Investment and Financing Conference Opens GTEF 2023

Investment and Financing Conference Opens GTEF 2023 - TRAVELINDEXMacao, Macao SAR, September 20, 2023 / TRAVELINDEX / The 2nd GTEF ∙ Investment and Financing Conference (GTEF ∙ IFC), organized by the 10th Global Tourism Economy Forum ∙ Macao 2023 (GTEF) in collaboration with Ivy Alliance Tourism Consulting Co., Ltd., was inaugurated today (20 September) at the Galaxy International Convention Center, lifting curtains upon the four-day program of GTEF.

Held on 20 and 21 September, the 2nd GTEF ∙ IFC convenes under the theme of “Innovation and High-Quality Development, Tourism Investment and Cooperation for the Next Decade”. Participants zero in on high-quality tourism development in China and examine key trends and emerging opportunities for tourism project development. By taking a close look at Macao, they also explore how the city can create a favorable environment for greater investment and expedite modern financial development.

The GTEF ∙ IFC opening ceremony was attended by Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Zurab Pololikashvili, and Vice Chairman and Secretary-General of GTEF, Pansy Ho, together with other guests.

Four panel sessions zero in on tourism investment
The program of GTEF ∙ IFC today (20 September) consists of four panel sessions on various topics and strategies about tourism investment.

In the “Panel Session 1: Redefining Tourism Investments: From Private Equity to Venture Capital Acceleration”, held in collaboration with UNWTO, the guests discussed innovations, changes and trends of tourism investment in the new market, as well as new opportunities for private equity and venture capital.

Moderated by President & CEO of Ivy Alliance Tourism Consulting Co., Ltd., Wang Xinjun, the “Panel Session 2: China’s Tourism Investment and Cooperation in the New Era” delved into the investment directions and opportunities for potential returns in the national tourism industry in the next few years, a market analysis of current trends and key regions, as well as local governments’ measures to attract investments in cultural tourism.

The “Panel Session 3: Discover Investment Opportunities – Investment Opportunities in Macao’s Cultural & Tourism, Cooperation Potential between Guangdong and Macao” was moderated by Professor of Integrated Resort and Tourism Management at the Faculty of Business Administration of the University of Macau, Davis Fong. In line with the Macao SAR Government’s “1+4” development strategy for adequate diversification, the panel session led a discussion on the immense potential brought by concerted development between Guangdong and Macao, as both join hands to build a new world-class economic region, foster regional economic integration and become a world-famous travel attraction, along with their collaboration in cultural tourism investment.

The last panel session, “Panel Session 4: Financing, M&A for Tourism Companies, Identifying Promising Tourism Projects in Different Fields – Finding Value and Managing Uncertainty”, was moderated by Senior Partner at T-identifier Think Tank, Ding Chongyang. Senior executives from tourism investment institutions, investment funds, tourism project operators and financial institutions were invited to share their analysis and insights into the investment potential of tourism projects across various types of businesses, as well as professional views and practical suggestions on tourism enterprises in terms of mergers and acquisitions, value discovery and evaluation, risk prevention and control, etc.

Business meetings for tourism financing and investment opportunities
On the second day (21 September), GTEF ∙ IFC will feature presentations by investment institutions and chambers of commerce in Macao, followed by business meetings on tourism financing and investment in the afternoon to widen resources, facilitate industry exchange and create business opportunities.

March towards high-quality development in celebration of GTEF’s 10th anniversary

The 10th Global Tourism Economy Forum ∙ Macao 2023, themed around “Destination 2030: Unlocking the Power of Tourism for Business and Development”, will be inaugurated tomorrow (21 September). In parallel with the United Nations’ 2030

Agenda for Sustainable Development, the event will gather high officials, ministers of culture and tourism, industry leaders, decision-makers and scholars from around the world to navigate opportunities for global tourism and economic recovery by “thinking beyond tourism”. The Forum will explore new ways of constructing a resilient, high- quality and people-oriented environment for the tourism industry in the new normal through innovative and sustainable international cooperation.

For more information about the GTEF, please visit

About the Global Tourism Economy Forum
The “Global Tourism Economy Forum” (GTEF) is hosted by the Secretariat for Economy and Finance of the Macao SAR Government, in collaboration with the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), co-organized by the China Chamber of Tourism and Macao Government Tourism Office, and coordinated by the Global Tourism Economy Research Centre (GTERC). The GTEF’s supporting units include the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the People’s Republic of China, the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce (ACFIC), the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Macao SAR, the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China in the Macao SAR, World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF), European Travel Commission (ETC), The Association of Chinese Enterprises in Macao (MCEA), World Tourism Alliance (WTA) and International Mountain Tourism Alliance (IMTA).

Since its inception in 2012, the GTEF has successfully established itself as an influential high-level cooperation platform to promote sustainable development in the global tourism industry with a focus on China. To date, the GTEF has received more than 12,700 participants from 90 countries and regions, including delegations from 152 provinces and cities of mainland China, and has invited 600 internationally renowned speakers who are national ministerial officials, business leaders, and experts and scholars to share their insights during the event.

