Gastronomy on the menu as Thailand sets out tourism plan

Street food in Phuket
Street food in Phuket

Thailand will focus on niche sectors, including gastronomy, as part of its latest tourism development plan.

Unveiled by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), the 2018 marketing plan is aiming to promote the sustainable development of Thailand’s tourism industry. The plan will cover the 2018 financial year, which commences in October 2017, and includes both international and domestic tourism.

“TAT will use tourism to promote sustainable development with the community as the ultimate beneficiary. We believe this will pave the way for Thailand to be a preferred destination among international visitors,” said TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn.

In terms of international marketing, the TAT will place a greater focus on niche markets including weddings and honeymoons, female travel and luxury travel. The tourism board also singled out gastronomy tourism as a key area of focus, which it says will allow visitors to enjoy more “local experiences”.

TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn unveils the new plan
TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn unveils the new plan

“It is also one of the tools to boost the development of the country’s economy by adding value to products and services that are based on the unique Thai culture and ways of life,” the TAT said of its gastronomy.

Some of the F&B-based activities planned by the TAT in 2018 include the opening of the Michelin Guidebook Bangkok and the hosting of the UNWTO World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism.

The TAT will continue to use its long-running “Amazing Thailand” brand slogan in 2018, plus the extended “Discover Amazing Stories in Amazing Thailand”. It will slightly change its marketing angle however, with the new “Open to the New Shades of Thailand” concept. This is aimed at showcasing unique Thai experience and helping to support “grassroots tourism sector players”, the TAT said.

In terms of the domestic market, Thailand will focus on increasing the travel frequency of several groups including the “silver age”, millennials, families and females. It will also aim to “decongest” popular tourist areas by promoting weekday travel.

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