Thailand treats Chinese tourists to record-breaking feast
OVER the weekend, some 10,000 Chinese tourists were invited to the 150,000 square meter Impact Lakeside event space in the Pak Krek district of Nonthaburi in Thailand for the feast of the decade.
Thai deputy prime minister Gen. Prawit Wongsuwan extended the invite to the event, titled, “We Care For You”, which was hosted by the tourism panel of the National Legislative Assembly and the Association of Thai Travel Agents.
On the menu at the feast was the popular Thai dessert khao neeo mamuang, also known as mango sticky rice. It is ordinarily made with glutinous rice, fresh mango, and coconut milk, and eaten with a fork, spoon, or sometimes the hands.
It can be found just about anywhere in the Thai capital city of Bangkok, from street food stalls to traditional Thai restaurants, and even in a luxury hotel’s Sunday brunch spread.
But at the “We Care For You”, Chinese tourists were treated to 1.5 tonnes of glutinous rice and a whopping total of 6,000 mangoes across over 1,200 tables, according to Khaosod.
There were about five tonnes of mango sticky rice, which broke the Guinness World Record for the largest serving of the Thai dessert.
“We Are For You” was part of Thailand’s latest effort to win back Chinese tourists after arrivals were stunted by the Phuket boat disaster in July 2018 which killed 47 Chinese tourists.
At the time, Wongsuwan had declared that it was “totally Chinese people harming Chinese people”, referring to the fact that a Chinese firm operated the ill-fated boat.
His words sparked outrage and Wongsuwan later apologized but it was not very well received. Thousands canceled their Phuket hotel reservations in the wake of the tragedy.
Through “We Are About You”, the organizers hope to make nice with Chinese tourists and build up a good image of Thai hospitality.
“Considering there was a sharp drop of Chinese tourists to Thailand, we’ve been making an effort to improve the country’s safety standards, expecting to restore the confidence of tourists from China and let them know Thailand care about them,” National Legislative Assembly religion, art, culture, and tourism committee chairman Pichit Kuandachakupt.
Aside from the generous servings of mango sticky rice, guests were also treated to an array of delectable Thai dishes such as tom yum kung, pork ribs, fried sea bass, mixed mushrooms, red lobsters, and green curry.
Meanwhile, Thailand has extended the waiver on the on-arrival-visa fee for 20 countries and regions including China.
Chinese tourists’ annual arrivals to Thailand in 2018 exceeded a historic milestone of 10 million in December. The country expects up to 12 million Chinese travelers to visit Thailand this year.