Tourists may be forced to pay a “Sayonara Tax” when they leave Japan.
The new tax has a purpose. Raising money for the Japan Tourism Agency to strengthen its public relations campaigns abroad and expand multilingual services in Japan. The exit tax will be a proposal on the table to help the government achieve its goal of attracting 40 million foreign tourists until 2020.
In 2016, Japan saw the number of foreign arrivals exceed 24 million, an increase of 20% year-on-year. But, it is proving to be a huge challenge to reach the 2020 target.
The agency argues that it will need to raise Japan's global profile to attract more visitors. Therefore, the proposed tax will provide funds to enable this. Obviously, this type of tax will certainly attract criticism from tourists and the aviation industry.
How is this “Sayonara Tax” being charged?
The tax will be charged to both Japanese and foreigners. Anyone who leaves Japan. But, a boarding fee may only be charged for foreign visitors, as the number has increased in recent years.
In contrast, the number of Japanese travelers abroad has stagnated due to terrorist attacks in Europe and elsewhere. Not to mention the devaluation of the yen, which did not help.
The Japan Tourism Agency says that a wide range of measures must be implemented to reach the 2020 target. This includes holding more Public Relations events abroad and offering services in several languages in Japan.
The initial tourism-related budget request for fiscal 2018 was 24.7 billion yen. An increase of 17% compared to 2017.
Suppose foreigners and the Japanese were each charged 1,000 yen in tax when they left Japan. Eventually, that would bring about 40 billion yen to national coffers. In 2016, about 17 million Japanese left the country.
But the main Japanese airports are already collecting between 1,000 yen and 3,000 yen of tax per passenger on international flights.
Furthermore, in addition to the expected negative reception from tourism-related industries, skeptics say there is no guarantee that expanded public relations campaigns abroad and multilingual services will guarantee a sharp increase in foreign tourists to Japan.
And you, dear reader? What do you think? Should Japan charge any tourist who leaves Japan? Leave your opinion in the comments.
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