Food has been a significant factor in the growth of creative tourism, and local dishes have been used to attract tourists because of their distinctive appearance, flavours, and ingredients. However, for many, dishes still lack a ‘wow factor’, so Chiang Mai University has come up with an idea to transform local dishes into delicious premium ones using the ‘art of food decoration’. The Tai Lue community in Ban Luang Nuea village in Doi Saket district, Chiang Mai, was selected as the model community because of its distinctive food culture. This value-adding initiative is in line with the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research, and Innovation’s project on creative industry development to drive the local economy in collaboration with the Department of Industry Promotion, Ministry of Industry.
The Centre of Tourism Research and Development, CMU, and Asst.Prof.Dr. Patavara Pathomrungsiyonggul, Assistant Dean of the Faculty of Agro-industry, led a team of volunteer students from the Faculty of Agro-industry, the Faculty of Engineering, and the College of Arts, Media and Technology (CAMT) to the model community in Luang Nuea. The project titled, Youth for the Nation: Creative Local Tourism Potential Development in Luang Nuea Subdistrict, Doi Saket District, Chiang Mai, aimed to host activities to develop technology and food-management skills among local entrepreneurs. A chef from the ‘Blackitch Artisan Kitchen’, a chef’s table style restaurant, was invited to share tips for food decoration to create a perfect combination of aesthetic and local flavour that adds values to local menus, enhancing the image of the local tourism industry. Moreover, locals received training in technology such as computer software, mobile applications, and social media for promoting ‘Local Dishes to Try’ from participating students who also contributed to the administration of the local business plan, training, and tourism promotion videos, which was a unique opportunity for them to get hands-on experience. The purpose of this project was to foster strong marketing skills and the incorporation of technology and innovation in cultural capital to drive the Creative Industry Village initiative.
CMU recognises the importance of field engagement to the development of the local food industry along with the community itself. Through publicity of local food identity and awareness of the values of the local culture and wisdom among tourists, commercial success can be attained, leading to sustainable growth and tourism management.
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