2015 - The Discover Thainess Year

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Offline Newshound

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BANGKOK, 13 November 2014 (NNT) – The cabinet has approved the Ministry of Tourism and Sports (MOTS) proposal to name 2015 the Discover Thainess Year, appointing four working committees to drive the strategy forward.

The cabinet is reported to have approved the MOTS’ proposal to make 2015 the Discover Thainess Year running from January to December 2015.

The Discover Thainess campaign aims to present a new image of Thailand by emphasizing the great value each tourist will receive from visiting Thailand and to encourage practical developments in tourism, making tourism the key economic stimulant and social development tool.

The Discover Thainess year will change the tourism approach from the product approach to a value strategy. The value in Thai tourism will be the ‘Amazing Happiness’ value, which is the happiness gained from the right combination of many different aspects.

This tourism strategy will appeal to tourists from the current tourism market as well as the specialized market, namely the Wedding and Honeymoon market, the Golf market, the Eco-tourism market, the Health and Wellness market, and the Thai tourists market.

The campaign is divided into tourism products and services, public relations, the promotion of the foreign tourists market, and a promotion of the domestic tourist market.

The campaign will call for the establishment of a director's committee and a working committee to pursue the strategy.

The Prime Minister, as the President of the National Tourism Policy Committee, will act as President of the Director's Committee for the Discover Thainess Year. This committee will direct the work of the related agencies and monitor the progress of the campaign.

Four working committees will also be set up, namely the working committee on tourism products and services promotion, the working committee on the international market, the working committee on the domestic market, and the working committee on public relations for this campaign.


Offline Anton

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Missing: Thainess… If found, please return to TAT

Published: 16/01/2015 at 05:01 PM
Newspaper section: Guru
Writer: Sumati Sivasiamphai

Good golly folks, I don’t know what’s come over me! Suddenly I’ve found myself partaking in peculiar behaviours like watching baseball, eating hamburgers, shunning shopping malls, being on time, and patiently waiting for my turn in line! It’s as if some alien form has possessed me…

Luckily, these shocking traits may soon be eradicated when the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) reminds me of what it truly means to be Thai.

The TAT kicked off its “2015 Discover Thainess” campaign this week by closing a bunch of roads from Siam Square to Lumpini Park for a grand parade and extravagant performances. Nothing says “Welcome to Thailand” like ridiculous traffic jams, amirite?

While it’s understood that this campaign is meant to promote international and domestic tourism, as well as preserve Thai culture, I’m a bit confused by the gimmick.

More specifically, what is “Thainess”, where did it go, and how exactly are we supposed to “discover” it?

In the TAT’s own press-release-filled words, “Thainess” is “the distinct character of the Thai people and our unique culture.” Well, that was easy enough to answer!

Oh, except isn’t it impossible to lump the many shapes, forms and smells of Thai people into one abstract concept? I’m sure there are Thai people out there who don’t wai their elders, put their feet on the table and, god forbid, can’t handle spicy food.

To further showcase how difficult it is to define a whole country’s population, I can say from personal experience that my “Thainess” is often questioned on a daily basis.


Because I don’t “look” Thai! Despite being born and bred in Bangkok – aka Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit... oh snap, who’s Thai now?! – as well as paying hard-earned taxes to potentially unethical officials, my Indian ethnicity prevents people from believing I am Thai. Apparently having caramel-coloured skin is not part of the Thainess definition, a problem that can potentially only be solved if I start lathering on the much-revered whitening cream.

Fine, I might be viewing “Thainess” through a superficial lens, but this campaign also reeks of pla ra. The TAT’s press release regarding this campaign additionally states that it aims to “showcase the hospitable character of the Thai people and the many cultural assets of Thailand that make it a unique tourist destination.”

Again, who are these Thai people the campaign aims to promote? Yes, I agree there are many things about Thailand that make it a great place to visit, but how does this campaign address Thais who aren’t hospitable? Does this mean the end of scammers in the service industry, corrupt authorities, and locals who may just be having a bad day?

Despite the necessity and importance of helping Thailand’s economy flourish, it’s a shame this campaign is using Thai people as an artificially-constructed brand and attempting to market it to the world as such.

It would have been better if the TAT was just honest and said they actually want people to forget all the negative press that Thailand is getting, and return to the good ol’ days when guidebooks pretended we are a land of smiling people, enjoying our daily activities of Muay Thai, puppet shows, and traditional Thai dance.

But I suppose facing up to reality and dealing with our issues in a logical way wouldn’t help us discover our Thainess, would it?

Bangkok Post article
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Offline sushi

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Perhaps the Thais need to concentrate on 'fairness'  :o

Anyone born in the UK would be considered British irrespective of skin colour.  I can't say I'm surprised that Thais born of Indian parents in Thailand are not accepted as real Thais.  Thais, as a sweeping generalisation, are some of the most racist, prejudiced ignorant people I've met. Thainess!!!.....much as I love Thailand, Thai people need to collectively take their heads out of their own arses!

I can only go on my own recent experiences, but when I've visited tourist areas recently, the numbers being reported by TAT are way off.  I think it's going to take a bit more than a glossy ad campaign to save the Thai tourism sector in the short term.  The numbers of tourists are down massively, the Russian currency is suffering and people tend to book long haul trips far in advance.

In mid November I was in Ko Chang and I've never seen it so quiet there.  I've been there in low season many times and even endured monsoon weather on the island, but even those trips had double the numbers of visitors that were there in the high season.  What was the response to this scarcity of tourists?....that's right put the prices up!! 

I went to Bali a few days after the bombings in 2005, needless to say numbers were significantly down.  No prices were put up, in fact many rooms tours etc. were heavily discounted, people were actually stopping us in the street and thanking us for still coming. 

Offline Anton

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"Thainess" is the subject of a new permanent exhibition at Museum Siam in Bangkok, named "Decoding Thainess" กอดรหัสไทย:

What price Thainess?

The new permanent exhibition at Museum Siam examines through interactive displays the evolution of Thai culture

EIGHTEEN MONTHS after wrapping up its first interactive permanent exhibition "An Essay of Thailand", which traced the origin of Thais from pre-historic times to the modern day, the newly revamped Museum Siam is once again open and has a new permanent exhibition that explores diverse aspects of Thainess.

While "An Essay of Thailand" aimed to rediscover the country's history and cultural roots, the new show "Decoding Thainess" employs metaphors as well as thought-provoking and critical approaches in looking at who we were in the past and are today through 14 rooms spread across two floors.

The Nation full article

The museum's official page about it, in English: Decoding Thainess

See also:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0A6ws9RBJzM" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0A6ws9RBJzM</a>
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Offline Alfie

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Here's another video about it. A bit longer than the first one.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YI4evWvveFk" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YI4evWvveFk</a>
There are none so blind as those who will not see.