More than 15 million international tourists visited Thailand in 2010. A survey shows that Thai food, which is diverse in appearance, aroma, color, and taste, is the aspect of Thailand most attractive to foreign visitors.
The survey, conducted by the Bangkok University Research Center, indicates that international visitors, at 63.3 percent, are attracted primarily by Thai food, followed by Thai hospitality, 47.1 percent, and historical sites and artifacts, 46.5 percent.
The most popular Bangkok tourist attractions in the eyes of international tourists include the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, followed by Wat Phra Chetuphon, or the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, and shopping centers in the Pratu Nam and Pathum Wan areas.
According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), a number of chefs from around the world visited Thailand in 2010 as part of the efforts by TAT to promote “culinary culture” as an attraction for visitors. Although priority is given to the promotion of Thai cuisine, TAT believes that the vast number of great multi-cultural restaurants opening in Bangkok and other major provinces also plays an important role in attracting visitors to Thailand. In addition to the fact that many thousands of visitors come to Thailand to learn how to cook Thai dishes, food and beverage consumption is an important component of visitor expenditure in Thailand.
Thai food has become more widely known and it has also gained greater recognition internationally. It is a harmonious combination of tastes and medicinal qualities, as the ingredients are mainly vegetables and herbs, such as lemon grass, galangal, basil, and garlic.
The special quality of Thai food is its ability to reflect three key values – nutritional, cultural, and medical – with the use of fresh ingredients, well-trained natural talent in cooking methods and presentation techniques, and the generous use of herbs and spices. Thai food is appealing to the eye, nose, and palate, and the Thais pay attention to detail at each and every step of food preparation.
Thai cookery can therefore be classified as an art and an essential part of the nation’s cultural heritage passed on from generation to generation. Today Thai restaurants and Thai food can be found in almost all parts of the world, especially in major cities. The famous dish tom yam kung, hot and sour shrimp soup, is definitely at the top of the list.
Thailand will host a trade fair, “Health Food and Ingredients Thailand 2011,” on 10-13 March 2011 at IMPACT, Muang Thong Thani, Nonthaburi province. “Thailand Food Conference 2011” will also be held concurrently. Health food products and food ingredients will be featured in more than 700 booths, under the concept of “Creative Food, Creative Thailand.”