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The issue of “overtourism” prompts Osaka to contemplate levying taxes on incoming tourists

March 7, 2024 Japan Industry Updates

On Wednesday, the governor of Osaka Prefecture announced the potential implementation of a fixed fee for foreign visitors, with a possible alignment with the commencement of the World Expo in western Japan in April 2025. This fee, as reported by Kyodo News, aims to finance measures addressing concerns about “overtourism,” particularly as the Prefecture plans to open an integrated resort featuring a casino in 2030 on Yumeshima, an artificial island in Osaka Bay and the venue for the 2025 Expo.

As of now, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications confirms that local governments in Japan have not implemented any taxation schemes specifically targeting foreigners. The ministry stated that approval from the internal affairs minister is required to implement such a system, with specific details yet to be finalized. Additionally, the prefectural government must overcome certain obstacles, including ensuring the consistency of the levy system with the nation’s tax conventions. To address this issue, the prefectural government intends to establish a panel in April.

Currently, the prefecture imposes an accommodation tax ranging from JPY100 ($0.67) to JPY300 ($2) on room fees of JPY7,000 ($47) or more per night, applicable to both Japanese and foreign guests. Governor Yoshimura suggested a similar fixed fee amount for consideration.

The first integrated resort in Japan is expected to cost around $13.5 billion and will be developed jointly by US casino operator MGM Resorts International and local partner Orix Corp. The project, known as the Osaka IR, is scheduled to open in the autumn of 2030.

The Osaka IR will include hotels and amenities such as MGM Osaka, MGM Villas, and the MUSIIB Hotel, boasting a total of 2,500 guest rooms. Additionally, it will feature a variety of dining and food & beverage options, retail space, a spa, a fitness center, and banquet halls.

Osaka aims to attract 20 million visitors annually with its first casino, potentially contributing to Japan’s long-term goal of attracting 60 million annual foreign tourists by 2030.

Original Story by: AGB

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