Although priority is given to the promotion of Thai cuisine, TAT believes that the vast number of great multi-cultural restaurants opening in Bangkok and other Thai cities plays an important role in attracting more visitors to Thailand.
TAT Governor Suraphon Svetasreni said, “Promoting culinary tourism is one of the TAT’s topmost priorities because it builds bridges between travel and tourism, the country’s largest service industry, with agriculture, the largest overall industry.”
Thai food is one of the most popular cuisines worldwide. There are thousands of Thai restaurants all over Europe, North America, Oceania, and Southeast Asia ranging from elegant up-market outlets to fast-food take-aways. Many are set up by Thai entrepreneurs, Thai wives of expatriates, former students, and other Thai expatriates living abroad.
In addition to the fact that many thousands of visitors come to Thailand to learn how to cook Thai dishes, food and beverage consumption is an important component of visitor expenditure in Thailand.
In September 2010, the TAT and Dubai office invited TV Chef Osama Atyab and 4 crew members to visit Thailand as part of a weeklong hosted stay in order to further strengthen the cultural bridges between the people of Dubai, United Arab Emirates and Thailand.
Chef Osama created a number of special Thailand-focused episodes of his popular programme that promoted Thai culinary culture as well as Thai family attractions to Dubai TV’s audience. During his visit to Bangkok, Phuket, and Chiang Mai, he focused on Thailand’s efforts to promote Thai halal food as well as Arab cultural links.
In 2010, the TAT New York office invited Mr Michael Ginor, host of the cuisine TV programme “Runaway Chef” for a two-week stay in Thailand, covering Bangkok, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Khon Kaen, Udon Thani, and Nong Khai. The promotional concept was divided between “Royal Cuisine” in Bangkok and Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, and “Local Food” in Khon Kaen, Udon Thani, and Nong Khai.
Besides introducing Thai cuisine, the programme also showed the local lifestyle, tradition, and culture of the Thai people.
In 2010, TAT helped to promote major food events in Thailand, such as, Bangkok Chef Charity and World Gourmet Festival 2010, organised respectively by the Mandarin Oriental and Four Seasons hotels.
The Bangkok Chefs Charity 2010 was held on 29 July, with the chefs cooking up a feast fit for royalty. Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn personally presided over the Gala Dinner and Auction.
The event combined the skills of 19 culinary heavyweights from leading hotels in Bangkok and Phuket to create an haute gourmet nine-course dinner using the finest ingredients from the Royal Project in Chiang Mai. Each dish was paired with top wines and champagne.
Tickets for the event were sold at 7,900 Baht per seat (for tables of 10), and 25,000 Baht per seat at the head table. All proceeds went to charity, the Border Patrol Police Schools under the Patronage of Her Royal Highness, and the remainder to benefit underprivileged children at selected schools.
The 11th Annual World Gourmet Festival was held at the Four Seasons Hotel from September 6 – 12, 2010. The Festival has grown in prominence to feature an extraordinary lineup of some of the best chefs from across the globe. Each guest chef hosted two evenings in one of the hotel’s restaurants, with one chef hosting three afternoon teas in the Lobby Lounge.
Mr Suraphon said, “All these exciting events and promotions go a long way towards helping us meet our target objectives of attracting more high-spending visitors. At the same time, however, we pay tribute to our unsung heroes, the many roadside vendors who are the favourite eating places for our backpackers and adventurous visitors.
“They are all ‘chefs’ in their own right, and TAT is very happy to be at the forefront of efforts to ensure that the taste-buds of all visitors are satisfied, irrespective of their income or social status.”
International Public Relations Division
Tourism Authority of Thailand