Jamaica, Thailand make gastronomy linkages

Monday, June 04, 2018

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett is reporting that Jamaican cuisine made a huge impact on the global gastronomy industry during the fourth UNWTO World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism in Bangkok, Thailand.

“Gastronomy tourism is regarded as the highest individual spend of a visitor in any destination. More than 40 per cent of the expenditure of the visitor is on food and food-related activities. I think that a good opportunity also exists for Jamaica to leverage our wonderful cuisine, to build more of the experience and gain more revenues that will stay in the country for the people of the country,” Bartlett said.

The minister and his delegation participated in a cooking workshop last Wednesday, where they prepared Jamaican run down. The dish was later fused with a Thai specialty having similar ingredients, called rendang, to create a new dish which the minister has called Jamdang.

“Today (Wednesday) was perhaps the finest example of gastro-diplomacy because we were able to bring, through food, a huge connectivity between Jamaica and Thailand. This is a new way of bringing people together by making people feel more connected and also more inquisitive about each other.

“I am excited by the prospects the experience in Thailand will have on gastronomy tourism for the island. We were given a real opportunity to showcase the island as a food destination and as a place where people can come and feel free to enjoy themselves, but more importantly to experiment in food presentations and to create other kinds of synergies that will inure to the development of the human family,” said the tourism minister.

Minister Bartlett and his team also participated in panel discussions on current trends and challenges in the sector. They exchanged best practices and engaged in intercultural dialogue, gastro-diplomacy, and the importance of technology for sustainable gastronomy tourism.

The theme of this year's forum was 'Harnessing the Power of Technology and Community Tourism as drivers for a Positive Global Impact.'

The minister was joined by the head of the Tourism Linkages Network, Carolyn McDonald-Riley and chairperson of the ministry's Gastronomy Network, Nicola Madden-Grieg. They returned to the island on Saturday.

— Horace Hines


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