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Leaving Japan as a tourist: It will cost you!

Leaving Japan as a tourist: It will cost you!

On Jan. 7, the Japanese government will introduce an international tourist tax. The tax of ¥1,000 (About $10) will be collected from every traveler when they depart from Japan. Japanese travelers will also have to pay.

The draft budget for fiscal 2019 estimated this tax will bring in revenue of ¥50 billion. These funds will be used to improve the convenience of tourism-related services in Japan, such as by speeding up airport procedures and making information on public transportation available in multiple languages. It also will be used for efforts that boost the added value of cultural properties and national parks.

Japanese visitors are welcomed around the world, and for the last years, this is turning into a two way street with foreign visitors exploring Japan. Relaxed visa requirements added tourists to arrive in Japan, doubling the arrival target.

Consequently, Hotels and other accommodations in Japan are constantly full, especially in major cities and popular tourist areas.

The phenomenon of “tourism pollution,” in which rapid growth in tourist numbers damages the environment and disturbs residents’ daily lives, cannot be ignored.

In places such as Kyoto and Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, overcrowded buses and traffic congestion are creating problems in the everyday lives of local residents. Differences in etiquette and lifestyle habits are causing friction in some areas. Japanese tourists also might visit less frequently than before.

This tourism pollution stems from foreign travelers visiting areas concentrated along the so-called golden route linking Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. Local experts say appealing sightseeing resources in provincial areas must be unveiled and widely publicized among foreign travelers to encourage them to visit a more diverse range of destinations.