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Asean Affairs   19 February 2014

The way to Thai leisure travelers’ hearts is through their stomachs

Hilton Worldwide survey reveals culture of ‘culinary travel’ across Asia Pacific

-       Over a third of leisure travelers in Asia Pacific (APAC) said food and drink is the determining factor in where they choose to vacation

-       Thailand voted joint second favorite culinary destination for leisure travelers in APAC

-       41 per cent of Thai travelers allocate up to half of their total holiday budgets for food

-       Thai travelers vote Japan as their favorite culinary destination in APAC

THAILAND – February 18, 2014 – A survey of traveler behavior has revealed that for over a third (36 per cent) of leisure travelers in Asia Pacific, food and drink is the critical determining factor in where they choose to travel.
Other key findings for Thailand included:

-       34 per cent of Thailand leisure travelers said that food is a ‘critical factor’ when deciding where to visit

-       92 per cent make a point of trying famous local dishes and street food when they travel

-       90 per cent seek out unique culinary experiences when visiting a destination

-       92 per cent said they would return to a destination just because of wonderful food and dining experiences

Surveying 2,700 leisure travelers from across nine countries in APAC, the study, commissioned by leading global hospitality company, Hilton Worldwide, found that only five per cent of respondents said that food and drink was not a consideration when deciding where to holiday.

“A country or city’s culinary offering is clearly a big driver as to where leisure travelers in Asia Pacific choose to travel,” said Markus Schueller, vice president for Food & Beverage Operations, Asia Pacific at Hilton Worldwide.

“Appreciation for food and drink continues to grow, and this has significant implications for the hospitality industry. Gone are the days where hotels were simply places to rest. Today they have to be food and drink destinations themselves, providing guests with the services and information that fit with the increased emphasis they place on quality culinary experiences when they travel.”

Taking in responses from leisure travelers in Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, results showed that food was also a priority when it came to holiday spend, with 43 per cent of respondents allocating up to half of their total holiday budget for food and drink.

According to the survey, food also influences what activities took priority in the minds of travelers when on vacation, with 90 per cent going out of their way to try famous local dishes. 87 per cent said they would seek out local street food and 79 per cent would look for culturally unique food experiences like culinary festivals and food markets when visiting a destination.

When asked to identify their favorite culinary destination in APAC, Japan topped the list with the highest number of votes from leisure travelers across the region, followed closely by Thailand and Taiwan in joint second place. Votes also revealed Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong as sharing third place position as favorite culinary destinations. Results also showed that for 19 per cent of respondents, food experiences within their home country were favored over other destinations in the region, this included respondents from Malaysia, Indonesia, Korea, Australia and Japan. Travelers from Thailand voted Japan, followed by Thailand and Korea as their favorite culinary destinations in the region.

When asked what they looked for in an excellent culinary destination, 49 per cent of all respondents agreed that variety of cuisine is most important, followed by unique culinary offerings, including destinations with unusual local delicacies and specialities, and cultural food experiences like food markets and festivals. Travelers from Thailand most valued quality, intensity of flavour and high food safety variety and unique local cuisine in a culinary destination.

Schueller added, “Today’s modern culinary traveler is looking for authentic food experiences and activities which offer both quality and variety. This is something we take very seriously, working closely with our properties across Asia Pacific to develop and deliver unique dining concepts that provide guests with exceptional and memorable experiences.”

The survey forms part of the Hilton Worldwide’s Destination Marketing campaign, an ongoing initiative to provide travelers with the best available rates to stay at Hilton Worldwide hotels and resorts in APAC.


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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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