PATA Welcomes Noor Ahmad Hamid as New CEO

PATA Welcomes Noor Ahmad Hamid as New CEO - TRAVELINDEXBangkok, Thailand, September 19, 2023 / TRAVELINDEX / The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Noor Ahmad Hamid as its new Chief Executive Officer, effective October 1, 2023. Noor’s appointment for a three-year term will usher in a new era for PATA as one of the world’s most influential industry associations dedicated to promoting responsible travel and tourism within the Pacific Asia region.

A Malaysian citizen, Noor, 60, has had a distinguished 35 years career in Travel & Tourism, including the last 13 years specialising in the critical Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE) sector.

PATA Chairman, Peter Semone, said, “We extend a warm welcome Noor to the PATA family. He is clearly the right person for this job at the right time. His extensive experience in association management, particularly in the trade association sector, and his deep understanding of the Asia Pacific region make him the ideal leader for PATA in this crucial period of change and challenge. The Executive Board unanimously supports Noor’s appointment and looks forward to working with him to build a more resilient, responsible, responsive, sustainable, and stronger travel and tourism industry.”

Mr Semone added, “I am confident that under his leadership and bolstered by the PATA members support, we shall fortify PATA, bestowing enhanced membership benefits and contributing to the emergence of a more resilient, responsible, and sustainable travel and tourism industry throughout the Pacific Asia region.”

Noor commented, “I am deeply humbled by this opportunity and extend my heartfelt gratitude to PATA Chairman and Executive Board for their trust and support. I pay tribute to PATA’s founders and leaders, past and present, and applaud the members for their steadfast support over the years.”

He added, “The Asia-Pacific travel and tourism industry is rebounding faster than anticipated. But this is an era in which crises have become the New Normal. Helping the PATA membership deal with them will be equally as important as helping them capitalise on the many opportunities. I believe PATA’s long history and collective strength makes it well placed to deliver value, stability and sustainability in a rapidly evolving New World Order.”

Noor’s inaugural engagement as CEO will be at the prestigious PATA Travel Mart, scheduled from October 4 to 6 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, India. He looks forward to connecting with host destination officials and members, chapter and youth leaders, exhibitors and buyers, partners, members of the media, and the entire travel and tourism community.
Born in the state of Perak, Malaysia, Noor graduated with a diploma in Tourism Administration from the MARA Technological University (UiTM), Malaysia. In 1984, he joined the Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board (now Tourism Malaysia) and served there for more than 16 years in the Public Relations, Marketing, Domestic Promotion and Convention departments. He was also based in its Los Angeles, USA office for four years.

After a brief stint at an events management company specialising in international sporting events, Noor joined a Malaysian government-affiliated company focussing on hospitality and tourism investment.

In 2009, Noor joined the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) as the Regional Director of Asia Pacific where he served for 11 years gaining enormous experience in the nuances of not-for-profit association management. During his tenure, membership in Asia Pacific grew substantially to become the largest regional bloc within ICCA.

In 2019, he was appointed COO of Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) and played a key role in the post-Covid recovery of Malaysia’s business events industry

In 2022, he was inducted into the Events Industry Council Hall of Leaders, the most prestigious award in the global business events industry, the only Asian recipient alongside distinguished professionals from America and Europe In 2018, he received the China MICE Leaders Award from Meetings and Conventions China for his contributions to the Asia Pacific region.

About PATA
Founded in 1951, the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) is a not-for-profit membership association that acts as a catalyst for the responsible development of travel and tourism to, from and within the Asia Pacific region. The Association provides aligned advocacy, insightful research and innovative events to its member organisations, which includes government, state and city tourism bodies; international airlines and airports; hospitality organisations, and educational institutions, as well as thousands of young tourism professional (YTP) members across the world. The PATA network also embraces the grassroots activism of the PATA Chapters and Student Chapters, who organise numerous travel industry training programmes and business development events across the world. Thousands of travel professionals belong to the 32 local PATA Chapters worldwide, while hundreds of students are members of the 28 PATA Student Chapters globally. The PATAmPOWER platform delivers unrivalled data, forecasts and insights from the PATA Strategic Intelligence Centre to members’ desktops and mobile devices anywhere in the world. PATA’s Head Office has been in Bangkok since 1998. The Association also has an official office in Beijing.

New Data Shows Investment Returning to Global Tourism Sector

New Data Shows Investment Returning to Global Tourism Sector - TRAVELINDEXMadrid, Spain, September 18, 2023 / TRAVELINDEX / Investment in the global tourism cluster has started to bounce back from the lows it touched during the pandemic off the back of the steady recovery of international tourist arrivals, according to a newly released report jointly produced by UNWTO and fDi Intelligence.

