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 February 18, 2004
The Tourism Authority Of Thailand Launches New Initiatives

 Two significant programs are being rolled out by the Tourism Authority of Thailand. Through its "Thai Cuisine of the World" campaign, the Thai Select restaurant awards will promote superior Thai cuisine internationally; and an innovative Thailand Elite Program will give luxury travelers the opportunity to enjoy a nationwide 'country club' experience.

Thai Select Program

To promote Thai cuisine to gourmands internationally while ensuring the overall quality of Thai restaurants overseas, the Thai government has introduced the Thai Select awards, presented to restaurants that pass a stringent test chaired by judges from both public and private sectors. As part of the "Thai Cuisine to the World" campaign, the program provides the cachet of a seal of approval by experts in Thai cuisine to restaurants providing culinary excellence. The Thai Select program also offers guidelines and standards to Thai restaurants worldwide. The goal is to promote the popularity of Thai cuisine from fifth worldwide to second by the year 2007.

The judging committee comprises representatives from Thai Airways International Public Company Limited, the Tourism Authority of Thailand, the Department of Export Promotion, the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, the Ministry of Public Health, and the Food Institute.

Thailand Elite Program

The Thailand Elite program is the first ever country membership club, offering exclusive benefits to individual and corporate members. Cardholders will receive discounts and complimentary services at many of Thailand's finest hotels, spas and golf courses. They will also become eligible for a five-year multiple-entry visa and benefit from expedited customs and immigration procedures at the international airport in Bangkok. An added benefit will be the ability to buy land in Thailand, where investment from foreigners is largely prohibited.

Membership in the exclusive program is $25,000 for a lifetime individual membership and $50,000 for a 30-year corporate membership. It is geared towards well-heeled individuals seeking a discriminating travel experience and VIP status. Before being accepted into membership, applicants will be thoroughly checked against international criminal watch lists to ensure security and safety. The program is fully commissionable to travel agents.