From January 2019, travellers in Japan would be paying a rather aptly named 'Sayonara tax' for leaving the country. The Japanese parliament passed a legislation on Wednesday that would require travellers to pay JPY 1,000 or Rs 615. The tax would be levied on both international and Japanese travellers leaving the country by plane or ship. This would add to the air and ship fares.
Transit passengers who would leave the country within 24 hours and children under 2 years would be exempted from paying the Sayonara tax.
According to a report in Channel News Asia, this tax is expected to raise JPY 43 billion a year that will be pumped into infrastructure and for technological advancements such as face recognition at gates as well as provision of multilingual guides at national parks and other cultural sites. Not only that, the revenue will also be pumped into Japan's suddenly booming tourism.
According to the CNA report, Japan's tourism has seen a boom in the last two years and is expected to increase by 2020 Tokyo Olympics. In fact, the Japanese government is expecting tourism to increase to 40 million by 2020, a significant leap from 2017's 28.69 million.
The Sayonara tax is also the first permanent tax adopted by Japan since 1992, as mentioned in the news site.
However, Japan is not the first country to impose such a departure tax. There are similar versions implemented in Australia, South Korea and UK.