The report, which is based on data from fDi Markets, fDi Intelligence’s proprietary database of greenfield FDI projects, as well as international tourism data from UNWTO, provides a broad overview of the ongoing investment cycle in the tourism sector, breaking down investment figures by region, segments and companies. Key findings include:

  • Both FDI project numbers and job creation rates in the tourism cluster grew by 23% from 286 investments in 2021 to 352 in 2022. Job creation in tourism FDI also increased by 23% over the same period, to an estimated 36,400 in 2022.
  • The leading destination region for tourism FDI projects in 2022 was Western Europe with 143 announced investments at a combined estimated value of $2.2bn.
  • The number of announced projects into the Asia-Pacific region increased marginally by 2.4% to 42 projects in 2022.
  • The hotel and tourism sector accounted for almost two-thirds of all projects in the tourism cluster between 2018 and 2022. FDI projects increased by 25% from 2021 to 2022.

These investments will then pave the way for a skilled workforce that can deliver exceptional growth, drive innovation and, by embracing digital technologies, enhance the competitiveness and resilience of the tourism sector

“Greenfield FDI into the tourism sector is showing signs of life after all but vanishing in the pandemic years. With Covid–19 behind us, the sector has no time to waste in addressing the biggest challenge of our times: climate change and the resulting sustainability imperative,” comments Jacopo Dettoni, the editor of fDi Intelligence.

“To ensure the growth and competitiveness of the sector, significant investments must be made in education and talent by upskilling the professional workforce and implementing vocational and technical programmes. Only in this way can we equip young people — of whom only 50% have completed secondary education — with the knowledge and capabilities they need to thrive in the sector. These investments will then pave the way for a skilled workforce that can deliver exceptional growth, drive innovation and, by embracing digital technologies, enhance the competitiveness and resilience of the tourism sector,” argues Zurab Pololikashvili, UNWTO Secretary-General.

“As the sector steers its course towards recovery and growth, UNWTO now, more than ever, prioritises innovation, education and strategic investments as the pillars for recalibrating and adapting to these ever-evolving market dynamics. Spearheading a series of initiatives, we equip the professional workforce with new skills through upskilling and vocational workforce programmes, creating quality job opportunities, and raising average wages across the entire tourism value chain,” says Natalia Bayona, executive director of the UNWTO.

The North America and Asia-Pacific regions each contribute three companies to the top 10 investors list for tourism foreign direct investment (FDI) between 2018 and 2022. The rest of the top 10 comprises companies from Europe, with Spain-based Melia, UK-based Intercontinental Hotels Group, France-based Accor and UK-based Selina all featuring.

Presenting Global Retail Tourism: Trends and Insights

Presenting Global Retail Tourism Trends and Insights - TRAVELINDEXBarcelona, Spain, September 18, 2023 / TRAVELINDEX / A thought leadership event exploring the significant untapped potential of retail tourism took place at La Roca Village, part of The Bicester Collection, in Barcelona today, concluding with a resounding call for attention to the importance of retail tourism. The event featured the launch of a ground-breaking report, “Global Retail Tourism: Trends and Insights”, a collaborative effort between the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), The Bicester Collection and Hong Kong Polytechnic University. With a strong focus on data and insights, the report seeks to define the future of retail tourism, highlighting the key trends, challenges, and opportunities shaping the sector.

The event featured a series of conversations, highlighting key voices across multiple business sectors. Moderated by international news anchor Maria Ramos, the panel speakers included:

• Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO
• Desirée Bollier, The Bicester Collection Chair and Global Chief Merchant
• Professor Haiyan Song, School of Hotel and Tourism Management at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University Director of Hospitality and Tourism Research Center
• Maribel Rodriguez, WTTC Senior Vice President Membership, Commercial, & Events
• Miguel Sanz, Tourespaña General Director
• Elena Foguet, The Bicester Collection Business Director Spain
• Jeni Mundy, VISA Global Senior Vice President Merchant Sales & Acquiring
• Anne Madison, Cruise Line Industry Association (CLIA) Senior Vice President Global Marketing & Strategic Communications
• Nikolina Angelkova, Terra Way Investment Group Member of the Board

Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, said:

“In the world of Travel & Tourism, retail tourism’s significance cannot be overstated. Accounting for over $178 billion of global GDP in 2019, it’s time to recognize its true potential.

Our report reveals that retail tourism is not just about shopping; it’s about revenue, job creation, and influencing travellers’ choices. I urge stakeholders worldwide to read, reflect, and act upon this report’s findings. We now have a comprehensive understanding of the challenges and opportunities in retail tourism. It’s our collective responsibility to embrace these opportunities, shape the industry’s future, and embark on an exciting journey.”

Desirée Bollier, Chair and Global Chief Merchant, The Bicester Collection commented: “Retail Tourism plays a crucial role in infusing a vibrant economic upswing into local communities, accelerating the creation of jobs and fuelling infrastructure expansion. Retail, travel, and tourism are all intertwined and must work together to enhance the tourist’s journey. This collaborative mindset will ultimately be an equal win for the tourism industry and the traveller.”

For more information and to access the Retail Tourism report, please visit the WTTC Research Hub website

Thailand to Drive Boating in Region with Thailand International Boat Show 2024

Thailand to Drive Boating in Region with Thailand International Boat Show 2024 - TRAVELINDEX - TOP25YACHTS.comPhuket, Thailand, September 15, 2023 / TRAVELINDEX / Over 80% of the in-water space is already booked. A new purpose built air-conditioned marquee will be the home for onshore exhibitors and better connect with the in-water displays and social scene. From 11 – 14 January 2024 the focus of the marine leisure world in the Asia-Pacific region will be on the second annual Thailand International Boat Show A Luxury Lifestyle Event. With more than 80% of the in-water space already booked and a new onshore layout, the event will showcase Thailand and the best of boating and luxury lifestyle across Asia to the world.

