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Thais say ‘soft power’ can drive recovery but govt asleep at wheel

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The majority of Thais believe “soft power” is key to Thailand’s economic recovery but say the government is not doing enough to promote it, according to the latest survey by Suan Dusit Poll.

The June 13-16 poll surveyed 1,066 respondents nationwide for their opinions on the government’s campaign to promote Thailand via culture, food, arts and traditions.

It found that 78.36 per cent of respondents believed soft power would help revive the country’s economy. Meanwhile 77.23 per cent said it would help promote the country’s image to the global audience and 54.94 per cent said it would spur cultural conservation in Thailand.

Asked which aspect of soft power the government should focus on, 93.79 per cent said tourism, Thai culture and traditions; 82.58 per cent said Thai foods and desserts; 73.63 per cent said fashion and fabrics; 71.75 per cent said Thai sports, especially Muay Thai; and 64.49 per cent said Thai medicine and massage.

Asked what was the strong point of Thai soft power, 68.23 per cent said uniqueness and diversity, 61.37 per cent said it reflects Thai people’s way of life, and 58.55 per cent said its popularity among foreign tourists.

However, asked about weak points in the soft-power campaign, 86.09 per cent identified lack of long-term support from government, 62.03 per cent said lack of planning and direction, and 60.15 per cent said lack of comprehensive public relations.

In the open-ended section, some respondents suggested that the government should coordinate with all parties to promote soft power, set a long-term strategy that focuses not only on conservation but also on what sets Thai culture apart from others, and harness the power of the creative economy.

Published : June 25, 2022