shows that only 40% of tourists know about Thai food.
Food has been a mantra for Thailand with many TV shows around the world presenting Thai culinary delights and the Tourism Authority of Thailand- the kingdom’s tourism marketing agency- supporting this passion through festivals, agro tourism or even by creating stories around iconic dishes such as Pad Thai.
But more needs to be done. According to research from the National Research Council of Thailand (NRCT) over gastronomic tourism in Thailand and ways to explore strategies for building a competitive advantage, only 40 per cent of respondents to a poll claimed they knew Thai food and beverage well. This means that there is still 60% of travellers who have little or no knowledge of Thai cuisine.
The food-travel trend shows no signs of slowing down with tourists considering food in Thailand as an integral part of the local culture. Now, authorities and professionals believe that gastronomy will open new doors for tourism. The key is to craft an immersive experience that cannot be found anywhere else and story-telling strategies over uniquely tasty Thai food.
During a recent forum on the ‘Strategies for Building a Competitive Advantage of Gastronomic Tourism in Thailand’ held last September, famous Thai Chefs expressed their opinions over food. For Chef Vichit Mukura, formerly working at The Oriental Bangkok Hotel, four key elements prevail: quality, price, uniqueness and cleanliness. Chef Vichit suggested a focus of ‘one province, one dish’ from individual cities to help attract tourists to emerging destinations and impress them with memorable Thai food avours.
The idea of promoting provinces through gastronomic experience was also shared by Ms. Lertlinin Sippapak, owner of many restaurants in Bangkok. She encouraged the public and private sectors to identity Thai food that is unique on a province by province basis
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Photo: Traditional Thai food presented with flowers