Food and friend­ship...

Viet Nam News - - ONE DESTINATION -

Last year, Bangkok hosted an an­nual food fo­rum or­gan­ised by the UN World Tourism Or­gan­i­sa­tion and the Basque Culi­nary Cen­tre.

The city that got first place in the Miche­lin Guide in 2017 and hosts three of the top 10 restau­rants in Asia's 50 Best Restau­rant List took the op­por­tu­nity to max­i­mize its po­ten­tial as a food des­ti­na­tion with more than 500 in­ter­na­tional ex­perts.

Food not yet in

"Culi­nary art is a kind of cul­tural her­itage and even the most im­por­tant cul­tural her­itage," cul­tural re­searcher Ñaëng Vaên Baøi said at a workshop on pre­serv­ing and de­vel­op­ing Viet­namese cui­sine held in Haø Noäi last March.

Re­searcher Vöông Xuaân Tình, for­mer rec­tor of the Eth­nic Stud­ies In­sti­tute, said that Vieät Nam had abun­dant nat­u­ral re­sources to de­velop gas­tron­omy tourism thanks to var­i­ous eth­nic groups and di­ver­si­fied cul­tures.

"For ex­am­ple, we can cre­ate food tours ex­plor­ing veg­e­tar­ian dishes, dishes by dif­fer­ent eth­nic groups, dishes serv­ing re­li­gions…," he was quoted in Thanh Nieân News as say­ing.

"In the cen­tral re­gion, tourists can try veg­e­tar­ian food on the first and the 15th day of a lu­nar month in Ñaø Naüng and Hoäi An."

Ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey by the World Food Travel As­so­ci­a­tion, around 25 per cent of tourists are in­ter­ested in the lo­cal food where they visit.

"Food has its own at­trac­tions," he said. "For ex­am­ple, the chilli fes­ti­val in Sin­ga­pore, the choco­late fes­ti­val in New York and wine tourism in Europe."

Tình said that Vieät Nam's cui­sine had been ne­glected. "Only some com­pa­nies run food tours on a small scale," he con­tin­ued.

The Vieät Nam Na­tional Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Tourism (VNAT) has made a de­tailed plan for de­vel­op­ing tourism to 2020 with a vi­sion of 2030, but only one page men­tions food.

In Haø Noäi, a cen­tre for culi­nary art in the north, not a sin­gle word on cui­sine was men­tioned in its 2017 plan.

"Gas­tron­omy tourism is un­der­de­vel­oped in com­par­i­son with other coun­tries, from strat­egy to ac­tion and ef­fi­ciency," Tình said.

Ac­cord­ing to Nguyeãn Thò Thanh Höông, deputy direc­tor of the VNAT, the coun­try has hosted var­i­ous ac­tiv­i­ties to in­tro­duce lo­cal food to tourists.

"In 2017, the food fes­ti­val in the north­ern prov­ince of Laøo Cai was a high­light," she said.

"In 2018, there was also a food fes­ti­val in the north­ern prov­ince of Quaûng Ninh.

"In April, 2018, there was a tra­di­tional cake fes­ti­val in the south­ern prov­ince of Caàn Thô. Ev­ery year, HCM City hosts an in­ter­na­tional food fes­ti­val.

"The Vieät Nam Chef As­so­ci­a­tion has just been set up un­der the Vieät Nam Tourism As­so­ci­a­tion."

Höông con­firmed that the State spon­sors food fes­ti­vals but not food tours, which should be run by pri­vate com­pa­nies.

Phaïm Haø, direc­tor of Lux­ury Travel, which runs var­i­ous food tours, said it was not easy to find suitable guides who un­der­stood the culi­nary arts and loved cul­ture.

"These guides can in­spire tourists with their pas­sion for the culi­nary arts," he said.

Culi­nary ex­pert Nguyeãn Quang Vieät suggested the es­tab­lish­ment of a spe­cial day for fa­mous food like phôû.

Ace­cook Vieät Nam, a Ja­panese en­ter­prise spe­cial­is­ing in dry noo­dles, has reg­is­tered April 4 the Day of Phôû in Ja­pan as phôû is pro­nounced in Ja­panese nearly the same as the word "four" in English.

Re­gional link

To en­hance con­nec­tiv­ity for tourism, the ASEAN Frame­work Agree­ment on the Fa­cil­i­ta­tion of Cross-Bor­der Trans­port of Pas­sen­gers by Road Ve­hi­cles has been signed to fa­cil­i­tate uni­fied cross-bor- der mo­bil­ity for tourists and to pro­mote over­land travel be­tween ASEAN mem­bers.

The Tourism Au­thor­ity of Thai­land has been very ac­tive in host­ing me­dia trips to pro­mote ASEAN Con­nec­tiv­ity.

The most re­cent five-day trip was held in last Sep­tem­ber link­ing Bangkok with Man­dalay, Chi­ang Mai and Luang Pra­bang.

There are around 600 in­ter­na­tional flights per week de­part­ing from Thai­land to other des­ti­na­tions in Cam­bo­dia, Laos, Myan­mar, Vieät Nam and Thai­land.

The North-South Cor­ri­dor will con­nect the south of China, Thai­land, Malaysia and Sin­ga­pore, while the East-West Cor­ri­dor starts from In­dia and fin­ishes in Vieät Nam.

In con­clu­sion, among var­i­ous strate­gies to pro­mote ASEAN tourism, sus­tain­abil­ity has been cho­sen to­gether with de­vel­op­ing culi­nary arts and en­hanc­ing re­gional co-op­er­a­tions for a "One Sin­gle ASEAN Des­ti­na­tion". VNS

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