Hua Hin Jazz Festival Recognised as a Potential Japanese Tourism Attraction

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is set to use music and outdoor events – including the Hua Hin Jazz Festival – to attract first-time visitors, millennials and female travelers from Japan.

The entertainment events are valued at 356 billion baht and target a youth audience.

“The TAT plans to present some popular events here, namely S2O, Watersonic, full moon parties and the Hua Hin Jazz Festival to the Japanese market,” said Saratwadee Asasupakit, director of the TAT’s Osaka office.

She said the target group is females aged 20-34, a large market of 9.54 million people in Japan.

“Some hospitality services such as spa treatments, Thai massage and shopping can be offered after that,” said Saratwadee.

She said the initiative is part of the 2020 working plan for all TAT offices in Japan, with Tokyo, Osaka and Fukuoka aiming to penetrate the new segment.

LGBT tourism is another major market in Japan, with some 11.2 million people reporting difficulties and objections from conservative segments of society when they travel.

“TAT will promote its ‘Go Thai, Be Free’ campaign among LGBT people for travel and to experience nightlife in a gay-friendly destination,” Saratwadee said.

The agency estimates 1.8 million Japanese will visit Thailand this year, generating 79.7 billion baht in tourism income. The TAT targets some 2 million Japanese tourists in 2020, spending 85 billion baht.

Thailand was Japan’s fourth biggest outbound market last year, with 80% of tourists repeat visitors, the majority male and seniors. China was No.1, followed by South Korea and Taiwan, said Pattaraanong Na Chiangmai, director of the TAT’s Tokyo office.

She said incentives given to first-time travelers from Japan are under discussion. There are 29 million Japanese who hold passports, accounting for only 24% of the country’s population.

There are some 1,000 monthly flights from Japan to Thailand, with a 320,000-seat capacity available from both full service and budget carriers, outpacing seats available to Vietnam, a Thai rival in the industry.

Both countries provide air transport direct to tourism destinations, beaches and world heritage sites.