The landscape of tourism has experienced some significant fluctuations. For instance, the number of Thai tourists making trips to Japan in the first half of the year hit the 497,700 mark, a considerable recovery of 73% against the same period in 2019 when the count stood at 683,595. Conversely, the number of Japanese tourists who made their way to Thailand was considerably less, totaling 326,347.
South Korea has seen a surge of its citizens choosing Thailand as their travel destination. The first half of the year noticed a whopping 757,767 South Koreans head to Thailand, outpacing the number of Japanese tourists, thus securing South Korea the fourth highest spot in the foreign tourists’ rank visiting Thailand, sitting right after China, Russia, and Malaysia.
Amidst the noticed decline in Japanese tourists, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is keen on investigating the reasons behind this downshift and strategizing effective measures that can boost the influx of Japanese visitors to Thailand, as stated by Yuthasak.
As per the data from 2019, approximately 10% of the Japanese tourists traveling overseas selected Thailand as their preferred destination. However, the year 2022 witnessed an increased interest among Japanese tourists towards Thailand due to the Covid-19 situation, raising that proportion to 12%. TAT is committed to further boosting this percentage and aims to hit the 15% mark by 2026.
In light of predictions made by ATTA (Association of Thai Travel Agents), an enterprise representing outbound tour operators who venture abroad with Thai tourists, there will be a near total of one million Thai tourists who will visit Japan this year. This is a noticeable recovery of nearly 80% compared to 2019 when 1,319,000 Thai tourists had visited Japan. This accounts for about 4.1% of the total foreign tourist influx in Japan, which stands at about 31,880,000 people. This puts Thailand on the sixth spot in terms of visitors traveling to Japan, trailing behind China, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the United States.
TAT intends to hit the half a million mark for Japanese tourists visiting Thailand this year and hopes to accelerate achieving this target as we approach the year’s end.
But despite the lower number of Japanese tourists flying to Thailand, their fascination with the Thai culture remains evident. This is clearly demonstrated by the recently held Amazing Thailand Fest 2023’ in Osaka. Spanning over the period from July 21 to 23 at Abeno Q’s Mall in Osaka, Japan, the festival brought forward the festivity and color of Thai culture. It featured Thai cinema, fashion, food, and even showcased the craft of handwoven Thai silk to an eager audience who queued all day to secure tickets.
The festival offered a sneak peek into the unique martial art form of Muay Thai with “Muay Thai Mothers” and extended an invitation for attendees to adorn themselves in Thai traditional attire for photoshoots. Participants were enlightened on the nuances of different Thai costumes across various timelines and indulged in traditional performances inspired by native festivals like the Songkran (Thai New Year) in summer, rice-related customs in rainy seasons, and the winter Loy Krathong festival. All these were cleverly designed to lure the Japanese into experiencing Thailand post the Covid-19 period.