• Bed tax not such a bad thing, says Kyoto trade

    Bed tax not such a bad thing, says Kyoto trade

    Julian Ryall, Tokyo, May 17, 2017

    News of Kyoto effecting a new accommodation tax starting April 2018 is welcome as long as the levy is moderate and the money raised is used to improve tourist infrastructure, say hoteliers and agents interviewed.

    A committee of the Kyoto municipal government has since August 2016 been discussing the tax, meant to generate government funds to support the increase in visitor numbers. A primary objective is to alleviate congestion in popular districts such as the Gion geisha quarter.

    Hyatt Regency Kyoto's executive suite twin

    The fee is likely to be 300 yen (US$2.64) per person per night for accommodation of 10,000 yen or higher per night.

    A similar tax of 200 yen per night is already in effect in Tokyo while Osaka is introducing a levy come July.

    Miriam Varoli, general manager of the Hyatt Regency, Kyoto, does not see issues with the tax proposal. "From a guest's point of view, 300 yen is very reasonable and I do not see it having a major impact on arrivals," she said.

    "We need additional infrastructure in Kyoto, and as long as this carried out with complete transparency, I do not see a better way of raising the money needed for those improvements."

    Robert Day, president of Australia-based Robert Day Travel, added that an accommodation tax "is not unusual" in popular cities in Asia-Pacific.

    "I think my clients will accept it and it will not have an impact on the number of people that I take to Kyoto because that figure is reasonable and the sort of money (lost) in currency rate fluctuations overnight," he said.

    "If the money is going to be ploughed back into improving the facilities and experience for visitors to Kyoto, then they can go right ahead," he added.