Acta Universitatis Danubius. Œconomica, Vol 9, No 3 (2013)

The Experience Economy in Thai Hotels and Resort Clusters: The Role of Authentic Food

Thanan Apivantanaporn, John Christopher Walsh


Although hotels and other tourist institutions in Thailand have been making some sporadic attempts to incorporate specifically Thai food and beverage (F&B) elements into their overall product offering, this has rarely been attempted in a thoughtful and systematic manner. This is despite the importance of F&B in determining overall levels of customer satisfaction and the recent importance attached to incorporating ‘Thainess’ into the hotel and tourism industry nationwide. It is, therefore, rather surprising that little if any sustained effort has been made to define authenticity with respect to Thai food (bearing in mind also regional variations) or to incorporate certificates of quality to establishments providing such authentic dishes. This paper draws on qualitative research and personal observation undertaken in a wide range of Thai hotels with a view to identifying emergent value-adding clusters in the domestic hospitality sector. It describes and categorizes the uses of Thai F&B currently and identifies shortcomings in industry vision, which leads to recommendations for both hotel and resort managers and also to those responsible for national level tourism development efforts. The paper also recognizes the problematic nature of the concepts of ‘authenticity’ in this context and attempts to reconcile differing conceptions.


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