Held at Royal Phuket Marina and organised by JAND Events, the Thailand International Boat Show A Luxury Lifestyle Event wraps up an almost two-month festival of marine events that showcase Thailand’s world-class charter (Thailand Charter Week, 17 – 19 November 2023), racing (Phuket King’s Cup Regatta, 2 – 9 December 2023) superyachts (Kata Rocks Superyacht Rendezvous, December 2023) and boating and luxury lifestyle (Thailand International Boat Show, 11 – 14 January 2024) credentials to the world.

“Southeast Asia, with Thailand as its hub, has long been considered one of the top yachting destinations in the world. The cruising grounds are spectacular and will take the breath away of any first time visitor, while the marine infrastructure and onshore leisure facilities are comparable with the best in the world,” commented David Hayes, CEO of organisers JAND Events. “The industry has come together with a resounding “yes” in support of the Thailand International Boat Show A Luxury Lifestyle Event and we’re excited to announce that there will be more than 50 boats in-the-water for the 2024 edition, with many marine and luxury lifestyle businesses already confirmed onshore. It is my belief that in time the Thailand International Boat Show A Luxury Lifestyle Event will be a key event on the global calendar promoting boating in Thailand and across Asia.”

Confirmed Exhibitors In-the-water, Simpson Marine have confirmed six boats including a Sanlorenzo SX76 as well as models from Bluegame, Beneteau, Fairline, Lagoon and Aquila. Boat Lagoon Yachting will have a range of Princess and Jeanneaus on display while V Yachts Asia will be showcasing Riva and Ferretti. Derani Yachts will be displaying the popular Axopar boats as well as Greenline, Lee Marine will be showcasing their services and brands including a number of Rivieras, Asia Yachting will have Prestige yachts on display, Go Boating will display Gulf Craft and new-comer to the show, Extreme Marine will be displaying an Al Dhaen 365cc.

The Yacht Sales Co have confirmed two Fountaine Pajots, a Dufour and a Tesoro for viewing while Leopard Catamarans will be showing a number of their latest models. Northrop & Johnson have also confirmed their return in water.

Onshore, visitors can expect a range of businesses from marine products and services to tech and lifestyle. Those currently confirmed include Hull Co. Ltd, SEA Yacht Sales, FLS Yacht, the ASA Group, Thailand Privilege, Nava by Thaicom, Flexiteek and Marine Services Asia.

New for 2024
Organisers JAND Events are planning a number of new additions to this year’s show, including:
An all-new onshore exhibition space – a purpose built air-conditioned marquee will be erected in Royal Phuket Marina’s Town Square, better connecting the in-water, onshore and social spaces for visitors.

Thailand Yachting Conference (10 January) – The conference will take place the day before the show opens and will bring together government officials and leading industry professionals to share insights on regulations, cruising grounds, infrastructure, superyachts, technology and sustainability.

Robb Report “Best of the Best” Yachting Awards (10 January) – a first for Thailand International Boat Show A Luxury Lifestyle Event, the yachting awards will be hosted by Robb Report and will be presented at a Gala Dinner the evening before the show opens.

Wade Pearce, Founder & Director of SG Marine Guide Pte, Ltd. and Thai Marine Guide has been appointed a consultant and brand ambassador – Pearce will organise the Thailand Yachting Conference as well as consult to organisers JAND Events.

Aligned with the Thai government’s desire to stimulate yacht tourism, organisers JAND Events are working closely with the Thai Yachting Business Association, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, the Tourism Authority of Thailand, the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau, as well as industry stakeholders and media partners to promote Thailand as a world-class yachting hub.

The Thailand International Boat Show A Luxury Lifestyle Event will be held 11-14 January, 2024 at Royal Phuket Marina. For more information, visit

About JAND Events
JAND Events is a multinational team of Thailand-based professionals passionate about events. Led by CEO David Hayes who has over 30 years experience in the Events, Hospitality and Travel industries, JAND Events is the chosen partner for brands such as Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy, L’Oréal, Givenchy, Kenzo and more. JAND Events and Thailand International Boat Show are trading divisions of JAND Group Co., Ltd.

