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Thailand’s Soft Power: Crafting a Global Identity Beyond Borders

Thailand’s Soft Power: Crafting a Global Identity Beyond Borders

In the realm of international diplomacy and influence, Thailand is making strides in the deployment of “soft power” initiatives. Coined during Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s tenure, the concept of soft power has been a focal point for the government, with political parties, especially Pheu Thai, actively incorporating it into their election campaigns.

Pheu Thai has launched the “1 Family 1 Soft Power” slogan, drawing parallels with the successful One Tambon One Product (OTOP) initiative. This move has sparked debates about the practicality of every family contributing to the nation’s soft power.

Party leader Paetongtarn Shinawatra has taken a central role in driving the soft power agenda. Named deputy chair of the National Soft Power Strategy Committee by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, Paetongtarn is also a key member of the National Soft Power Development Committee, tasked with shaping policies and presenting proposals.

The success of the Thai film “Undertaker,” which grossed nearly 1 billion baht, brought soft power into the political spotlight. However, director Thiti Srinual emphasized that soft power involves more than just photo opportunities, raising questions about politicians’ understanding of the concept.

Pheu Thai has actively crafted its soft power agenda, labeling it the “National Soft Power Model.” Key initiatives include the establishment of the Thailand Creative Content Agency (THACCA) under the Prime Minister’s Office. THACCA will adopt an economic development model focusing on fostering creative industries.

To fund these soft power policies, a proposed budget of 10 billion baht is on the table, following the model of the successful Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA). The initial phase aims to consolidate funds from various ministries, amounting to 7 billion baht annually.

Pheu Thai is working on draft legislation for the establishment of THACCA, with plans to present the draft bill to the Cabinet within six months. A parliamentary review is scheduled for the following year.

Development strategies for the soft power industry encompass 11 key areas, including cuisine, Muay Thai, global festival cities, tourism hubs, high-quality music, the “Books Build the Nation” initiative, film and television, game industry hub, art, Thai brands, and fashion.

Simultaneously, the National Soft Power Strategy Committee’s Festival Branch has unveiled plans for the current and upcoming years. With a goal of organizing over 10,000 events, the committee aims to create a distinctive image for the country, incorporating unique elements into festivals like Loy Krathong and Songkran to attract new-generation tourists.

As Thailand leverages its soft power initiatives, it remains to be seen how these strategies will shape the nation’s global image and influence in the years to come. Travelers and enthusiasts alike can look forward to a diverse range of cultural, artistic, and creative experiences emerging from the heart of Thailand’s soft power initiatives.

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