Thailand is delighted that UNESCO has designated Phetchaburi as part of the world’s network of ‘City of Gastronomy 2021’ or ‘UNESCO Creative Cities Network’. The body’s Special Area Development Administration for Sustainable Tourism, is speeding up the preparation of a five-year plan to pioneer urban development, by upgrading outstanding resources of cities and communities to sustainability according to international standards, and preparing for study to be designated as a special area.
For Thailand, Phetchaburi is the 5th city that has been announced as a UCCN, following on from the previous 4: Phuket Province – 2015, Chiang Mai Province – 2017, Sukhothai Province and Bangkok – 2019. It is one of 49 cities around the world announced as part of the Creative Cities Network this year.
The progress of raising the standard of the city to be recognised internationally, is a policy and a plan that the Ministry of Tourism and Sports has given DASTA to carry out, hoping that it will help to develop and raise the ability to compete for the city’s tourist attractions to be recognised internationally. In particular it is expected the people in the Phetchaburi area will benefit, and the province will be developed according to the criteria set by UNESCO to cover the cultural society, the economy, and the environment. It should also help to promote the city to become better known to quality tourists, and also give it the opportunity to be selected as a venue or meeting place by the creative city network member countries.
These amount to 295 cities from more than 90 countries around the world, and bring about the exchange of knowledge and experiences between those member cities, and leads to sustainable urban development in the 21st century. With a distinctive identity in Phetchaburi’s food, the region is also a target area that DASTA is studying in order to prepare to declare it as a special area in the future, like Sukhothai. As for Phetchaburi Province, it is in the process of developing a roadmap for the 5-year period from 2022-2027, to be in line with supporting the development under the UCCN guidelines, and will continue to build from the identity of ‘The city of three flavours’.
It is the largest source of production in the country of salt, the cultivation and production of sugar palm, and the source of the best-flavoured lemons, all three products are part of the main ingredients for cooking and local wisdom and by bringing locally known agricultural products to create the local flavour of both savoury and sweet dishes. Phetchaburi is also outstanding in history, culture, and way of life, which is why the plan will focus on all sectors to participate in the movement together, both local and international activities are beneficial to the development and drive of the city, as well as supporting the initiation of learning exchange activities with creative city networks from abroad.
DASTA will work with network partners in the government sector, the private sector, the people’s sector and the local community, and emphasise the cooperation between the local community and the government in the city’s development. Specifically of the environment, social structure, economic structure, and the integration of cultural assets, history, customs, and local customs with the aim of creating cooperation between localities and promoting international development, creating a culture and sustainable development.
The UNESCO Creative Cities Network is a major project that UNESCO has been working on alongside the declaration of the World’s Natural and Historical Heritage Sites since 2004.