Sponsors of the 2024 Thailand International Boat Show
Supporting authorities: Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Phuket Province, Tourism Authority of Thailand and Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau, Thai Yachting Business Association. Host Sponsor: Royal Phuket Marina. VIP Lounge Presenting Sponsor: Cessna and Beechcraft by Textron Aviation. Official Suppliers: Thailand Marine Guide. Official Media Partners: Hot Magazine, Robb Report Thailand, SEA Yachting. Official Local Partners: Helicam, Phuket Marine Guide. PR & Marketing Support: Asia Sponsorship News, Infinity Communications, The Sponsorship Experts. and TAT Launch Explore Thai Taste to Boost Gastronomic Tourism and TAT Launch Explore Thai Taste to Boost Gastronomic Tourism - TRAVELINDEX - TOP25RESTAURANTS.comBangkok, Thailand, September 14, 2023 / TRAVELINDEX / Booking .com collaborates with Thailand’s Tourism Authority to unveil the “Thai Foodie Map,” spotlighting local eateries in lesser-known destinations, amplifying Thailand’s culinary heritage. Booking .com is joining forces with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) to launch the exciting ‘Explore Thai Taste’ campaign as gastronomic tourism continues to rise as a travel trend that transcends borders, attracting both foreign and local travelers seeking authentic culinary experiences. This collaborative effort aims to launch the “Thai Foodie Map”— a one-of-a-kind local guidebook that will highlight local eateries and food shops in secondary or alternative destinations across the country. This campaign not only celebrates Thailand’s rich culinary heritage, but it also uses the soft power of food to promote the country’s tourism to both domestic and international visitors.

Based on Booking .com research 75% of global travelers and 86% of Thai travelers seek authentic experiences that are representative of the local culture, with food being one of the top deciding factors for both Thai (89%) and global (77%) travelers. Thailand has a strong reputation for delicious cuisine, making it an ideal destination for food enthusiasts. Thai cuisine’s global popularity remains strong due to its diverse menu, which includes everything from the sweet and spicy flavors of Pad Thai to the aromatic green curries that tingle the taste buds. The #ExploreThaiTaste campaign capitalizes on this trend by encouraging visitors to visit lesser-known destinations outside of the country’s major cities.

Mr. Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, Deputy Governor for Marketing Communications, Tourism Authority of Thailand, said, “The Explore Thai Taste campaign is an open invitation to discover the soul of our nation through its flavors. Each bite is a journey through our rich heritage, and each dish carries the essence of our culture. We believe that by showcasing our diverse culinary landscape, we can help to promote Thai destinations, particularly in these secondary provinces. By sharing these hidden culinary gems, we’re not only creating a flavor-filled journey but also playing a vital role in highlighting the unique charm of Thailand’s diverse provinces. It’s a delicious way to celebrate our nation’s cultural delights.”

The heart of this campaign is the “Thai Foodie Map” – a comprehensive guide showcasing 40 hand-picked local restaurants from eight provinces, representing the diverse culinary offerings of Central, North, South, and Northeastern Thailand, that invites everyone to explore the authentic flavors of Thailand while encouraging domestic travel.

Chatsuda Lertpiriyakamol, Area Manager Partner Services Thailand and Indochina at Booking .com, said, “The #ExploreThaiTaste initiative aligns with Booking .com’s mission of making it easier for everyone to experience the world, and we believe that the Thai Foodie Map creation and introduction will serve as a delicious guideline for everyone to embark on a journey of unique taste and local culture, while celebrating the different flavors of each destination. We are thrilled to be working with the TAT on this campaign, who is our enthusiastic guides on this culinary adventure across Thailand. Through this collaboration, we aim to create an unforgettable and mindful gastronomic journey that encourages domestic travel while also supporting local communities across the country and enabling them to thrive.”

To bring these culinary journeys to life, Booking .com and TAT are collaborating with local food and travel bloggers eager to explore new destinations and share their culinary adventures in each region. They’re also partnering with ‘Travel Sustainable Properties’ on Booking .com in each recommended destination, offering eco-friendly accommodations that support local communities.

The Thai Foodie Map not only highlights regional delicacies, but also signature dishes from every corner of Thailand. The Thai Foodie Map promises a mouth-watering journey through Thailand’s culinary diversity, from the herbal curries of the South to the fiery Som Tam of the Northeast; as well as the savory delights of Central Thailand to the unique flavors of the North. To further assist travelers, detailed itineraries, recommended Travel Sustainable properties, and community-benefiting experiences will be published, ensuring that every adventure adheres to responsible tourism principles.

By celebrating local restaurants and engaging travelers, the Explore Thai Taste campaign under collaboration between Booking .com and TAT, showcases Thailand’s incredible culinary diversity while enriching travel experiences for both local and international tourists.

Phuket’s TOP25 Restaurants Awards Winners 2023 Revealed

Phuket's TOP25 Restaurants Awards Winners 2023 Revealed - TRAVELINDEX - TOP25RESTAURANTS.comPhuket, Thailand, September 12, 2023 / TRAVELINDEX /, the world’s first organization to use artificial intelligence (AI) to curate and recognize the finest dining establishments across the globe, is thrilled to unveil the much-anticipated list of the top 25 restaurants in Phuket for 2023. This year marks the third installment of the prestigious ranking, a testament to our commitment to celebrating culinary excellence in Phuket.

