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Thai envoy for sharing knowledge

Chutintorn Sam Gongsakdi (left), with IIHM's Suborno Bose

Calcutta: He came to meet Thai students in the city and encourage extensive knowledge sharing between India and Thailand, especially in the field of cuisine and massages.

Chutintorn Sam Gongsakdi, the Thai ambassador to India, also toured the International Institute of Hotel Management (IIHM), Salt Lake, on Monday to get a first-hand idea about the opportunities in the city, the courses offered to international students and to sample some local cuisine.

Both the nations can boost their tourist inflow with more institutional and investment tie-ups, according to him.

"We want to reach out to the student community more aggressively," Gongsakdi said on the eve of Thai National Day.

There are five Thai students on the IIHM campus in Salt Lake. "These students have mostly grown up in Calcutta. I want more Thai students to come to India with the sole purpose of studying hotel management," he said.

The IIHM has a branch in Bangkok affiliated to Kasem Bundit University. More than 100 Indian students go there every year for a three-year course.

The students - apart from Indians and Thais, there are students from other countries - get to intern for six months in international hotel chains in Thailand or Malaysia.

"Around 15 per cent stay back in Thailand. The rest get jobs with the help of our placement cell in India," Suborno Bose, CEO and chief mentor, IIHM, said.

"We want more academic and creative exchanges," Gongsakdi added.

The ambassador had a taste of both Bengali and Thai cuisine during his two visits to the city. "The Thai cuisine here is more salty than back home. I realised Indians don't like fish sauce," he said tucking into some paturi on the IIHM campus.

He wanted more Thai students to have a first-hand knowledge of Indian cuisine, massages and other services so that they can handle tourists from this part better. "We want to learn more about ayurvedic massages from Indians and offer it along with our Thai spas," he said.

According to him most Indian students visit Thailand to study technology. "A lot of Indians work in Thailand. We are working on visa and provident fund matters so that the market can be opened up further," Gongsakdi said.

At present, there are eight Thai students in IIHM. "We are exploring tie-ups with other universities in Thailand for further exchange of skill and knowledge," Bose said.

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