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Thailand offers halal food to attract Emirati tourists
By Mian Mujahid Shah August 10, 2017
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DUBAI: More than 50 media personalities, social media influencers, models and bloggers from all over the UAE attended the first-ever “Gastronomic Journey to Thailand” event on Tuesday night at the Dusit Thani Hotel Dubai.

The event was aimed to highlight Thailand's culinary and halal-friendly offerings to families and young travellers to further position Thailand as the ultimate gastronomical destination for the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) and Middle East travellers.
Thai food is known and loved all over the world for its fiery rich flavour combinations, unique cooking styles and age-old methods of preserving foods, as well as the use of exotic herbs and spices to enrich the flavours and offer nutrition.
Pichaya Saisaengchan, the newly appointed director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Dubai and Middle East office said, "Thailand has been known as one of the Middle East region's most preferred holiday destination catering for all kinds of travellers; families, wedding and honeymooners, young travellers, MICE, Golf and sports tourists and medical and wellness. These past few years, we have seen an incredible increase in consumer awareness and recognition about Thai food in which we see an amazing opportunity to further deepen the understanding of people regarding Thai food. This event will showcase the world's top 7 Thai dishes voted by the readers of CNN Travel to highlight the best of the best in the Thai cuisine. "
"With this event, we would like to show the world the natural hospitality, genuine warmness and friendly faces of Thais that are ready to welcome guests from around the world,” Pichaya added.


Recently, the TAT also launched a Muslim-friendly app to help Muslim visitors find halal restaurants and hotels, mosques and halal tours, as well as providing travel news and a guidebook. Thailand is positioning itself as a Muslim-friendly destination by pushing halal tourism and launching marketing incentives for Muslim-related agencies.
There are also initiatives to promote halal tourism in Thailand's southern Muslim provinces bordering Malaysia, as well as incentives for Muslim travel agents and media to survey tourism products and services for Muslim tourists in Pattaya, Hua Hin and Phuket, where Phuket is gearing up to be a halal food centre.
In nearby Krabi province, little known for being a predominantly Muslim area, is positioning itself as a premier destination for Muslim travellers.
TAT hopes to increase the proportion of Muslim travellers especially amongst the high-end and intermediate markets, as well as family and women groups.
Pichaya said during Jan.1-Dec.31, 2016, Thailand welcomed 585,633 tourists from the Middle East including Iran, generating an income of more over 40 billion Thai Baht, a 150/0 increase compared to the same period of last year. The top five tourism spending countries in the Middle East region are the UAE, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar, respectively.
The new TAT director for Dubai and Middle East market also commented, "We are extremely happy to announce that TAT Middle East office received a 13 per cent increase in tourist arrivals in 2016 compared to 2015. In 2017, we aim at increasing this number to 632,483 (+8%) and plan to attract more tourists towards the end of 2017."
TAT is also focusing on source markets such as the Gulf Cooperation CounCil, especially the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman, as well as Iran, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria.

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