Thursday, 12 April 2018

Visiting Japan about to become more expensive


Visitors to Japan will pay a new departure tax of 1,000 yen ($12) per person which will take effect from January next year.

Travelers, whether Japanese or from overseas, will be required to pay the levy when they leave Japan by airplane or ship, the House of Councillors decided.

The new tax is designed to build necessary infrastructure and improve services to accommodate an expected increase in visitor numbers to Japan leading up to and beyond the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

Under the new law, toddlers under the age of two and transit passengers leaving Japan within 24 hours of arrival will be exempted, The Japan Times reported.

The country has enjoyed a surge of inbound tourist numbers, who have helped lift the world’s third-largest economy in recent years. The government hopes to boost tourism using the departure tax — expected to raise ¥43 billion a year — as it seeks to attract 40 million visitors annually by 2020.

Between January and March next year, Tokyo estimates revenue from the new tax will reach ¥6 billion and plans to allocate part of it to the installation of gates equipped with facial recognition.

Politicians had already passed legislation limiting the use of departure tax revenue to tourism-related projects, countering criticism that it could be diverted for other purposes.

The tax will be included as part of air fares.

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