Anybody who has visited Thailand can’t fail to have noticed just how important food is in all aspects of Thai culture. But food in Thailand isn’t just important culturally, it is also big business. The largest industry in Thailand is agriculture with food exports, particularly rice, crucial to the Thai economy whilst the biggest service industry in Thailand is tourism. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) have calculated that in 2007, visitors to Thailand spent an average of 4,120 Baht per person per day, of which 731 Baht (almost 18% of total daily spend) was on food and beverages. With this in mind, TAT are busy promoting Thai food to the world with the dual aim of boosting tourism and increasing food exports.
Part of this plan is the ‘Thailand Kitchen of the World’ project which aims to boost food exports by promoting Thai food abroad. It is hoped that in turn this will have a positive impact on tourism in Thailand with more people becoming aware and interested in Thai cuisine and culture. At the end of this month two major promotions will take place. The first is ‘Amazing Taste of Thailand’ which will be held at Central World in Bangkok and will include exhibitions of Thai cuisine and produce from all over Thailand. The second promotion is ‘Thailand Brand’ which will be attended by a select group of approximately 500 individuals from overseas including restaurateurs, famous chefs, food critics and writers. They will be treated to a culinary tour of Thai tourist destinations and will get the opportunity to interact with local Thai chefs, restaurant owners and other important people in the Thai food industry.