Local delicacies are considered a lure for tourism to smaller villages and communities in Sukhothai province.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) wants to transform the Unesco world heritage town of Sukhothai into a destination for unique culture and local foods as it aims to promote local and international tourism in the province.
Somradee Chitchong, TAT’s executive director for the northern region, said the agency plans to invite members of the Association of Thai Travel Agents (a private tourism organisation that brings international tourists to Thailand) to visit tourist sites and several local communities in Sukhothai province to seek overseas business opportunities.
“Sukhothai province has become a top destination for foreign tourists thanks to its world heritage sites and the Loy Krathong festival. However, the province has many other potential products that are yet to be developed,” Ms Somradee said.
TAT and travel operators will launch a new route linking Sukhothai with Phrae and Nan provinces this March. The move is aimed at attracting more tourists and locals to the North, she said.
In order to boost arrivals into the province, TAT selected Baan Na Ton Chan (the most famous village in the Si Satchanalai district) from a list of nine communities across the country to be promoted internationally.
“Foreigners form Europe, Japan and China have been coming to to Baan Na Ton Chan for years, but TAT needs to boost arrivals from other markets,” Ms Somradee said.
TAT also plans to organise the first Sukhothai-specific trade event by running a business travel talk in Chiang Mai on Feb 19, for which operators from all major provinces will gather and negotiate the new routes throughout the North, particularly in Chiang Mai and Sukhothai.
Pannee Suanpang, associate professor at Suan Dusit University, said her latest study found that Baan Na Ton Chan can be developed into a new community-based destination for both local and foreign tourists.
The village offers 23 homestays, pushcart tours, organic farms, and traditional village houses.
“One of our products are local noodles called khao pup and mee khan. These foods are unique to the province, and can’t be found elsewhere,” Ms Pannee said.
In 2016, the province receive 1.29 million local and foreign tourists. The top five countries of origin were France, Germany, Spain, China and England. There are 130 hotels with a total of 2,839 rooms. Hotels ran at an average occupancy rate of 60%.