This year’s awards recognize the achievements of Phuket’s best 25 restaurants, chosen and ranked by the Restaurant Rating Index, an objective curation and measuring standard based on artificial intelligence and enhanced by professional discernment.

hom restaurant took the island’s top position for fine dining. hom is helmed by chef Ricardo Nunes, preparing fermentation-inspired cuisine with ingredients sourced from around Phuket. The restaurant in an “ethereal setting” was closely followed by L’Arôme by the Sea, the only French fine dining restaurant on the island where chef Yannick Hollenstein presents his interpretation of contemporary French cuisine. The top two restaurants were closely followed in third place by Jampa, a farm-to-fork concept where dishes change daily. In fourth and fifth positions, Pru located in the award-winning Trisara resort, and Samut serving fine Thai cuisine, focusing on local seafood enhanced with local ingredients.

Nine restaurants were newly awarded and included in the top 25, among them HEH, the first Australian fine dining in Phuket; Semi di Tsubu, the first Itameshi restaurant in Thailand, blending the best of Japanese and Italian cuisine; and Su Va Na, surprising guests with a marine dining experience.

Founded by Bernard Metzger, the visionary behind the TOP25 Restaurants Guide series, has consistently set the gold standard in the culinary world. Since 2018, our annual list and awards have been powered by the Travelindex-owned and patented “Restaurant Rating Index.” This multi-assets index evaluates various facets of dining establishments, including the quality of food, ambience and comfort, value for money, and social indicators such as online presence, social markers, online footprint, media engagement, and review content analysis by AI. The Restaurant Rating Index is recognized as a benchmark for rating quality restaurants, and chefs aspire to be listed in the TOP25 Restaurants because it not only increases their restaurant’s reputation but also attracting discerning diners seeking unparalleled culinary experiences.

While this year’s event marked the first award ceremony for Phuket, we are proud to note that earlier in June 2023, hosted the TOP25 Restaurants Bangkok awards ceremony, adding to the rich tapestry of culinary recognition in the region.

The TOP25 Restaurants Phuket Awards 2023 event took place on September 11, 2023, at the luxurious InterContinental Resort & Spa Phuket. This gathering marked a significant milestone as it was the first in-person event since the inception of the rankings, further highlighting the resilience and vibrancy of the culinary scene in Phuket.

A highlight of the evening was the presentation of the prestigious trophies to each of the top 25 restaurants Phuket award winners. These elegant trophies featured the restaurant’s name and its 2023 rank and were personally presented by Mr. Lertchai Wangtrakuldee, Director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Phuket Office. This added a touch of distinction to the evening, underscoring the significance of this recognition.

THE TOP25 Restaurants Phuket 2023 –
Ranked by the Restaurant Rating Index ( )

  1. hom, Fermentation Based
  2. L’Arôme by the Sea, Modern French
  3. JAMPA, Sustainable Cuisine
  4. PRU, Natural Thai
  5. Samut, Modern Thai
  6. Nitan, Innovative Thai
  7. Suay, Northeastern Thai
  8. Black Ginger, Modern Thai
  9. Jaras, Modern Thai
  10. Acqua, Italian Fine Dining
  11. HEH, Contemporary Australian
  12. Tengoku, Japanese
  13. Takieng, Authentic Thai
  14. Ta Khai, Thai Seafood
  15. Saffron, Classic Thai
  16. Age, Classic Grill
  17. Semi di Tsubu, Itameshi
  18. Blue Elephant Phuket, Royal Thai Cuisine
  19. Bon Pan-Asian Tapas, Pan-Asian Tapas
  20. Siam Supper Club, Steakhouse
  21. Akoya, Coastal Tapas
  22. Baan Rim Pa, Royal Thai Cuisine
  23. Talung Thai, Modern Thai
  24. Su Va Na, Marine Dining
  25. Big Fish, Seafood

In addition to Phuket, Travelindex also publishes TOP25 Restaurants Guides in the following vibrant dining destinations: Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Delhi. Visit to explore these culinary hubs and discover the best dining experiences each city has to offer.

About TOP25 Restaurants International, a division of Travelindex Group, is the world’s first independent rating system based on artificial intelligence combined with human expertise, dedicated to identifying and celebrating the finest dining establishments around the world. Through the Restaurant Rating Index, a pioneering standard in culinary evaluation, we recognize restaurants that consistently deliver exceptional dining experiences. Our mission is to promote culinary excellence and provide discerning diners with valuable insights into the world of fine dining.

With a global presence in vibrant city destinations, including Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Delhi, and more, we’re dedicated to promoting culinary excellence and offering discerning diners valuable insights into the realm of fine dining. As we continue to expand our culinary horizons, follow us on Instagram @top25restaurants for the latest updates and discoveries. The annual TOP25 Awards shine a spotlight on the most outstanding restaurants, presenting the ultimate collection of dining venues from around the globe.

Visit us online for more information about TOP25 Restaurants and follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter and YouTube.

About Travelindex Group
Travelindex is a content-driven ecosystem for the travel and tourism sectors. The media group operates an open and free digital platform, connecting directly millions of travelers worldwide, providing inspiration and advice for discerning tourists. Travelindex Group is a media partner of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and a Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Preferred Partner.

Visit us online for more information about Travelindex and follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter and YouTube.

