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Japan

Japanese city Kyoto to charge tourists new ‘stay tax’

Tokyo and Osaka Prefecture impose a similar tax on travellers staying at accommodation that charge more than 10,000 yen

PUBLISHED : Friday, 03 November, 2017, 12:53pm
UPDATED : Friday, 03 November, 2017, 10:30pm

Tourists staying at hotels, inns and private lodgings in the Japanese city of Kyoto will have to pay a new tax.

Under the measure expected to begin in October next year, the tax is set at 200 yen ($1.75) for travellers staying in accommodation that charge less than 20,000 yen per night per person, 500 yen for more than 20,000 yen and less than 50,000 yen and 1,000 yen for more than 50,000 yen.

Tokyo and Osaka Prefecture impose a similar tax on travellers staying at accommodation that charge more than 10,000 yen, but the Kyoto ordinance will be the first in Japan that also targets private lodging businesses.

Some areas in Kyoto are rife with unauthorised private lodging businesses and equally imposing a tax could be a challenge for the city.

In 2016, about 55 million people visited the former Japanese capital, which now faces such problems as traffic jams and noise.

The city was expected to raise some 4.56 billion yen a year by taxing travellers, with the revenue expected to be used to promote tourism.

According to the city, there are 2,479 lodging facilities operating in Kyoto as of the end of September, of which 77 per cent are guest houses and other boarding houses.

Due to the increasing number of foreign tourists, the city faces a chronic shortage of lodging facilities. Some 1.1 million people are staying in illegal private lodging facilities annually, according to one estimate.

In July, the Japanese parliament enacted a law that allows property owners across Japan to rent out vacant homes or rooms to tourists after notifying municipalities.

As the law will come into force in July next year, Kyoto was considering setting its own regulations to create a system for collecting taxes.

It may designate intermediary agencies between travellers and lodging service providers as the responsible entity to collect the taxes.