Thais urged to insure in Japan

Thais urged to insure in Japan

The Thai embassy in Japan has urged Thai visitors to buy more health insurance coverage before travelling to the country, where medical treatment is expensive.

The advice comes as the number of Thai tourists to Japan rises every year.

Ambassador to Japan Bansarn Bunnag said that because medical treatment costs are up to five times higher than those in Thailand, Thai tourists should think about having health insurance coverage.

"Thai visitors, particularly free independent travellers, are likely to increase significantly over the next three years, as Japan has extended the visa waiver for Thai visitors for another three years (2017-19) for 15 days of travel in Japan," he said. "Health insurance is essential when travelling abroad, as medical fees are exorbitant."

Mr Bansarn said 1 million Thai visitors to Japan are expected this year, up from 900,000 last year and 796,700 in 2015.

Japan offered a visa waiver to Thai visitors for the first time during 2013-16, prompting the number of Thai visitors to Japan to increase during 2013-15 from 500,000 in 2012.

In 2015, Japan exempted visitors who spent more than ¥5,000 from paying consumption taxes, a reduction from the previous minimum of ¥10,000, and expedited immigration procedures for visitors.

Mr Bansarn said a good relationship between Thailand and Japan is also key to boosting intra-tourism as Japanese people grow more interested in Thai culture.

The number of Japanese visitors to Thailand is expected to increase to 1.5 million this year, up from 1.4 million in 2016 and 1.38 million in 2015.

According to Mr Bansarn, the government's ambitious Eastern Economic Corridor development plan is also expected to attract Japanese investment.

A Board of Investment report said that during 2007-2016 Japanese investment applications to the BoI had the highest total value, with a combined 4,328 projects worth 1.67 trillion baht.

Japanese investment applications in the first three months of 2017 were largely in the 10 targeted industries the government is ambitiously promoting as clusters -- 21 projects worth 11.9 billion baht.

The projects include six automotive projects with an investment of 1.69 billion baht; two petrochemical and chemical projects worth 388 million baht; and six electrical, electronics and telecommunication equipment projects.

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