Cuisine to boost Thailand tourism


BANGKOK, 3 June 2016: Thai food and seasonal fruits are in fashion and are two compelling reasons that drive the country’s tourism appeal especially for Asian visitors.

That was the opinion of Thailand Chamber of Commerce vice president, Kalin Sarasin, who addressed the Association of Thai Travel Agents’ members, Tuesday.

Thailand’s famous spice food have inspired international chefs for decades as seen by the popularity of Thai restaurants, worldwide and there is also a strong interest in joining Thai cooking classes when visiting the country.

inside no 4Now Thai fruits are gaining recognition as more Chinese and Southeast Asia travellers visit the country.

Kalin who heads a chamber project known as ‘Amazing Thai Taste project’ said: “Our campaign promotes food and seasonal fruits with distinctive themes each quarter…we aim to establish Thai food, fruit and rice as the country’s premium products and raise awareness in regional and global markets….tour and hotel operators should pass on this information to travellers.”

In reality the quarterly campaign targets the domestic market. A check of the Thai Chamber of Commerce reveals all its information is in the Thai language (even in its English version) which limits the campaign’s ability to “raise awareness in regional and global markets”.

He said that for the second quarter of this year, the campaign highlights Pad Thai and Tom Yam Kung (shrimp spicy soup) including durian, rambutan, mangosteen, longkong (southern langsat), sala, lychee and santol.

In Q3, it highlights food and fruit, green curry, papaya salad, durian, rambutan, mangosteen, longan, longkong and pomelo.

Food and fruit to be promoted in Q4 include Massaman curry, Tom Kha Kai (coconut milk soup with chicken), papaya, pineapple and banana.

This year, the country expects to attract 32 million international tourists. Tourist spend on gastronomy is projected at THB3,762 per head, which will help to increase overall revenue by 10% to  around THB12,000 million.

“To raise campaign awareness, the country should promote the highlighted food and fruit on websites and blogs in social media, while airlines should promote them in lounges, on planes and in VDOs and magazines.”

Airports also should help to set up Amazing Thailand Taste corner to provide the campaign information for travellers, offer them to taste, sell and provide application to download, he said.

Hotels should provide travellers with a fruit basket in their rooms, publish the campaign through VDOs and magazines and set up a campaign corner and provide menus in restaurant adopting the quarterly themes.

Travel agents could provide taste tour programmes with visits to fruit, herb and organic vegetable gardens.

In addition, tourist attractions and community-based tourism should sell the highlighted products at shopping venues and organise food and seasonal fruit festival.

Mass media also should spot and promote the campaign via print media and television and create TV documentaries related to Thai food, fruit and rice.

The campaign advertisement and corners should also be promoted at public transport places such as BTS Skytrain to raise people awareness.

He overlooked an important point  during his presentation. The Thai Chamber of Commerce should present its campaign facts in global languages (Arabic, Chinese and English) to make it easier to communicate the amazing fruit and food message to foreign travel planners.

The only references to the Thai Chamber of Commerce campaign can be found at the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and the Tourism Authority of Thailand websites. They are also in Thai.