About the InterContinental Resort & Spa Phuket
Inspired by Phuket’s natural landscape, InterContinental® Phuket Resort is a luxury beachfront hideaway featuring 221 elegantly appointed rooms and villas overlooking the Andaman Sea. The resort’s five restaurants and bars offer contemporary Thai fine-dining at Jaras, international gourmet fare at Pinto, poolside favorites and craft cocktails at Pine Beach Bar, Japanese cuisine inspired by the ancient techniques and presentation of Osaka’s cooking masters at Tengoku, and organic coffee, tea, and delicacies at Devas’ Lounge. Resort facilities include Club InterContinental® Lounge, Sati Spa & Wellness®, six swimming pools with breath-taking views, a well-equipped Fitness Centre, tennis court, and the Planet Trekkers Kids Club for multi-generational recreation. Located on the secluded part of Kamala Beach, just a 30-minute drive from Phuket International Airport, the InterContinental Phuket Resort has already garnered international awards such as ‘2019 Readers Choices: The Best Overseas Hotel’ from Travel + Leisure China ‘2019 Best Overseas Hotel’ from Voyage, China, 2022 TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice Award, and LEED Gold Certification since its official opening in November 2019.

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Thapanee Kiatphaiboon Began Her Role as New TAT Governor

Thapanee Kiatphaiboon Began Her Role as New TAT Governor - TRAVELINDEX - VISITTHAILAND.netBangkok, Thailand, September 11, 2023 / TRAVELINDEX / Ms. Thapanee Kiatphaiboon today began her role as the new Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). Having been with the TAT in 1999 after earning a master’s degree in science from the University of Surrey in the UK, Ms. Thapanee has held various positions within the organisation, including Deputy Governor for Tourism Products and Business, and most recently Deputy Governor for Domestic Marketing.

In her most recent role as TAT Deputy Governor for Domestic Marketing, Ms. Thapanee initiated various tourism initiatives to help drive Thailand’s economy. Among them included the workation in Thailand, faith and religious tourism routes, and solo travels – which helped stimulate 151.45 million domestic trips in 2022 – about 88% of the record year in 2019 – and generated 641.5 billion Baht.

In her role as Deputy Governor for Tourism Products and Business, Ms. Thapanee was recognised for her leadership in initiating the Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration (SHA) certification programme that enabled hotels and services to meet specific health and safety standards. The programme became a mandatory requirement for hotels seeking to register as quarantine facilities during the period of strict COVID-19 control measures and also received global recognition in alignment with the WTTC SafeTravels protocols.

She also initiated the Special Tourist Visa (STV) scheme to promote the reopening of Thailand, which led to subsequent entry schemes, including Villa Quarantine, Yacht Quarantine and Golf Quarantine, as well as the Phuket Sandbox, which has been recognised internationally as the model for the country’s reopening.

Recognised as a social media and technology savvy individual, Ms. Thapanee has played a key role in utilising technology and social media in the promotion and development of Thailand’s tourism. Some of her outstanding achievements in this area have included the Google Street View project in cooperation with Google Thailand, and the ‘Amazing Thailand’ social media platforms.

As an advocate of Thailand’s tourism, Ms. Thapanee has been instrumental in the development of various special interest tourism products, including health and wellness tourism, yacht and cruise tourism, and community tourism, as well as the “King’s Wisdom for Sustainable Tourism” project, which won the PATA Grand Awards 2018 in the category of Education and Training.

In her earlier years with the TAT, Ms. Thapanee was widely recognised for her contribution towards the promotion and development of intra-regional travel within the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS).

UNWTO World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism Returns to San Sebastián

UNWTO World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism Returns to San Sebastián - TRAVELINDEX - TOP25RESTAURANTS.comDonostia-San Sebastian, Spain, September 13, 2023 / TRAVELINDEX / The World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism will return to Donostia-San Sebastian in Spain (5-7 October) to focus on how tourism can foster rural development, build economic resilience, and preserve cultural heritage.

Held under the theme ‘Gastronomy Tourism: Back to the roots‘, the Forum will put the spotlight on the connections between product, gastronomy and tourism. Over three days, industry professionals, leading experts, and institutional representatives will engage in live debates, keynote speeches, hands-on workshops and live cooking demonstrations with local and international chefs and producers.

Top forum for sector leaders

The event will welcome many of the leading figures of global gastronomy and tourism, such as Qu Dongyu, General Director of FAO; Paolo Di Croce, Director General of Slow Food (Italy); Célia Tunc, Secretary General of Collège Culinaire de France; Fatmata Binta, winner of the BCWP 2022 and who will be appointed on the occasion UNWTO Ambassador for Responsible Tourism ; and confirmed speakers from Brazil, Croatia, Ecuador, France, Ghana, Italy, Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Spain and Switzerland.

Furthermore, forum attendees will have the opportunity to choose from five different excursions to experience and savor the local gastronomy: “Rioja Alavesa, excellence in wine tourism”, “Rural flavours of the Basque Country and the Idiazabal territory”, “Urola Kosta: fishing villages, landscapes and dream flavours”, “A sea of mountains, Gorbeialdea and Arratia Valley” and “Bizkaia – Urdaibai coast”.

