Japan targets more Thai tourists through visa exemption on short-term visits

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BANGKOK, 8 July 2013 Japan-bound travelers from Thailand are expected to significantly rise as a result of the visa waiver recently introduced by Japan for those on short-term visits. 

Although Japan’s tourism industry looks to bounce back after it was hit by a devastating earthquake 2 years ago and the following Tsunami, which claimed many lives, Japan is determined to further boost its tourism industry. Recently, Japan has announced that Thai passport holders can now enter the country without the hassle of applying for a visa.

According to the statistics, the number of tourists visiting Japan in 2012 totaled over 8 million, up 34.6 percent from the previous total of 6.2 million in 2011, when Japan was hit by the earthquake and the tsunami.

The tendency has raised the Japanese government’s optimism, prompting it to set a new target of attracting 18 million tourists by 2016 and 25 million by 2020. In its new marketing strategy, Japan eyes more tourists from ASEAN countries, with Thai people on top of the chart, followed by Indians in South Asia, to make up for the decrease in the number of Chinese tourists in 2012. One of the Japanese government’s strategies is to allow Thai and Malaysian passport holders entering the country for a short period without the need to obtain a visa. This policy was announced on the 11th June 2013.

Japan has noted with satisfaction a steady rise in the number of Thais visiting the country with 223,200 recorded in 2009 and over 268,400 in 2010. However, the figure dropped by almost 29% in 2011 to 191,209 due to the earthquake and tsunami.