Japan to impose ‘sayonara tax’ on departing travellers from 2019

Funds from levy collection will go towards building infrastructure, promoting rural destinations and more; Tokyo Haneda airport pictured

Travellers leaving Japan by plane or ship will have to pay 1,000 yen (US$9.30) in departure tax effective January 7, 2019, the first permanent levy to be introduced since the land value tax was established in 1992, according to the Japan Times.

The new levy, coined the “sayonara tax”, will apply to all travellers, both Japanese and non-Japanese, except children under two years old and transit passengers who depart within 24 hours of arrival.

Funds from levy collection will go towards building infrastructure, promoting rural destinations and more; Tokyo Haneda airport pictured

The move comes amid a visitor boom in Japan, which saw tourist arrivals grow by 19.3 per cent to reach over 28.6 million in 2017, with the number targeted to grow to 40 million by 2020.

Among the proposed uses of the funds are the enhancement of tourism infrastructure, promotion of destinations in rural Japan and the backing of global tourism campaigns.

There are also plans to have public transportation operators expand free wireless internet services as well as electronic payment systems.

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