Bangkok, 16 January 2020 – “Gastronomy Tourism Thailand” was the high-profile theme of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)’s presence and activities at the 39th ASEAN Tourism Forum between 12-16 January, 2020, in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam.
The theme was in line with the ASEAN Gastronomy Tourism Master Plan, which was one of the key outcomes of Thailand’s chairmanship of ASEAN in 2019. It was a concrete implementation of the Joint Declaration on Gastronomy Tourism issued by the ASEAN Tourism Ministers at the January 2018 ATF in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
The ASEAN plan is designed to give a major boost to the combined appeal of the wonderful culinary delights of all the 10 ASEAN countries. It will see the establishment of expert networks related to gastronomy tourism from various fields, create competitions for outstanding gastronomy tourism cities, and undertake numerous other activities to give more global prominence to ASEAN gastronomy.
“Broadening the appeal of Thai cuisine to encompass ASEAN cuisine is a logical step forward. It will go a long way towards enhancing ASEAN cultural and culinary integration, in accordance with the principles of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Blueprint, one of the three development pillars of ASEAN.”
Mr. Kilssada Rattanapruk, TAT’s Executive Director for ASEAN, South Asia and the South Pacific Region
Mr. Kilssada noted that the Thai economy has revolved around agriculture for centuries, well before tourism. As such, gastronomy tourism builds bridges between these two sectors. Many Thai dishes also place great emphasis on nutritional ingredients including high-value herbs, which helps TAT to enhance health and wellness tourism.
In 2017, TAT teamed up with the renowned Michelin guidebooks, well-known for their restaurant star rating system, to produce the first Michelin Guide covering Bangkok, Phuket, Phang Nga and Chiang Mai. This has significantly boosted the quality and standards of Thai chefs and restaurant owners and helped boost the kingdom’s status as one of the world’s leading gastro tourism destinations.
In addition to Gastronomy Tourism, TAT will also publicise various activities to mark the 60th anniversary of its founding. One of the key projects will be the “Thailand Grand Invitation Campaign” a mega fam trip for media, tour operators, bloggers and other travel influences from 60 countries to experience the best of Thailand. Sixty routes have been carefully curated for introduction at the event to help participants gain new insights on the New Shades of Thailand.
TAT is also joining forces with Thai Airways International, the national airline which is also celebrating its 60th anniversary with a range of tourism promotions aimed at strengthening the country’s positioning as a preferred destination. TAT and Thai Airways will work together to promote events; such as, the Amazing Thailand Marathon Bangkok, World Wai Kru Muay Thai Ceremony, the Great Mekong Bike Ride, as well as international events like the Honda LPGA Thailand and PTT Thailand Grand Prix.
The Thai pavilion at the ATF 2020 comprised seven exhibitors: the MIDA Hospitality Group, Katathani Collection of Resorts, Marriott – Bangkok – Hua Hin – Phuket, Movenpick BDMS Wellness Resort Bangkok, Novotel Phuket Vintage Park, Movenpick Myth Hotel Patong, Phuket Graceland Resort and Spa, and Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok.
Brunei was hosting the 39th ATF under the theme “ASEAN: Together towards a Next Generation of Travel”.
TAT also attended the meeting of senior officials and tourism ministers of ASEAN countries, ASEAN + 3, ASEAN + India and ASEAN + Russia. The Travel Exchange (TRAVEX), the largest and most important B2B sales promotion event in ASEAN, was scheduled to take place between 14-16 January, 2020, at the Bridex International Conference Centre, Bandar Seri Begawan.
Mr. Kilssada also delivered the Thailand Media Briefing on 15 January, 2020.
In 2020, TAT has set a growth target of 2.5% in total arrivals, including an increase of 4% in arrivals, specifically from the ASEAN market.
Brunei is one of Thailand’s important short-haul markets. Although the number of arrivals is small, in 2018, Bruneian visitors had an average length of stay of 6.67 days. Their per capita average daily expenditure was around US$ 212.46, as against the overall Thailand average of US$163.72.
Seventy percent of Bruneian visitors were repeat travellers. Their top activities were enjoying Thai food, massage and spa, visiting local communities and historical spots.
There are daily flights linking Bandar Seri Begawan-Bangkok by Royal Brunei Airlines/Thai Airways.
First held in Malaysia in 1981, the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) is a cooperative regional effort to promote the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as a single tourist destination. This annual event involves all the tourism industry sectors of the 10 member states of ASEAN: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR., Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam.
The ATF is rotated annually and alphabetically amongst the member countries. Thailand hosted the first event in 1985 and again in 1990, 1995, 2000, 2008 and 2018, respectively.