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CNN Travel readers list seven Thai dishes among World’s 50 Best Foods

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is pleased to announce that CNN Travel readers list seven Thai dishes among World’s 50 Best Foods on its Facebook poll. The list is a reformatted and republished version of the original article published in 2011.

Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor said, “We’re thankful for all the votes – a testament to the already solid reputation of the Amazing Thai Taste, which is part of our foodie tourism initiative to motivate tourists and foodies to embark on a culinary journey to taste signature Thai dishes in renowned venues across Thailand as the way to explore Thainess through food.”

The latest CNN Travel World’s 50 Best Foods list was compiled based on the votes of 35,000 readers via a Facebook poll. The seven Thai dishes in the list are Tom Yum Kung in fourth place, Phat Thai (fifth), Som Tam Papaya Salad (sixth), Massaman Curry (10th), Green Curry (19th), Chicken Fried Rice (24th) and Mu Nam Tok or spicy minced pork salad (36th).
According to CNN Travel writer, Tim Cheung, the original World’s 50 Best Foods article, which was released in 2011 “stimulate some impassioned debate about the conspicuous lack of French dishes and the merits of ketchup over mayonnaise” and so the online publication “threw it open to a vote on a Facebook poll.”

Mr. Yuthasak said, “With seven Thai dishes voted into this influential list shows how Thai Cuisine is increasingly perceived as a world-class culinary experience and Thailand a great destination for foodie tourism.

TAT plays a large role in promoting Thai Cuisine through several initiatives, including launching the Amazing Thai Taste campaign in 2016, publishing several publications about Thai dishes and ingredients and the best places to find them, and sponsoring a large number of food based events around the world.

This year, TAT has entered into a partnership with Michelin Travel Partner to publish a Michelin Guide Bangkok as well as with Gault & Millau to publish a bilingual Thailand guidebook in the Gault & Millau Belux 2018 edition. In May 2018, Thailand will host the UNWTO Conference on Gastronomy Tourism.

Strong Tourism Results in the first part of 2017

Tatiana Rokou – 17 July 2017,

In Asia and the Pacific, international arrivals were up 6% through April with sound results across all four subregions. South Asia (+14%) led growth, followed by Oceania (+7%), South-East Asia (+6%) and North-East Asia (+5%).

International tourist arrivals worldwide grew by 6% in January-April of 2017 compared to the same period last year, with business confidence reaching its highest levels in a decade. Sustained growth in most major destinations and a steady rebound in others drove results. Prospects for May-August 2017 remain high.

Destinations worldwide received 369 million international tourists (overnight visitors) in the first four months of the year, 21 million more than in the same months of 2016 (+6%), according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. The January-April period usually represents some 28% of the yearly total and covers the winter season of the Northern Hemisphere and the summer season of the Southern Hemisphere, as well as the Chinese New Year and Easter holidays, among others.

International arrivals reported by destinations around the world were positive overall, with very few exceptions. Most of 2016’s strong performers maintained momentum, while destinations that struggled in previous years continued to rebound in the first part of 2017. This is especially reflected in the better results of the Middle East (+10%), Africa (+8%) and Europe (+6%). Asia and the Pacific (6%) and the Americas (+4%) continued to enjoy robust growth.

“Destinations that were affected by negative events during 2016 are showing clear signs of recovery in a very short period of time, and this is very welcoming news for all, but particularly for those whose livelihoods depend on tourism in these destinations”, said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai.

“As we celebrate 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, we welcome the continued development of tourism and recall that with growth comes increased responsibility to ensure tourism can contribute to sustainability in all its three pillars – economic, social and environmental. Growth is never the enemy and it is our responsibility to manage it in a sustainable manner,” he added.

Regional Results
International arrivals in Europe (+6%) rebounded in January-April after mixed results last year, as confidence returned to some destinations that were impacted by security incidents, while others continued to grow strongly. Results improved particularly in Southern Mediterranean Europe (+9% as compared to +1% in 2016) and Western Europe (+4% as opposed to +0% in 2016). Northern Europe (+9%) continued to record strong growth, while Central and Eastern Europe recorded 4% more international arrivals, in line with results of last year.

In Asia and the Pacific, international arrivals were up 6% through April with sound results across all four subregions. South Asia (+14%) led growth, followed by Oceania (+7%), South-East Asia (+6%) and North-East Asia (+5%).

International arrivals in the Americas were up 4% with strong results in South America and Central America (both +7%), while arrivals in North America grew by 3% and in the Caribbean by 2%.

Limited data available for Africa points to an 8% increase in international arrivals, with North Africa (+18%) recovering strongly. International arrivals in the Middle East rebounded by an estimated 10% following a 4% decline in 2016.

Positive prospects for May-August
The current strong momentum is reflected in the UNWTO Panel of Tourism Experts confidence index, based on evaluations and prospects of worldwide experts surveyed every four months since 2003. Experts evaluated tourism performance in the first four months of 2017 with the highest score in 12 years, clearly exceeding their already positive expectations from the start of the period. Responses to the survey were strongest from Europe, in line with the rebound in arrivals.

