With Japanese tourism booming, it’s unsurprising that national lawmakers are looking for ways to make money. Now a new departure tax has come into effect.
Dubbed the ‘sayonara tax’, it affects everyone – both foreigners and Japanese travellers – who leave the country by airplane or ship. The tax will be automatically added to your ticket price and will be ¥1,000 (approximately €7.50 or US $9.30). Children under the age of two or travellers who leave the country within 24 hours of arrival will be exempt, meaning layover passengers won’t be affected.
The meagre fee is unlikely to change anybody’s travel plans but the benefits may actually convince people to go. Part of the legislation passed means that all the revenue raised must be used for tourism-related projects and with an estimated annual revenue of ¥43 billion it could mean lots of positive changes for visitors.
Among the proposals include better infrastructure at airports – including facial recognition boarding – and multilingual guides at places like cultural attractions and national parks. There are also planned to introduce free wi-fi across public transportation and also spend some money on promoting more tourism.
Japan is not the only country to have such a tax. Brazil, Australia, Honduras, Jamaica, the UK and South Korea all have different versions of a departure tax and Japan’s tax is certainly on the lower end of the scale. The tax can get up to £156 /$221 when departing from the UK if in a premium class of seat.
This article was originally published on 12 April 2018 and was updated on 8 January.