Bangkok, January 27, 2012 — The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), the City of Sendai and the Tohoku Tourism Promotion Organization are to sign a Letter of Intent (LOI) to use tourism as a means of helping to facilitate an economic and social recovery from the natural disasters that have recently struck both destinations.

The LOI will be signed on January 27, 2012 by Mr Yukimoto Ito, Deputy Mayor City of Sendai, Mr Kanji Saito, General Manager of the Tohoku Tourism Promotion Organization and Mr Sansern Ngaorungsi, Deputy Governor for International Marketing of Asia and the South Pacific.

The TAT and the City of Sendai have been working with each other on tourism promotion since August 2006. While those activities worked well under normal circumstances, today they have taken on a new role and importance in view of the earthquake and tsunami that struck the Sendai region on March 2011 and the massive flooding that affected many parts of Central Thailand in October-November 2011.

Many of the industrial zones and factories affected by the floods involved significant Japanese investment.

Mr Sansern Ngaorungsi, TAT Deputy Governor said, “Both destinations are now working to rehabilitate and recover from the crisis. There are shared interests, and it is during times such as these that we really need to work together and learn from each other, especially as tourism is vital to both our economies.”

The LOI will commit both parties to undertake a number of projects and activities, such as exchange programmes, to promote tourism between now and March 2017.

Sendai is a city with a population of one million and is the political and economic centre of Japan’s Tohoku (northeast) Region. The TAT has three offices in Japan and has been participating in the Tohoku Senior Fair for long-stay visitors for several years now. A number of Thai travel writers have visited the region in the past to promote visits by Thai tourists.

At a broader level, Japan and Thailand have a very special relationship – at the Royal Family level, government level and people-to-people level. The people of Thailand recognise the significant role of Japanese investment, aid and development co-operation funding in creating jobs and income in the Thai economy, as well as for the development of tourism infrastructure.

“Japanese funding also played a very important role in helping Thailand upgrade the quality of our many natural and cultural heritage sites, which are very popular among Japanese visitors,” Mr Sansern said.

“We are also proud that Thailand remains one of the world’s most popular destinations for Japanese visitors. In 2011, Thailand attracted 1.12 million Japanese visitors, up 13.34% over 2010,” Mr Sansern added. Through this LOI collaboration, it will promote two ways tourism traffic between Sendai City and Thailand.