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IR experts give Osaka city entry tax idea mixed reviews

March 15, 2024 Japan Casino & HotelIndustry Updates

If a foreigner’s city-entry tax scheme is deemed “logical” and does not violate existing legal frameworks, Joji Kokuryo, managing director of Bay City Ventures Ltd, a consultancy closely involved in Japan’s casino liberalization process, believes the Japanese national government will permit Osaka to implement it.

As a way to combat overtourism, Osaka, which is led by MGM Resorts International and has ambitions to establish an integrated resort (IR) with a casino by 2030, is considering imposing a “entry fee” on international tourists, according to Hirofumi Yoshimura, the governor of Osaka Prefecture.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, Osaka alone brought in 12.31 million foreign visitors in 2019; Japan as a whole brought in around 4.12 million. The national total increased to almost 25.07 million by 2023.

From April to October 2025, Osaka is scheduled to host Expo 2025, a tourism destination for both domestic and international travelers. In time for Expo 2025, the prefecture plans to impose a city-entry charge on international visitors, according to Governor Yoshimura.

Kokuryo said that Osaka must create a lawful and reasonable structure before the Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications would approve the proposed city-entry tax. But he also underlined how important it is to give issues like anti-discrimination laws and how overseas residents of Japan are treated serious thought.

A more cautious stance was adopted by Daniel Cheng, a former senior executive with the Hard Rock casino brand, who pointed out significant obstacles in implementation and fairness. He implied that creating such a tax before the Osaka expo next year could be an unrealistic timeline since he considered getting authorization from the interior ministry as a challenging issue.

Cheng also spoke on the issue of overtourism, which has led to complaints from locals in tourist areas about how it disturbs their way of life and puts a pressure on infrastructure and resources for the industry.

Original story by: GGRAsia

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