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Understanding tourists' patronage of Thailand foodservice establishments: An exploratory decisional attribute approach

Pattarapong Burusnukul (Nutrition, Hospitality, and Retailing Department, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, USA)
Margaret Binkley (Hospitality Management, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA)
Piyavan Sukalakamala (The Hospitality College, Johnson & Wales University, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 9 August 2011




The purpose of this paper is to examine international tourist consumption behavior and decisional attributes in the patronage of foodservice establishments in Thailand with a focus on sanitation.


Data from a convenience sample (n=129) were quantitatively analyzed using descriptive statistics, t‐tests, ANOVA, and correlations.


Tourists tended to be neutral on most attributes in selecting foodservice establishments. Key attributes included familiarity with food products for selecting international franchised restaurants, location and desire to experience authentic Thai food from locally owned restaurants, and location for eating establishments at accommodation facilities. Based on sanitation concerns, tourists lacked confidence in selecting any type of establishments, especially street vendors, and awareness of the “Clean Food Good Taste” (CFGT) Program was low. Tourists' perceived overall sanitation standard in Thailand correlated with their selection of locally owned restaurants and street vendors.

Research limitations/implications

Convenience sampling is used due to the transient nature of the population. The English language questionnaire excluded tourists from Asian countries whose cultures are similar to Thai. Generalizability and interpretation should be approached with caution. Nonetheless, this study should bring new interest for future research, addressing tourist consumption behavior pertaining to food safety practices and food tourism in Asia.

Practical implications

Suggestions are made for foodservice operators to better attract tourists and for promoting the CFGT Program. Increased awareness of the program could result in a lower number of tourists affected by foodborne illnesses and could help to promote tourism.


The paper is useful to both practitioners and academicians interested in tourist consumption behavior, food safety, and food tourism by revealing initial insight into how and why tourists select foodservices in unfamiliar environments.



Burusnukul, P., Binkley, M. and Sukalakamala, P. (2011), "Understanding tourists' patronage of Thailand foodservice establishments: An exploratory decisional attribute approach", British Food Journal, Vol. 113 No. 8, pp. 965-981.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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