From January 7, 2019, a departure tax to be known as Sayonara Tax of 1,000 yen (INR 615) will be added to tickets when foreign and Japanese travellers leave Japan by plane or ship. By Pallavi Mehra
The Japanese Parliament has passed legislation enforcing a new tax on travellers. This tax is aptly known as the ‘sayonara tax’ and will be added directly to flight tickets and ship tickets. However, transit passengers leaving Japan within 24 hours and children under the age of two are exempt from this tax. While countries such as Australia and South Korea already have a departure tax in place, the ‘sayonara tax’ is the first permanent tax adopted by Japan since 1992.
The ‘sayonara tax’ is expected to raise 43 billion yen per fiscal year, as reported by Jiji Press. The revenue from this tax will be used to boost tourism by improving technology and infrastructure. These improvements include installing facial recognition gates at airports, expanding free wireless Internet services and providing multilingual guides at national parks and cultural sites, amongst others. Tourists to Japan will benefit greatly from these advancements.
In recent years, Japan has seen a drastic increase in tourists, which is expected to keep increasing leading up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The Japanese government aims to increase tourism to 40 million by 2020 and 60 million by 2030. Therefore, the Parliament has passed a Bill to limit the use of the departure tax funds to solely tourism-related projects.