Will Japan’s new tourist tax make visitors feel more welcome?

A man walks in a stretch of Tokyo's Asakusa area.
(Martin Bureau / AFP/Getty Images)

Japan wants to make your next visit smoother, starting with a new tourist tax aimed at creating “a more comfortable, stress-free tourist environment,” a government statement says. The tax that went into effect Monday charges international travelers 1,000 yen, or $9.19, when they leave the country.

The tax started Monday and is rolled in to the cost of tickets issued by airlines, travel agents and cruise lines. Children younger than 2 are exempt, as are transit passengers in the country for less than 24 hours.

The country anticipates a jump in tourism during the run-up to the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.


Two cruise lines skip Amsterdam over city’s new tax on cruise ship passengers »

“Japan wanted money to pay for technology terminals to process visitors quicker and to add improved international language signage throughout the country,” World Travel & Tourism Council research director Rochelle Turner told Yahoo Finance.

Improving tourist information centers, creating more signs for visitors, and making tablets with multilingual content available are other improvements cited in a pamphlet explaining the tax.

Japan received more than 30 million foreign visitors in 2018, setting a record, according to Japan National Tourism Organization.

Many countries charge tourist taxes. Since 2016, the U.S charges international travelers $13.41 when they enter and when they exit.