Starting next year, all travelers leaving Japan will be required to pay a ¥1,000 ‘sayonara tax’. The Japanese Parliament plan to put this tax into effect on 7 January 2019.
With tourism booming in Japan, with a record 28.69 million visitors in 2017, it is perhaps unsurprising that the government is looking to monetize this. It is especially notable as more and more people are expected to visit in the wake of the 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games that will be hosted in Tokyo.
The new tax will apply to all travelers – both foreign and Japanese – leaving the country by airplane or ship. At ¥1,000 (approximately US $9.33), it will be automatically added to ticket prices. Those leaving the country within 24 hours of arriving, and children under the age of two will, however, be exempt.
New Tax Will Affect Travelers Leaving Japan
Japan is far from the only country to have such a tax. Various other destinations, such as Brazil, Australia, the UK, South Korea, and Jamaica have versions of this departure tax, most of which are higher than Japan’s. For example in the UK, it can reach £156 ($221) for a premium ticket.
While this ‘sayonara tax’ is unlikely to change the travel plans of many people, the tax is likely to greatly benefit tourists. Part of the legislation passed ensures that all the revenue will be used for tourism-related projects. Some of these include airport infrastructure and Wi-Fi on public transport. With an estimated annual income of ¥43 billion, it could result in many positive changes.