Japanese tourists to flock to Thailand despite economic woes

Photo courtesy of The Nation

To revive tourism, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) unveiled dynamic strategies to draw Japanese tourists back to the Land of Smiles. Despite the yen’s depreciation, TAT Tokyo Office Director Kajorndet Apichartrakul remains optimistic about reversing the deficit in tourist numbers with Japan.

Last year, 995,000 Thai tourists visited Japan, while only 804,000 Japanese tourists came to Thailand, resulting in a nearly 200,000-person shortfall. Citing the yen’s decline as an unintentional attraction for Thai tourists, Kajorndet emphasised the need to make Thailand a cost-effective and appealing destination for Japanese visitors.

“Despite the higher costs due to the yen’s depreciation, I believe Thailand still provides great value compared to other destinations.”

Kajorndet anticipates that Japanese tourist arrivals will normalise by early 2025, though it may take two more years to reach pre-pandemic levels of 1.8 million.

The TAT’s 2025 marketing plan will target two major groups: Gen Z and Gen Y tourists who are drawn to Thailand’s pop culture, and niche lifestyle travellers such as young entrepreneurs and mother-and-child pairs. Kajorndet stressed the importance of demonstrating that Thailand is not just a golf haven for older tourists but a vibrant, youth-friendly destination.

Increased flight routes between the two countries bolster recovery prospects. Airlines like Thai Airways and Thai AirAsia X are adding more flights, including a direct route to Nagoya and a potential reopening of the Sendai route. Kajorndet noted that promoting tourism in both directions is crucial, as airlines depend on mutual passenger volumes to sustain routes.

The TAT projects that by next year, Thailand could welcome at least 1.1 million Japanese tourists, a 10% increase from this year. This influx is expected to restore Thailand’s surplus in tourist arrivals from Japan, balancing the overall tourism outlook between the two nations, reported The Nation.

In related news, TAT has stated that the goal of attracting 8 million Chinese tourists this year is attainable, provided airlines can increase seat capacity to over 80% of pre-pandemic levels.

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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