Snowy Hokkaido is hot in Thailand

Snowy Hokkaido is hot in Thailand

TOKYO - Businesses on Japan's northernmost island Hokkaido are stepping up efforts to woo the growing number of Thai tourists visiting the region for its fresh produce and snowy winters.

Last Friday, Yuta Umeki, director of web production company Gear8 based in Sapporo, was discussing business at a Bangkok hotel with counterparts from local publisher Atitta Publication.

The meeting turned out well for Umeki whose company's app Trippino Hokkaido will feature in leading Thai travel magazine ''Travel Around The World'' this month. The magazine has a monthly circulation of 70,000 copies. The app lets Thai tourists search in their own language for information on more than 500 Hokkaido destinations, as well as letting them post photos to Facebook easily. The app also entitles users to discounts at stores participating in the programme.

Gear8 developed the app knowing that many Thai tourists use Facebook to share experiences with friends. Akihito Mizuno, president of Gear8, said he hopes the app will help tourists have more fun during their trip.

Bangkok travel agency ST Deluxe Tour says trips to snowy Hokkaido, especially for the Sapporo Snow Festival, are very popular among Thais as the Southeast Asian country is relatively hot throughout the year. Hokkaido's fresh food and dairy products are also a draw card.

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