Japan has approved a new departure tax in order to fund tourism expenses.
If you’re traveling to the Land of the Rising Sun in 2019, be prepared to fork out a departure tax of 1000 yen (US$9.40).
As of April 11, the Japanese Diet, or Parliament, has passed the legislation and new levy for a “sayonara tax,” which will go into effect on January 7, 2019.
Both Japanese and foreign travelers will have to pay the tax when leaving the country by plane or ship, with the fee added to their fares. Transit passengers staying in Japan for less than 24 hours, as well as children under the age of two, will be exempted from paying the tax.
According to vice minister of finance Minoru Kihara, the exact use of the anticipated 40-billion-yen tax raised a year is yet to be ascertained.
However, it is believed that the money raised will go towards tourism expenses, such as improving infrastructure and services such as installing facial recognition gates, as well as training multilingual guides for cultural sites and national parks.
Companies, including airlines, which are carrying out the collection process, have expressed that the money should benefit travelers.
The number of tourist arrivals in Japan is expected to rise in the lead up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. By 2020, the Japanese government hopes that the annual number of foreign visitors will hit 40 million.
More information here.