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Kyoto eyes introducing lodging tax amid increasing tourist numbers

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Like Kyoto's not expensive enough already....

But it doesn't sound like they've got much of a plan for the money raised - is it really going to be used to improve things, or just to fill a budget shortfall somewhere else?

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Why tax and "punish" visitors?

Why not promote more AirBnB, build more hotels, minkans, and improve parking outlays with all the extra money Kyoto is making from the increase in visitors?

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Make AirBnB and uber legal and useful and you will solve your problem

2 ( +9 / -7 )

Nuisance taxes might break up congestion by making it less affordable to stay... but Kyoto is a "must see" for any first time traveler to Japan, so I predict nothing will change except the city getting richer!

Another option would be to encourage new businesses to build more lodging capacity... but that would make too much sense

5 ( +9 / -4 )

build more hotels, minkans, and improve parking outlays

Where exactly? Not sure if you know but Kyoto is jam-packed already!

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Sounds good to me. Japan needs to focus more on getting money out of tourists, not just the headline number of tourists coming. This lack of attention on the bottom line is why Tokyo is hosting the Olympics.

Kyoto has had big problems with congestion for years, so Uber won't help them - it would make things worse. Charging tourists and spending the money on bus and/or cycle lanes and burying power cables would improve the city. Kyoto's subway is rubbish and loses lots of money, so money from tourists could be used to make it into something more useful.

This tax will probably only be a couple of hundred yen like the taxes onsen towns have, so most people won't even notice.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Why not, if it indeed will be used to improve infrastructure efficiently and not syphoned off by some amakudari run semi govt organizations , go for it. If its a few hundred yen per night it will make zero difference to the tourist numbers.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

"Kyoto is facing swelling costs in tackling such issues as crowded hotels"

this statement makes no sense, isn't Japan trying to encourage tourism, and how will taxes be used to alleviate "crowded hotels"? Hotel operators want occupancy do they not?

8 ( +9 / -1 )

or just to fill a budget shortfall somewhere else?

It'll be spent to fill shortfalls in the pockets of the city government politicians and their friends.

One of the reasons why Japan has not been an attractive tourist destination is the high cost of coming here. Between the long and costly flight, expensive food and lodging, etc, garden-variety tourists can't afford it. The Disneyland park in California sees far more visitors each year than the entire country of Japan.

and how will taxes be used to alleviate "crowded hotels"

They won't, they just give the city government more money to loot. It'll be spent to build expensive tourist facilities which are greatly overpriced, with the difference being split between council members and contractors, politics as usual.

If there is a surge in tourists, hotel operators will build more hotels. That's how things are supposed to work. Disneyland sees upwards of 18 million visitors every year, not one taxpayer dollar was used to build the numerous hotels in the Anaheim area. The park and the hotel operators had no trouble at all finding a way to lodge ever increasing numbers of visitors. Visitors pay money for hotel rooms, so money can be made by building hotels. It is remarkably easy to do, apparently too easy for a politician to understand.

But politicians don't know how to make money, they only know how to spend it. And they don't even do that properly, as they spend much more than can be replaced by tax revenue. Rather than spend less, they want to collect more. And when the collect more, they don't use it to cover the shortfalls caused by excessive spending, as they immediately increase spending to a higher level than any increase revenue they receive.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Shouldn't all that extra money coming in from all those people at the Hotels and riding the bus be used to make things better? Why would you tax people more when the Hotels themselves should be paying higher taxes due to higher profits.... or is it that the Hotels continue to figure out ways not to pay tax? Maybe they should start taking a better look at accounting in Japan. Half the luxury cars you see on the road are "company cars" that have zero to do with the business. Typical.... the actual problem is never addressed.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Right, so lets get this straight. Kyoto has been designed over the years to encourage tourists to come and visit and spend their money. Numerous restaurants, shops, hotels etc have been created to develop the tourism industry. So now the local government wants funding to improve the overcrowded transportation and infrastructure, by taxing the actual source of increased revenue?? And not a word to the hundreds of local businesses who are currently milking it??

Imagine owning a business where revenue goes through the roof. This leads to pressures on your machinery and staff expenditure. Do you think you would increase your prices to your customers? And not use your increased income on capital expenditure?

