There’s a Taste for Norwegian Seafood and Tourism in Thailand

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If you enjoy “authentic” Japanese sashimi at a buffet in Thailand, chances are you’re enjoying one of Norway’s most important exports to Thailand.

Thailand is the fastest growing market in Southeast Asia for Norwegian seafood, especially salmon, says Kjersti Rodsmoen, the Norwegian Ambassador in Thailand.  “Thais are buying more and more salmon, and we’re very happy about that,” Ms. Rodsmoen said in a recent interview.

Norwegian ambassador to Thailand Kjersti Rodsmoen and her faithful friend ‘Remba’ In 2018 alone, Norway exported 29,000 tons of or more than 4 billion Baht, an increase of about 10 percent from the year before.

This amount is about one percent of the total 2.7 million tons exported by Norway in that year. Seafood trade, largely composed of salmon and mackerel, alone amounts for more than 21 percent of the entire worth of bilateral trade between Norway and Thailand, which was around USD 640 million in 2018.

The amount is significant enough that the Norwegian Seafood Council, a public company by Norway’s fisheries ministry, officially relocated its Southeast Asian office from Singapore to Thailand earlier in 2019.

Salmon isn’t the only thing Norway is sending downstream to Thailand.  Thailand is the second most popular tourist destination for Norwegians second only to Spain, with 130,000 to 140,000 Norwegians, both tourists and business travelers, visiting every year.

About 5,000 Norwegian expats reside in Thailand, with the number bumping up to almost 9,000 during the Norwegian winter. Some are retired and live in Pattaya, Phuket as well as Hua Hin.  Cha-Am is also a favourite destination for Norwegian travelers, especially with the annual Wirkola Cup happening this month when Norwegian golfers descend on the town.

They also bring some of their own entertainment with a country & western night planned on the street at Soi Long Beach on 2nd November featuring ‘The Long Riders’ before the ‘Dansegalla’ gets underway from 4th November.

Around 20,000 Thai expats reside in Norway, with Thais visited Norway as tourists in 2018. From January to August 2019, there was a 20 percent increase in Thai tourist numbers to the Land of the Midnight Sun.

Ms. Rodsmoen, 56, has worked in the Norwegian foreign service since 1988 and been stationed in places like New York, Mexico, and Latin America before taking up her Thai post in 2018.

Norwegians really are lovers of the outdoors, Rodsmoen said when asked to confirm or deny a stereotype about the country.  “A good stereotype is that we are really outdoorsy and love nature. I can confirm that Norwegians really love to wander in the mountains and the cold,” she said.

By Hua Hin Today

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