Thailand and Italy have agreed on a plan to jointly promote gastronomy and tourism between the two countries, while Italy in particular has expressed a wish to invest more in Thailand's flagship Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), said Nalinee Taveesin, the new Thai trade representative, on Sunday.
The nations share a view that the quality of their cuisine and tourist experiences offer opportunities for profitable cross-promotion, said Ms Nalinee, citing an agreement reached during her recent meeting with Paolo Dionisi, the Italian ambassador to Thailand.
"Both Thai and Italian national dishes are known to have their own unique identity and are popular worldwide,'' Ms Nalinee said.
In Thailand, there are more Italian eateries than the number of Italian people living in this country, and that's because Italian food is popular with Thai diners, she said.
Tourist destinations in Italy are also popular among Thai tourists travelling abroad, she said.
Currently, the number of Thai tourists visiting Italy is 10 times higher than the number of Italian tourists visiting Thailand, so this should be a good opportunity for Thailand to promote its tourism in Italy and encourage more Italian visitors to come to Thailand, she said.
In terms of investment opportunities, Italians see Thailand as a regional hub which makes it appealing to Italian investors, especially the EEC scheme, infrastructure, rail transport system and high-speed train technology.
The Italian state railways company is already a business ally of the Charoen Pokphand (CP) Group-led consortium that has won a bid to build the rail network to connect Don Mueang, Suvarnabhumi and U-Tapao airports, she said. The 650-billion-baht project has led to more than 16,000 new jobs being created, she said.
Italy has long been seen by Thailand as a trade gateway into Europe and Italy recently promised to support Thailand more on logistics, export and food safety, she said.