BANGKOK, April 19 – Thai tourists visiting Japan this month skyrocketed to nearly 200,000 travellers, consequently resulting in a sharp drop of visitors to China, Taiwan and Korea, according to the Thai Travel Agents Association (TTAA).
TTAA president Suthipong Pheunpipop said Japan’s visa exemption for Thai people has contributed to a surge in the number of Thai tourists to the island country, which has become a favourite destination among travellers from the kingdom.
The number of Thai tourists to Japan has continuously increased from 260,000 people in 2012 to 470,000 people in 2013.
The Songkran long holiday in April, visa exemption and cheaper tour package prices, from slightly over Bt30,000 to Bt40,000-60,000, are significant factors that influenced Thai tourists’ decision to visit Japan, he said.
He said 85 per cent of Thai tourists who travelled abroad in April chose Japan while the remaining 15 per cent visited China, Korea, Hong Kong and other Southeast Asian countries.
With 300,000 Thais visiting Japan in the first three months of this year, the island nation was projected to welcome 700,000 Thai people this year, and this tally may surge to over a million if Thailand’s political situation returns to normal, said Mr Suthipong.
He said domestic tourism in April, which coincided with the annual school holiday, remained active thanks to joint promotions by the public and private sectors and provincial authorities.