'Soft power' policy to entice tourists
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has issued a new soft power policy for tourism agencies to promote Thai culture as part of efforts to attract international visitors.
Government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri said on Wednesday the PM's policy focuses on the 5Fs -- food, film, fashion, fighting and festivals.
For food, the government will announce 2023 as the Year of Thai Gastronomy, Mr Anucha said. The government wants its agencies, including the Tourism Authority of Thailand, to promote walking streets and food fairs.
On film, the government aims to promote tourism routes based on film shooting locations across the country, he said.
Film city-tour packages will be launched, designed for fans of popular movies or TV series, similar to how the TV soap Bupphaesannivas (Love Destiny) attracted domestic and Asian tourists to visit Ayutthaya historical sites prior to the pandemic.
For the third F, fashion, Mr Anucha said the premier wanted to promote traditional Thai fabrics that can be worn on every occasion.
For fighting, the government will push Muay Thai as an international sport. On Feb 6, TAT will organise the Amazing Muay Thai Festival 2023 at Ratchaphakdi Park in Prachuap Khiri Khan's Hua Hin district.
The government expects to have 3,500 Muay Thai fighters participate in a wai khru performance in an act of respect to Muay Thai boxing teachers while also bagging a Guinness World Record, he said.
For the festive aspect, the government will promote and extend local festivals, such as the one-month light decoration along Yaowarat Road celebrating the Luna New Year this month.
The Thailand Tourism Festival Limited Edition 2023 will also be held mid-year to promote regional festivals and local products to a global audience.
Gen Prayut wanted Thai culture to contribute greatly to the country's tourism industry as it can be styled to match tourist activities, he said.