As for the overcrowded hotels issue, this sorts itself out naturally. if you limit the number of hotels in Kyoto then you can control the number of tourists. And i cannot understand the overcrowded hotels comment anyway. Once a hotel is full, it is full. Its not like tourists are sleeping in reception or on the roof.?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Right, so lets get this straight. Kyoto has been designed over the years to encourage tourists to come and visit and spend their money. Numerous restaurants, shops, hotels etc have been created to develop the tourism industry. So now the local government wants funding to improve the overcrowded transportation and infrastructure, by taxing the actual source of increased revenue?? And not a word to the hundreds of local businesses who are currently milking it??

the government in Tokyo wants more tourists, the locals here in Kyoto, want far less and will vote out any mayor that tries taxing the locals for improvements they don't need. I say either tax the tourists or get the government to give the Kyoto municipal government more of the sales tax it is collecting on the back of Kyoto.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

With the surge in the number of lodgers, Kyoto is facing swelling costs in tackling such issues as crowded hotels and buses as well as the improvement of public transportation systems.

Rubbish.   More like they want to cash in.  and typically, kill the goose that lays the golden egg.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Makes sense, visitors are almost unlimited so they should be charged more rather than putting an extra burden on long suffering residents. I would say AirBnB and temporary lodging should not be allowed unless every tenant in a building agrees. Even then that may be too much for neighbours

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

rather than putting an extra burden on long suffering residents.

What burden? These tourists spend big money, which means that the residents who own businesses can make more money. These businesses can then afford to pay their help more money. Kyoto has been a tourist-based economy for generations. I

The wonderful thing about a strong tourist industry is that be brings in a great deal of money, but without the costs associated with domestic commerce. These tourists spend far more per day than the locals do, and 8% of what they pay is collected in tax. The extra money earned by hotels, restaurants, and shops becomes profit, which is also taxed, and the wages of the extra workers are also taxed. What's more, these tourists do not use the schools, hospitals, community centers and other things which locals use, and the government does not have to worry about paying them pensions or welfare. The state gets all the benefit of strong domestic spending, without the downside of paying for it's social costs. This is why cities and countries go to great expense to try to lure tourists.

The excuse that public transportation is overburdened is nonsense. If it is overburdened, then it means there are many more fare-paying users, and the extra fares can used to buy more buses or train cars.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Mike Wyckoff, the big question is, someone is making a nice big profit with the surge in Kyoto tourism. And those people raking it in should be the ones to pay additional taxes to support local infrastructure. It does not make sense to tax the customers and not to touch those with a healthy bank balance.

I will add that I also live in Kyoto city. And I am in no way connected to the tourism industry. My train to work is fine and trains going into Kyoto station seem fine too. Kyoto station itself is very busy but it always has been busy with local Japanese.

I laugh when people complain about tourists in Japan as businesses dont seem to have an issue when its time to collect the increased profits.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

The comments here seem pretty unanimous that this is just a cash grab. Pretty immoral to tax more the very people who are bringing money into Kyoto!

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Agree in principle, something has to be done. I don't want Kyoto to become another Venice where private real estate market, airbnb etc is out of control. Cap the number of hotels/beds in the city and limit/control/tax private lodges a la airbnb.

Sustainable tourism should be promoted, on both sides i.e tourists/local biz. Hordes of bogans not giving a T are cheapening Kyoto's brand.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Watch how FAST those same numbers drop.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

... taxes be imposed ... at all accommodations facilities in the city, including private houses and rooms for vacation rental. 

In practice, one wonders how such taxes could effectively be collected.

Heavier taxes should be imposed at accommodation facilities with higher fees, it said.

I'd be upset at this if I were in the business of helping to run such a facility... How is the business supposed to boost my wages if our customers are getting socked extra, reducing our ability to operate successfully?

Kyoto is facing swelling costs in tackling such issues as crowded hotels 

What is a "crowded hotel"? A hotel with full rooms? Is that a problem? And if it is a proboem, isn't it for the people / businesses running the local accomodation facilities to deal with anyway?

and buses as well as the improvement of public transportation systems.

If public transport is facing problems, how about charging MORE for use of public transport system, or privatizing the transport system?

One wonders who the expert panel consisted of... I'd bet there were a few former Kyoto politicians "hired" to offer their genius insights...

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

It doesn't matter who is running the bus to Kinkakuji or Ohara at autumn leaves time if the road is completely jammed. Tourists may spend money on small purchases that are not tax free, but all the consumption tax goes to the national government. It gets redistributed back as "kofuzei", but I don't know how much of that takes tourist spending into account. Every little town in inaka tries to grab as much as possible from the "kuni", to say nothing of huge projects like the Olympics, the 15m tsunami wall in Tohoku, and that white elephant of a maglev, so who knows how much is left in the pot. My guess is that Kyoto doesn't get all the tourist taxes back.

