Located in the southeast of Thailand, Phuket is the largest island of the Andaman Sea, encompassing a population of 390,000 inhabitants. Here, traditional culinary culture is seen as an enabler for intercultural and intergenerational dialogue and, over the years, has benefitted from rich cultural and knowledge exchanges. While the sector of gastronomy records a significant contribution of $3.6 billion to the local economy each year, important efforts have been undertaken to implement a more balanced, environmental-friendly and sustainable production and exploitation plan surrounding local food resources.
Within the city, gastronomy plays a vital role, as it harbours the ability to transmit and uphold the ancient recipes, passed down through generations within families and communities. This commitment to preserve, perpetuate and promote traditional expressions is highlighted by the annual Old Town Festival, which restores ancient know-how in gastronomy, crafts and folk art, and visual arts. This three-day event attracts a local and international audience of more than 400,000 people. In addition, the Andaman Hoteliers event offers vocational training for young people to pursue careers in the field of gastronomy.
In recent years, the municipality has invested extensively in raising awareness surrounding the safe food chain, notably through the Phuket Food Safety and Andaman Kitchen programmes. To make headway with sustainable urban development, Phuket is also committed to foster capacity building and enhance local and international cooperation in the field of research and development (R&D) by working towards achieving responsible and sustainable production and consumption of local food resources.
As a Creative City of Gastronomy, Phuket envisages:
- establishing the Institute of Phuket Gastronomy to encourage research and development (R&D) in the field of gastronomy;
- enhancing cooperation and exchange of knowhow with other Creative Cities of Gastronomy through the Thailand Creative Forum;
- tackling food deprivation of vulnerable groups and individuals, especially victims of natural disasters;
- supporting gastronomic and food innovative systems and projects through a wide range of events including competitions; and
- increasing hand-on opportunities for young people to engage in careers of the field of gastronomy and the overall cultural and creative fields.