Japan Follows Trend, Adds Departure Tax

by Jessica Montevago
Japan Follows Trend, Adds Departure Tax

The new ‘sayonara tax’ is added to the air and sea travel fares of passengers visiting Japan, regardless of nationality. Photo: Shutterstock


Travelers who want to see Kyoto’s classical Buddhist temples or Tokyo’s neon-lit skyscrapers will have to cough up a few extra yen to visit Japan.

The country introduced a new departure tax – known as the “sayonara tax” – last week, tacking on a ¥1,000 (US $9.23) fee to air and sea travel fares of passengers, regardless of nationality.

Anyone who enters the country because of "unavoidable circumstances," such as flight reroutes and bad weather, won’t be hit with the tax, according to The Japan Times. Children under the age of two and passengers who are in Japan for less than 24 hours will also be exempt.

The Japanese government expects to generate around ¥50 billion ($461 million) in revenue by the end of 2019, which will be used to attract more inbound tourists in anticipation for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo. While more than 30 million travelers visited Japan in 2018, the government hopes to increase the number to 40 million visitors by 2020.

The additional revenue will be put back into the tourism sector, aiming to improve visitor satisfaction by enhancing tourism infrastructure and encouraging visitors to explore areas beyond traditionally popular destinations.

To begin, the additional revenue will be allocated for introducing more facial recognition gates at airports and seaports for speedier immigration procedures; and for making more information available in multiple languages at cultural properties and national parks.

While this might present a burden for cruise lines and airlines that have to collect the tax prior to boarding, it is by no means a new issue. While the International Air Transport Association, the global trade association for airlines, has lobbied against the tax, saying it would negatively affect tourism growth, many governments see it as necessary to reinvest in tourism.

Japan is just the latest country to impose a departure tax on visitors, joining Australia, China, Costa Rica, Lebanon, Mexico and Sweden. Malaysia is also considering imposing a levy on all outbound air passengers starting June 1.

  0
  0
TMR Recommendations
Top Stories
Venice's Tourism Tax Will Start Next Year

In an effort to curtail the effects of overtourism, Venice’s tourism tax will be used to offset the high charges locals pay for public services.

Top 10 Spookiest American Towns to Visit for Halloween

Whether you’re looking for haunted houses, freaky festivals, or other spooky spots, here are the best locations for Halloween travelers.

U.S. to Waive Visa Requirements for Polish Citizens

The move will make it easier for polish travelers to visit the U.S. for business and tourism purposes.

Portugal Sees Record Increase in Visitors from the U.S.

Travelers are expanding beyond the traditional hot spots of Lisbon and the Algarve to explore the Douro Valley in the North, and other less-developed areas like the Azores archipelago.

FAA Announces Plans to Investigate Airline Seat Safety

With airline seats shrinking over the years to accommodate more passengers, the FAA will investigate how small is too small to be considered safe.

American Airlines Launches New Service to Japan’s Haneda Airport

With this service, American became the only U.S. carrier to serve Tokyo’s Haneda International Airport from Dallas-Fort Worth.

News Briefs
Tip of the Day

"The travel industry is ever-growing and ever-changing. You want someone who keeps updated on all of its trends, as well as its travails, and can offer you handcrafted, personalized and professional service all the way from the moment of a trip’s inspiration to the journey’s end."

Mary Ann Anderson

Forbes

Daily Top List

Oldest Castles in England

  1. Berkhamsted Castle
  2. Norwich Castle
  3. Warwick Castle
  4. Lincoln Castle

Source: World Atlas

TMR Outlooks