Japan-bound travellers 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 devastating earthquake and tsunami two years ago, 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 totalled over 8 million, up 34.6 percent from the previous total of 6.2 million in 2011, when Japan was hit by the disaster.

The Japanese government 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 as the number of Chinese tourists fell 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 a visa. This policy was announced on June 11, 2013.

The number of Thais visiting Japan increased from 223,200 in 2009 to over 268,400 in 2010. However, the figure dropped by almost 29 percent in 2011 to 191,209 due to the earthquake and tsunami.-VNA