Underscoring the significance of preserving culinary traditions, this edition will also commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Mediterranean Diet’s inclusion on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list. Additionally, the side-event “Culinary Plaza” organized by Basque Culinary Center will spotlight culinary specialties from destinations including Azerbaijan, Botswana, Porto (Portugal), Saudi Arabia and Zimbabwe. Residents around Donostia-San Sebastián will be able to access the Forum’s venue at Tabakalera.

In addition, within the framework of the Forum, a UNWTO Gastronomy Pitch Challenge will also be held alongside Culinary Action! (the entrepreneurship area of Basque Culinary Center), where selected finalists from UNWTO Startup Competitions will pitch their technology-driven innovative proposals and solutions for gastronomy tourism. In order to welcome and connect participants from around the world, the Forum will be held in a hybrid format.

Advancing sustainability

Building on the Global Roadmap on Food Waste Reduction in Tourism, launched during the previous edition of the Forum, this year’s conversations will advance discussions on reducing food waste, promoting circularity, and combating climate change within gastronomy tourism. Sustainable practices, encompassing the reduction of carbon footprint, the promotion of seasonal and local produce, and the shift to circular economy models, will be showcased.

The Forum has been co-organized by UNWTO and the Basque Culinary Center since 2015 with the aim of promoting the exchange of experiences between experts in tourism and gastronomy, identify good practices and promote gastronomy tourism as a driver of sustainable development.

Professionals interested in attending the 8th UNWTO World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism can register online now.

The Forum’s has been presented by Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary General of the UNWTO; Joxe Mari Aizega, General Director of Basque Culinary Center; Félix De Paz García, Deputy Director General for Tourism Cooperation and Competitiveness of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism; Javier Hurtado, Minister of Tourism, Trade and Consumer Affairs of the Basque Government; and Azahara Domínguez, Deputy of Mobility, Tourism and Territorial Planning, Provincial Council of Guipuzkoa.

This year’s Forum is organized by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Basque Culinary Center (BCC), with the support of the Basque Government, the Provincial Council of Guipuzkoa, the City Council of San Sebastián, and the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism of Spain.

UNWTO Welcomes Mexican States to Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action

UNWTO Welcomes Mexican States to Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action - TRAVELINDEXLéon, Mexico, September 8, 2023 / TRAVELINDEX / UNWTO has worked with tourism leaders from across Mexico to accelerate the sector’s shift to greater sustainability.

At the Sustainable Social Tourism Summit (León, 30 August – 2 September), UNWTO welcomed new high-level signatories to the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism. The Secretariats of State for Tourism of Ciudad de Mexico, Queretaro, Guerrero, Quintana Roo, Nuevo Leon, all signed up to the landmark declaration, designed to guide tourism to Net-Zero emissions by 2050 at the latest. They join the Secretariat of State of Tourism of Guanajuato which signed up at the COP27 United Nations climate change conference in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. The Secretary of State of Tourism of Guanajuato, Mr. Juan José Álvarez Brunel, heads the Sustainability Coordination of the National Association of Secretaries of tourism of Mexico A.C. (ASETUR) and led the discussion of climate action in tourism at sub-national level since becoming a signatory.

“I greatly appreciate the assistance of my counterparts working for national tourism and the commitment to undertake climate change actions through the Glasgow Declaration. We have the honor to have the support of the UNWTO in this important event” said Mr. Juan José Álvarez Brunel.

“These commitments are important and affirm the role of tourism as a high-impact sector for Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP). We commend those leading actors undergoing transformation well ahead of the upcoming international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in marine environments, currently under negotiation,” said Jorge Laguna-Celis, Head, One Planet Network (10YFP), UN Environment Programme.

A Circular Economy of Plastics in Focus

During the Summit, a new round of private sector stakeholders were also welcomed as signatories of the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative (GTPI) – another lighthouse initiative led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and UNWTO within the framework of the One Planet Sustainable Tourism Programme. The signature reflects one of the outcomes of the Project Caribe Circular, led by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) in collaboration with Sustentur. This joint effort brought the total of the GTPI signatories to 200 organizations.

New signatories span across Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Belize and include hotel chains (Las Brisas Huatulco, Grupo Lomas Travel, Karisma Hotels & Resorts, Grupo Presidente), independent hotels (Breathless Cancun Soul Resort and Spa, Boca Olas Resort & Villas/Dale Dale Café, Hotel Gran Costa Azul, Manzanillo Caribbean Resort, Pargos Restaurante y Hotel, Roca Sunzal, Sunbreeze Hotel, Hotel Hacienda Tijax, TreeCasa Hotel & Resort Nicaragua, Vega Inn and Garden, Victoriano), tour operators (Verde Sentir) and other tourism stakeholders (Asociación Nacional de Cadenas Hoteleras).

Collaborative Approach to Sustainable Consumption and Production

UNWTO is leading the One Planet Sustainable Tourism Programme and cooperates closely with UNEP and to accelerate the implementation of SDG 12, in line with the Global Strategy on Sustainable Consumption and Production 2030 which highlights the importance of collective approaches at national and sub-national level.