BANGKOK, 15 May 2017: Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism and Sports signed an agreement to host the fourth edition of UNWTO World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism in Bangkok next year.
The ministry’s permanent secretary, Pongpanu Svetarundra, inked the agreement last week with UNWTO general secretary, Taleb Rifai, during the third UNWTO World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism in San Sebastian, Spain.
The permanent secretary said: “Hosting the event will help to boost Thailand’s gastronomy tourism and promote the country’s food …the forum will also provide a theoretical academic discussion, knowledge exchange with food professionals and workshop in food resources to touch and experience way of life conveying to food menus.”
The tourism ministry is collaborating with Bangkok Metropolitan Administration to reorganise street food by introducing walking streets in the evenings and zoning street food to clear pavements in tourist districts. It is not an outright ban on street food as widely claimed by the media, but a campaign to improve public hygiene such as providing clean running water to wash dishes and cook, raise cooking standards and reduce pavement congestion in certain areas of the city.
BMA and the Tourism Authority of Thailand said they were committed to promoting street food in a sustainable manner, especially in the areas of Yaowarat and Khao San roads. This would ensure good hygiene that complies with internationally standards.
Some of the measures that are under consideration are:
- Street food vendors must strictly observe universal hygienic standards when preparing and serving food;
- Food stalls should reflect local identity and be of a uniform format;
- Current street food vendors can continue their businesses as long as they are operating in accordance with measures that aim to make street food a clean and sustainable feature of Bangkok;
- BMA will organise training programmes for all street food vendors after which certain tests will also be conducted to ensure that they can operate according to BMA’s requirements;
- Particular attention will be paid to dish cleaning and waste management and using water from containers rather than clean tap water will be strictly prohibited.
Tourism Authority of Thailand has also entered into a partnership with Michelin Travel Group to publish a Bangkok edition of the prestigious Michelin Guide. The first Michelin Guide Bangkok is expected to publish in December.
Once launched, Thailand will become the sixth country in Asia to have Michelin Guides following China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea.
According to the Department of Tourism, Thailand estimates it received THB456,000 million in revenue from food tourism in 2015, a 20% share of overall tourism revenue. Of that, THB174,000 million came from Thai travellers and THB282,000 million from foreigners. China, the United Kingdom and Russia were the top three markets for spending on food and beverage.
Revenue from food and beverage of foreign tourists was expected to increase by 5.74% on average during the past three years, it said.