Starting next year, travellers will be required to pay a ¥1,000 (about $9 USD) departure tax when they leave Japan by airplane or ship. The tax is designed to build the necessary infrastructure and improve services to accommodate an expected influx in visitor numbers in Japan leading up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics — and thereafter. The fee will apply to both Japanese and foreigners, and will be collected as part of the ticket cost.
It is the nation’s first new tax implemented since 1992, when a land value tax was established.
Exceptions to the tax include toddlers under the age of 2, as well as transit passengers leaving Japan within 24 hours of arrival. The tax is expected to raise ¥43 billion (or about $400 million USD) a year, and Japan hopes to attract 40 million visitors annually by 2020 and 60 million by 2030. The nation attracted a record 28.69 million tourists in 2017, up 19.3 percent from the previous year — which has been steadily increasing for six consecutive years.
The Democratic Party and the Japanese Communist Party voted against the legislation, saying a purpose-specific tax could lead to wasteful spending.
The Diet has already passed legislation limiting the use of departure tax revenue to tourism-related purposes. The tax will be used in part to fund the installation of airport gates equipped with facial recognition. Funds will also be used to prepare for a comfortable tourism environment, spreading information about Japan’s tourism attractions, and promoting a sense of fulfillment among travellers through improved tourism resources.
The government also plans to ask public transportation operators to expand free wireless internet services as well as electronic payment systems.
Japan is hardly the first to adopt these measures; similar levies have been implemented in other countries such as Australia, South Korea and the United States. Australia charges a $60 AUD departure tax, South Korea charges a ₩10,000 departure fee for air travellers and the United States charges $14 USD on international travellers from countries in its visa waiver programme.
Additionally, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Osaka Prefectural Government charge a lodging tax of ¥100 to ¥300 per person per night to finance tourism promotion and other measures.
The new departure tax, which has been dubbed the “sayonara tax,” is scheduled to officially go into effect Jan. 7, 2019.
As harmful to the environment as air travel is, some airports are taking measures to become more environmentally conscious. One example is Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where an adjacent solar farm powers certain airport operations.
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
Ryanair will soon start its first round-trip Georgia flights. The flights, which start this November, will connect the capital Tbilisi (TBS) to Milan Bergamo (BGY) four times weekly and the western city of Kutaisi (KUT) to Bologna (BLQ) and Marseille (MRS), both twice weekly. Then, in April, Ryanair will add twice weekly flights between Tbilisi and Cologne (CGN).
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
Attend one of the most acclaimed fall events, Autumn at the Arboretum, in Dallas. In its 14th year, the annual event is known as one of the best pumpkin festivals in the country, with its creative displays featuring more than 90,000 pumpkins, gourds and squash. The event takes place at Dallas Arboretum, Sept. 21 –Oct. 31. Alongside thousands of pumpkins, guests glimpse 150,000 autumn flowers across the 66-acre space.
TAP Air Portugal is adding 15 new weekly flights from the United States and Canada by summer 2020, a new record for the carrier of 71 weekly flights between North America and Portugal.