Around 600 participants from 52 countries gathered at the 4thUNWTO World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism (Bangkok, Thailand, 30 May to 1 June 2018). Organized by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Government of Thailand, in collaboration with the Basque Culinary Center.
Partnering with technology providers is among UNWTO’s main priorities. Against this backdrop, creating and sharing knowledge and policy lessons on the digital transformation was among the central aspects of this year’s edition, which included the participation of technology startups of the host country (Bangkok Food Tours, HiveSters, LocalAlike and Trawell).
The startups presented workshops to all participants focusing on the gastronomy tourism offer in Thailand, how to use technology to better reach tourists and showcasing their initiatives.
ÒGastronomy is a major driver for tourists when choosing a destination, inspite of which the potential of gastronomy tourism has still to be seized as an intangible cultural heritage. Gastronomy tourism is about harnessing technology to tell a story about people and places to preserve and promote authenticity in local communitiesÓ, addedÊUNWTO Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili.
The Minister of Tourism and Sports of Thailand, Mr. Weerasak Kowsurat, underscored how Òlocal communities can strengthen themselves and feel proud of their culture through gastronomy tourismÓ. Referring to the overall economic impact, he added that Òagriculture and tourism are significant job creators throughout the country, and Thai cuisine helps us boost tourism expenditureÓ.
The UNWTO World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism aims to promote innovative ideas that can help the development of gastronomy tourism worldwide. The ideas put forward during the previous editions of this forum are always founded upon sustainable development and new product development in gastronomy tourism.
On the occasion, UNWTO launched the Report on Gastronomy Tourism: The Case of Japan.
The 2019 edition of the UNWTO World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism will take place in San Sebastian, Spain followed by Flandres, Belgium, in 2020.