Japanese island becomes latest destination to impose a tourist tax

Dec 12 2019, 2:51 pm

Miyajima, Japan, is the latest in the growing list of destinations voting to implement a tax on tourists.

A short ferry ride from Hiroshima, the island is perhaps most noted for popular attractions, including its torii gate, the 12th-century Itsukushima Shrine, and Mount Misen.

 

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“It is necessary to secure new financial resources in order to continuously maintain quality of the Island as a tourist spot,” Taro Matsumoto, the newly elected mayor of Hatsukaichi city, told reporters at a press conference, CNN Philippines reports.

Matsumoto is hopeful that the tax will be put into action by the spring of 2021.

According to The Asahi Shimbun, over 4.3 million people travelled to Miyajima island in 2018, a one million person increase from 10 years before.

The current proposed amount for the tax is ¥100 ($1.20 CAD).

According to CNN Philippines, there are three potential methods for collecting the money, charging travellers coming by ferry, increasing the tax for ferry operators, or collecting the amount from visitors directly when they use the island’s facilities.

 

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Japan is in an interesting position right now as their foreign tourism rates have shot through the roof ahead of the Olympic Games being hosted in Tokyo in 2020.

The disparity between popular attractions compared to rural areas regarding funding is becoming more noticeable, and with an ever-increasing rate of urbanization as well as population ageing, certain groups and areas are struggling to keep up.

 

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Miyajima is not the first to impose a tourist tax, either.

Other international destinations, including New ZealandBaliVenice and Cabo San Lucas, have also implemented similar tourism taxes this year.