BANGKOK, 3 August 2016: Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism and Sports says food tourism has the potential to boost the country’s tourism revenue and add product value that will benefit local economies and the agricultural sector.
Tourism and Sports Minister, Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, said food and gastronomic tourism reflects local culture and promoting regional dishes will help to generate revenue for local communities.
“Food tourism inspires people to explore local dishes and share information via online and social media,” she said.
According to UNWTO’s Global Report on Food Tourism 2015, the sector generated USD150 billion. Spain, France, Italy and the United Kingdom were the top four countries attracting so called ‘foodie’ travellers. Popular activities were visiting vineyards, wine tasting, cooking classes and purchasing food tours.
For Thailand, food tourism generated THB456 billion last year accounting for 20% of overall tourism revenue, the minister said. Of that, THB282 billion came from international markets mostly Chinese, British and Russians while THB174 billion came from the domestic market.
“Thailand has various food and gastronomic products linked to locals and other business…the country is known for many kinds of food and is popular worldwide…tourists are attracted to buy food to eat and as a gifts to take home.”
Travellers who love Thai food are keen to attend cooking classes particularly in Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai, she said adding that food tourism would also drive travellers to buy products at farms, which help to boost local and agricultural sector.
“Year-round food events would also help travellers to taste the country’s local food by region as well as street food…today online and social media help a lot to promote food tourism…travellers search the internet for recommended restaurants, share information via Instagram, check in on Facebook and review food via social media,” the minister added.