Bangkok, August 31, 2011 — Thailand will be hosting two bartender championships in September 2011 – the Thailand Bartender Championship 2011 organized by the Thai Hotels Association (THA) on 15 September followed by the ASEAN Bartender Finals for 2011 on 16 September. Both events will be held at the Royal Paragon Hall Exhibition and Convention Centre on the fifth floor of Siam Paragon in Bangkok.

The ASEAN Bartender Finals for 2011 is being hosted in Thailand with the support and involvement of the ASEAN Hotel & Restaurant Association. In addition to raising industry standards and levels of professionalism, the event brings together industry professionals from around the ASEAN region and provides a valuable forum for networking, exchange of ideas and sharing of expert knowledge.

“By hosting the annual Thailand Bartender Championship along with the finals for the 2011 8th ASEAN Bartender Championships, we present a rare opportunity for contestants to meet new contacts, network with their regional counterparts, and forge new friendships,” says Mr Prakit Chinamourphong, President of the Thai Hotels Association (THA), outlining the importance of the bartender championships in the local, regional and international contexts. Active exchange promotes a new level of creativity and spurs innovation in the design and creation of exciting new recipes for cocktail mixes – ones that are a feast for the eyes as much as they are pleasing to the palate – and fun for those who take pleasure in them.

“The championships are also important events because they promote a healthy spirit of competition as well as collaboration, and this helps raise the bar on industry standards overall,” says Mr Prakit. They also encourage the adoption of responsible and ethical practices. Furthermore, the recognition granted creates pride in the bartending profession which in itself is an important aspect of the F&B and hospitality industries.

“The promotion of such activities is one way in which professional trade associations such as, the Thai Hotels Association, Thai Federation of F&B Management Clubs & Associations, and our ASEAN counterpart – the ASEAN Hotel & Restaurant Association – ensure that our members achieve a high level of readiness and are well-prepared for the launch of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015,” says Mr Prakit.

Both the Thailand Bartender Championship 2011 and the ASEAN Bartender Finals for 2011 have attracted considerable interest and support in cash and kind from both the state and private sectors. Key supporters of both events include the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), the ASEAN Hotel & Restaurant Association, Thai Air Asia, Diageo Moët Hennessy (Thailand), and Bangkok Exhibition Services (BES) – organizer of Food & Hotel Thailand 2011, a leading event for Thailand’s F&B and hospitality industries.

The Thailand Bartender Championship 2011 and the ASEAN Bartender Finals for 2011 have both been incorporated into the official programme of the 19th edition of Food & Hotel Thailand 2011 (FHT2011), a dedicated event for the hospitality industry organized by BES.

Billed as “Asia’s 5-Star Hospitality Event”, the 12,000-square-metre trade event is designed to fulfil the needs of Thailand’s growing hospitality industry and food service sector which includes over 100,000 restaurants and 5,000 hotels and resorts.

According to BES, more than 750 companies from around the world are expected to participate. These include pavilions from Japan, New Zealand, Poland, South Africa and the US. It is expected to attract more than 27,000 trade visitors from more than 60 countries. Over 89 per cent out of last year’s visitors (26,037 from 62 countries) have already confirmed their attendance.

“The Tourism Authority of Thailand has been a steadfast supporter of the Thai Hotels Association and Thai Federation of F&B Management Clubs & Associations in the organization of activities and events that help to establish new and higher benchmarks for the industry,” says Mr Suraphon Svetasreni, Governor of TAT. He notes that TAT has been a firm supporter of bartender championships in conjunction with F&B industry events through the years.

“We recognize the importance of promoting higher levels of professionalism and industry standards and strengthening the capabilities of all individuals working in the Thai tourism and hospitality industries,” says the TAT Governor. “This ensures that Thailand’s tourism industry remains highly competitive regionally and internationally. It strengthens the Thailand brand and establishes a positive perception of the destination among international visitors.”

Diageo Moët Hennessy (Thailand) Ltd., the leading importer and distributor of wines and spirits in Thailand, is a staunch supporter of bartender competitions in Thailand as well as around the ASEAN region and will be providing the alcohol for both contests.

Thai Air Asia will be sponsoring air travel for all contestants from ASEAN member countries as well as from around Thailand. Thai Air Asia is also sponsoring two return trip tickets for travel within ASEAN to be presented to the overall winner of the 8th ASEAN Bartender Championships.

True Vision (Plc), Thailand’s leading cable satellite television operator owned by True Corporation, is covering both events. Special segments featuring the bartender championships are to be aired on Travel Channel/Home and Food, TNN, TAN and True Inside.

The Thai Federation of F&B Management Clubs & Associations is responsible for staffing, coordination and logistical support.

According to Mr Boonrawd Bosereewong, THA Chairman of Special Activities, the Thailand Bartender Championship 2011 will feature two contest categories – Classic and Flair. The winner of the 2011 Thailand Bartender Championship finals will go on to compete in the ASEAN Bartender Finals for 2011.

Winners in the ASEAN Bartender Finals for 2011 will receive the following:

The overall winner will be presented with a trophy and a cash prize of 25,000 Baht plus a token awarded by Dr Surin Pitsuwan, Secretary-General of ASEAN.

The first runner-up will take home a trophy and a cash prize of 15,000 Baht awarded by Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism and Sports.

The second runner-up will walk away with a trophy and a cash prize of 10,000 Baht awarded by the Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

The FHT2011 programme will also feature the following highlights:

Thai Hotel Association Annual Congress

FBAT Wine Challenge

Restaurant seminar

Housekeeping competition

Thai Chefs Competition

Hospitality and Retail Technology Asia, an exhibition showcasing the total IT solutions for the region’s fast-expanding hotel, retail and restaurant sectors.