Bid to build Thai cuisine as a branding and tourism promotion initiative


About 400 overseas participants, including operators and owners of Thai restaurants overseas, are expected to join the five-day project called “Amazing Tastes of Thailand” being organized between September 22-27, 2009 at Central World Bangkok and major provinces in Thailand.

The project is designed to capitalize on and further enhance the global popularity of Thai cuisine, boost exports of Thai agricultural products, and help visitors enjoy a higher quality of culinary experience across the vast range of dining options in the kingdom.

It is being jointly organized by the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Department of Export Promotion, Thai Hotels Association, Association of Domestic Travel, and Thai Restaurant Association.

The participants will also include restaurant managers, chefs specializing in Thai and other cuisines, as well as food critics and writers. Geographically, they hail from east Asian countries (158); ASEAN and south Asia and south Pacific (89); Europe, Africa, and Middle East (134); and America (42).

In addition, a number of celebrity chefs have also been invited to join, such as Mr. Michael Lam, owner and chef of Formosa vegetarian restaurant in Hong Kong; Ms. Luyong Kunaksorn, owner of A-Roy Thai restaurant in Singapore; Madame Dzoan Cam Van, who has her own cooking show on Vietnamese TV; Mr. Roland Durand, owner of Passiflore restaurant in France who spent several years in Thailand; Mr. Warach Lacharojana, chef of Sea & Spice restaurant in New York; and Mr. Jet Tila, a connoisseur of Thai dining in Los Angeles.

All have been carefully selected by overseas TAT offices to ensure maximum interest. They will join the Amazing Tastes of Thailand Fam Trip covering all five regions of Thailand.

In each itinerary, participants will have a chance to enjoy the traditional Thai cuisine of each region and see cooking demonstrations, as well as buy local condiments and ingredients and visit local Thai traditional arts and crafts shops, tourist attractions, and local food markets.

They will also get a chance to interact with local restaurant owners, chefs, and companies involved in the production and distribution of Thai agricultural products.

On September 25, all participants will attend the opening ceremony and welcome party at Central World.

The colorful ceremony will feature demonstrations of Thai food products and cooking classes by chefs from all five regions who will create their special dishes, including main courses and desserts. There will be also contests of Thai food decoration, famous menus of movie stars and celebrities, entertainment activities, and Thai cultural shows.

The foreign participants will be given a chance to share ideas on improving operations of overseas Thai restaurants and better market Thai ingredients and food products abroad. In turn, they will be briefed on ways to better utilize their Thai restaurants as tourism marketing channels and create higher awareness about Thai tourism attractions.

Thai cuisine is popular all over the world because it is nutritious, delicious, and inexpensive. According to Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce, there are plans to increase the number of Thai restaurants overseas from 13,000 locations in 2009 to 15,000 locations in 2010 as part of the second phase of Thailand’s “Kitchen of the World” project, aimed at boosting Thai food exports.

Many of the Thai restaurants, ranging from elegant up-market outlets to fast-food take-aways, are set up by Thai expatriates living abroad, Thai wives of expatriates, and former students, as well as overseas entrepreneurs who simply fell in love with Thai food.

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 2007, visitors to Thailand spent an average of 4,120.95 baht per person per day, of which 731.10 baht or 17.74 percent was on food and beverage.