Experts also show strong confidence in the current May-August period, as their prospects are the most optimistic in a decade, also driven by upbeat expectations in Europe. The May-August period includes the peak tourism season in most of the world’s major tourism destinations and source markets.

Bangkok remains Top Destination for Street Food!

Bangkok, 21 April, 2017 – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) would like to assure all international tourists and travellers that Bangkok remains a top destination for street food. This is in light of recent articles in the Thai and international press, stating that the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) is to ban food stalls from Bangkok’s main streets.

TAT has contacted the BMA and found that while there are measures in place to control food vendors and enforce current regulations, there is no outright ban on the sale of street food. In fact, the BMA appreciates that food vendors are a vital part of the city’s identity and helped Bangkok be listed by CNN as one of the 23 best cities in the world for street food.

BMA has said that it will be providing support and advice to the city’s street food vendors to help them raise hygienic standards, improve food safety, and adhere to proper waste management procedures.
To ensure the safety and convenience of all road users and pedestrians, BMA is enforcing measures regarding sidewalk and road obstructions and is working with the Metropolitan Police Bureau and its Traffic Division, to see that vital walkways are clear of the food carts, chairs and umbrellas used by many street food vendors in the city.
This means that in Bangkok’s busiest areas, vendors have been required to move to designated zones and nearby markets to operate.

Popular tourist streets; such as, Chinatown’s Yaowarat and Khao San Roads, will not be affected. But these areas will receive special attention to ensure international hygienic standards are met by the vendors.
To this end and pending government approval, the BMA intends to implement the following measures:
To introduce universal hygienic standard practices for food preparation and service, and strictly enforce these measures.
To ensure personnel attend BMA training programmes on food safety and pass tests before they are licenced.
BMA will enforce measures regarding waste management and the cleaning of bowls and utensils used by customers.

Growth continues as Thailand hits visitor and revenue targets for 1st quarter 2017

Bangkok, 28 March, 2017 – Thailand is expected to finish the first quarter of 2017 right on target with tourism revenue of 734 billion Baht (US$20.9 billion), up 9 per cent over the same period of 2016. The growth momentum is anticipated to continue through to the second quarter with an 11 per cent year-on-year increase on revenue to 630 billion Baht (US$18 billion), including 16.6 billion Baht (US$474 million) revenue targeted from tourism spending during the five-day Songkran holiday.

Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said, “In the first quarter, we’ve seen healthy growth from all source markets, and so we expect this growth momentum to continue into the second quarter. This expectation is based on a number of factors. Thailand will host the WTTC Global Summit 2017, from 26-27 April in Bangkok, and the Destination Wedding Planners Congress 2017, from 2-4 May in Phuket. TAT will also enhance our marketing efforts in China through a series of roadshow events that focus on the luxury, health and wellness, and new markets as well as through celebrity marketing under the “Experience Thailand with Mario” campaign.”

In the first quarter of 2017 (January-March), TAT expects Thailand to welcome 9.2 million international visitors and generate 490 billion Baht (US$14 billion), representing a year-on-year increase of 2 per cent and 7 per cent, respectively. Meanwhile, domestic tourism is expected to yield 32.5 million trips and 240 billion Baht (US$6.8 billion), a year-on-year growth of 8 per cent and 12 per cent, respectively.

The growth momentum is expected to continue through to the second quarter with a target year-on-year growth of 6 per cent or 8.02 million international visitor arrivals and 11 per cent to 400 billion Baht (US$11.42 billion). The potential top five markets in terms of revenue include China (120 billion Baht / US$3.4 billion, up 7 per cent), Russia (24 billion Baht / US$685 million, up 44 per cent), Malaysia (23 billion Baht / US$657 million, up 5 per cent), India (19 billion Baht / 542 million, up 18 per cent), and the UK (17 billion Baht / US$485 million, up 7 per cent).

As well as the hosting of major global events and a series of targetted marketing strategies in China and other key markets, TAT also bases its expectation for the second quarter growth on the number of forward bookings. (ForwardKeys). Other contributing factors have included the new air routes from China and Russia, including Lion Air’s four flights per week on the Nanchang-Bangkok route, Kunming Airlines’ three flights per week on the Kunming-Hat Yai route, and Ural Airlines’ daily flight on the Novosibirsk-Bangkok route.

The extension of the visa fee waiver and reduction for visas on arrival for tourists from 21 countries until 31 August, this year, is expected to help Thailand maintain its popularity as the top destination in the region. In addition, Thailand continues to win international awards and accolades as one of the best tourist destinations in the world. Recently, Bangkok was voted by CNN as one of the world’s 23 best cities for street food. Thailand was also ranked best in various country categories by the US News & World Report, Y&R’s BAV Consulting and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, including 26th in the world and 6th in Asia for best country, top spot for starting a new business, 7th for heritage, 8th for adventure, and 17th for cultural influence.

For the period of the five-day Songkran holiday, from 13-17 April, TAT expects Thailand to welcome at least 470,000 international visitors, up 10 per cent over the 2016 Songkran period, and generate some 8 billion Baht (US$228 million) in revenue, up 17 per cent. Meanwhile, domestic tourism is expected to contribute to 2.47 million trips (up 9.6 per cent) and generate 8.54 billion Baht (US$244 million), up 12.5 per cent.