11 July 2024

The National Soft Power Development Committee (NSPDC) has decided, in principle, to approve about Bt5.1 billion to promote 11 elements of Thailand’s soft power, from food and festivals to music, fashion and Muay Thai.

There will be as many as 10,000 activities, with Songkran being the key festive activity which is expected to generate about Bt35 billion in revenues, according to Chadatip Chutrakul, chair of the festival subcommittee of the NSPDC.

She said that the Songkran festival, to be referred to as “The World Water Festival”, will be held throughout the whole month of April next year. Bangkok will be the main venue, with three days and nights of processions along Rajadamnern Avenue and three entertainment stages at Sanam Luang, featuring boxing, movies, music and other festive activities.

She said that famous international artists will be invited to the festival, adding that the organisers intend to claim Songkran as Thailand’s intellectual property.

The funding will be distributed to festivals (Bt1Bn), tourism (Bt711m), food (Bt1Bn), the arts, (Bt380m), design (Bt310m), sports, especially Thai boxing (Bt500m), music (Bt144), books (Bt69m), movies and drama series (Bt545m), fashion (Bt268m) and games (Bt374m).

Dr Surapong Suebwonglee, vice chair of the committee, said that the estimated 5.1 billion baht might not be allocated from the 2024 fiscal budget, which is yet to be approved by parliament, but the committee plans to seek the money from the Central Fund.