Japan has started charging each person leaving the country a $9 (£7) departure tax, a measure aimed at raising funds to further boost tourism.
The International Tourist Tax will cover everyone regardless of nationality – from business people to holidaymakers older than two years of age – and will be tacked on to the price of an airline ticket.
The government wants to use the estimated 50billion yen ($460million/£360million) it will generate in additional tax revenue to improve tourism infrastructure.
Japan has started charging a $9 (£7) departure tax on each person leaving the country. Pictured is the busy Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo, which is extremely popular with tourists
This includes making airport immigration processes faster and encouraging visitors to explore areas beyond traditionally popular destinations.
Japan has been aggressively courting international tourists as a new pillar of economic growth.
More than 30million foreigners are estimated to have visited Japan in 2018, a new record, thanks to a steady flow of tourists from Asia – particularly China, South Korea and Taiwan.
The country used to focus on drawing shopaholic foreign tourists to urban areas, like Tokyo’s glitzy Ginza district.
But in recent years, more and more foreign visitors are venturing away from traditional tourist hubs like the capital and the ancient city of Kyoto, and going further afield, rather than buying gadgets to bring home, industry experts say.
However, busloads of tourists from around the world still regularly take a day trip from Tokyo to trek Mount Fuji and deep forests surrounding Japan’s highest peak.
Busloads of tourists from around the world still regularly take a day trip from Tokyo to trek Mount Fuji, pictured
The nation aims to boost visitor figures to 40million by 2020, when Tokyo hosts the Olympic Games.
However, Japan isn’t the only country to charge tourists a departure tax.
Countries including Australia, China, Costa Rica, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico and Sweden all enforce a levy.
In most cases, the taxes are included in the airfare.