Thailand has lost about 300,000 visitors from Japan since the earthquake and tsunami struck Sendai and the northeast of the country on March 11.
Japan also experienced a huge decline of 23 per cent from the Thai market during the first quarter. The slump was as bad as 60 per cent in March and is expected to continue until the end of this year.
Japan was one of the top five markets for Thai tourism last year with 1 million visitors, while 300,000 Thais travelled to Japan and counted as the most foreign visitors to some cities, including Fujikawagu-chiko, a popular destination for viewing Mount Fuji.
The TTAA held a "Japan Our Best Friend" familiarisation trip to Tokyo and Yamanishi prefecture from May 11-15, taking 160 travel operators from the TTAA as well as members of the Thai-Japan Tourism Business Association to meet with 125 representatives from 25 Japanese government and business organisations.
It was the biggest foreign group from the private sector to visit Japan since the massive earthquake in March.
Tadatoshi Mamiya, president of the JNTO, said the Japanese government continued to promote tourism activities and events to encourage visitors from around the world to come back to the country.
"JNTO will invite operators from overseas to see that the situation and tourist places now are back to normal. This will help restore Japan's tourism," he said.
Mizohata Hiroshi, executive director of the Japan Tourism Agency, said last week's trip by Thai operators would help international tourism bodies and the private sector feel more confident about promoting Japan to their customers again.
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