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Thailand Showcases Culinary Tourism with a Unique Culinary Competition
Published: August 11, 2023 at 3:58 pm
Seeking to elevate its status as a global culinary destination and increase its ingredient exports, Thailand is set to host the pioneering “Kaphrao Grand Prix” in Bangkok. This contest aims to highlight authentic Thai cuisine to foreign tourists and boost local ingredient exports.
The initiative, as shared by Yuthasak Supasorn, the Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), intends to lift food-related tourist spending from 20% to 25% by 2027.
Diving into the crux of the event, pad kaphrao, a dish beloved by Thais and foreigners alike, takes center stage. Yuthasak remarked on the frequent misrepresentation of this dish in global Thai eateries, with many versions lacking the genuine, traditional Thai flavor. The Kaphrao Grand Prix, scheduled from August 25-27 near the Phadung Krung Kasem Canal, will spotlight and celebrate the most authentic preparations. It’s a golden opportunity, especially for smaller restaurants, to shine on the international stage, expand their clientele, and increase earnings.
Yuthasak emphasized Thailand’s stature as one of the top 15 ingredient exporters. “Our culinary offerings are an integral facet of Thailand’s soft power, enhancing tourism and promoting local ingredient exports,” he said. He also indicated that the broader recognition of Thai dishes can potentially catalyze food innovation studies.
2023 seems to be Thailand’s year on the culinary map, as the World Culinary Awards recently honored Bangkok and Thailand as “Asia’s Best Culinary City” and “Best Culinary Destination,” respectively.
The TAT’s strategy, according to Yuthasak, revolves around enticing travelers to explore Thailand’s diverse regions through its rich tapestry of dishes. With an anticipated tourism revenue of 2.3 trillion baht this year, the culinary segment alone is expected to constitute about 20%. This proportion is forecasted to rise to 25% by 2027.
The influx of international tourists, especially from China, remains a focus. A boost in arrivals from China, with about 400,000 visitors in July, up from a 300,000 monthly average, underscores this trend. To further facilitate Chinese tourism, starting in October, the TAT will introduce a visa pre-screening process to expedite approval times. This streamlined process aims to push monthly arrivals to 500,000 to 600,000, especially during October’s coveted Golden Week holiday.
In related news, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs recently simplified the tourist visa application process by reducing the required documents to encourage global tourism.