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Japan will tax international tourists from next week

January 3, 2019 Headline News No Comments Email Email

From next Monday, Japan will start collecting a departure tax of JPY 1000 (AUD 13) from every person leaving the country by aircraft or ship – including international visitors and regardless of their nationality.

The levy, to be collected each time a person leaves the country, is in addition to airfare, ship fare and travel fees.

Transit passengers are exempt and so are some travellers staying in airport hotels, as the tax will not apply to travellers leaving Japan within 24 hours of their transit entry. Infants (children under two years old) are also exempt.

Clients who have already booked, with tickets purchased and issued before Monday, are exempt too.

Japan is doing very well on the tourism front, including from Australia. Typhoons and natural disasters have not stopped the flow. The number of international visitors to Japan topped 30 million for the first time ever in 2018.

From Australia, latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) show that in the 12 months to the end of October 2018, visits to Japan grew 12.1%. The only other destination to equal that rate of growth was Indonesia (predominantly Bali).

Departure Lounge, Haneda International Airport, Tokyo

Japan plans to use revenue from its new departure tax to set up facial recognition gates at airports to speed immigration flow. It also plants to use more multilingual information boards and add cashless payment terminals on public transport. The country aims to boost the number of foreign visitors to 40 million by 2020, in time for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

Written by Peter Needham

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