Japan considers adding “sayonara tax” by 2020
To capitalize on blooming tourism, Japan is considering adding a “departure tax” by 2020. The tax of $9 (1000 yen) would be added to existing airport service fees and would apply to passengers leaving the country.
The Japan Tourism Agency on November 9, 2017, submitted a draft proposal to install a national departure tax prior to upcoming Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020. The aim of this fee is to collect additional funds $353 million (40 billion yen) to the budget, which could then be used for tourism promotion initiatives.
Opponents fear that the tax might lower incoming tourist numbers. IATA released a statement in October 2017, arguing that a departure fee would negatively affect tourism growth and that it “would directly contradict accepted International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) guidelines, which do not support such taxes”.
Japan has a target of reaching 40 million visitors by 2020, the year it hosts the Olympics. However, in relation to current tourist statistics provided by the Japan National Tourism Organization, the goal seems fairly reachable. It is estimated that by the end of 2017 the foreign visitors numbers will reach 29 million, meaning that in 2018-2020 Japan needs an annual growth of 11.3%, the Japan Macro Advisors estimates. In September 2017, the number of foreign visitors stood at 2.28 million and constituted an 18.9% year-on-year increase.