Hugely expensive projects like burying power cables, to make the city more attractive to tourists, would ideally be partially funded by tourists themselves. Nobody knows how long Japan will remain the trendy tourist destination it is now, so the sensible thing would be to raise and spend revenue now to make Japan more attractive to make sure this demand can be sustainable.

fwiw, "travel" and "hotels" are two of the five lowest salary sectors of the Japanese economy. Workers in them will not be "enriched" or paying much if any tax. For a typical tourism economy, see Greece or Thailand.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

sangetsu03,

"...the numerous hotels in the Anaheim area. The park and the hotel operators had no trouble at all finding a way to lodge ever increasing numbers of visitors... "

To compare Kyoto to Anaheim is laughable. Disneyland was built in an area, while not "empty", was mainly orange orchards. Better to compare Kyoto to another ancient, already crowded city, with height restrictions that prevent excessively vertical expansion of hotels.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Are the buses and public infrastructure run on subsidized rates. If not just put more buses. Don't send a negative message to tourism by introducing some crazy tax just because you are incompetent.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@goldorak: Agree. Tourism has to be sustainable. Having hordes of tourists for the sake of having tourists is not enough. No one except novelty shop owners really sees any of the tourist trickle themselves, however bear the full brunt of having to accommodate them. Tax them higher and dish out the proceeds to residents.

Also temp lodging like AirBnB needs to be regulated more closely, already have had some poor experiences with it and our building has banned it entirely now.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Are the buses free for tourists? Of course not. Greedy little government workers.

How about an 10% tax to be paid by government workers for their added burden to the community?

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Yes let's piss off the tourists!!!

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Just imagining this now... get a receipt for your hotel stay and there is an entry there telling you how much special Kyoto Hotel tax you have paid. Welcome to the land of bureaucracy, the full Japan experience!

not a word to the hundreds of local businesses who are currently milking it??

Trying to extract money from them just means they'll seek to pass those costs on to their customers. Businesses often aren't run for charity.

the Hotels themselves should be paying higher taxes due to higher profits....

If hotels are paying their taxes then they will be paying higher taxes when they make higher profits, that's how the tax system works for any income making entity. But something being economically successful is not a pursuasive reason to hike tax rates on it.

is it that the Hotels continue to figure out ways not to pay tax? 

If Kyoto goes ahead and adds some hotel tax, I would take a bet that there would be an increase in hotel operators figuring out ways to avoid paying it. That makes it a bad idea. If you can't collect a tax then it's a bad idea.

It doesn't matter who is running the bus to Kinkakuji or Ohara at autumn leaves time if the road is completely jammed. 

This is a good point. I don't see how collecting an extra tax is going to unblock the roads. A brainier solution is surely required.

temp lodging like AirBnB needs to be regulated more closely, already have had some poor experiences with it and our building has banned it entirely now.

Why does AirBnB need to be regulated more closely? It sounds like your building already resolved the issues with it by banning it - problem solved already, without having a bunch of useless bureaucrats get involved.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I would say AirBnB and temporary lodging should not be allowed unless every tenant in a building agrees.

Air BnB is a blight and nuisance in many cities. I had problems myself in London with flats in our block being rented out this way. Noise and antisocial behaviour goes hand in hand with Air BnB and similar services. It also reduces the number of residential properties available to rent and pushes up rents, ruining communities.

Don't let Kyoto go this way.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Having hordes of tourists for the sake of having tourists is not enough. No one except novelty shop owners really sees any of the tourist trickle themselves, however bear the full brunt of having to accommodate them

Unfortunately i disagree strongly. Hordes of tourists equals hordes of local tourism industry jobs. Hotel reception, chefs, guides, historic temple staff, cleaners etc. Low salary rates yes, but hordes of local jobs. And these hordes of employees spend their salaries on local childcare, local supermarkets, local rent, local restaurants, local holiday bookings - you catch my drift.

Research the value in yen that the tourist industry is currently worth to the Japanese economy. You will be astounded and these hordes of tourists are helping people to live.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

If tax, more people to go "airbnb" but simply through the internet.

Why pay a tax if tou can easily avoid it.

What is laughable is that there is plenty of potential space improvement, yet no one starts with this idea.

Collecting tourist money won't help as Japan is already too expensive for accomodation in cities. It is just political money.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

One of the reasons why Japan has not been an attractive tourist destination is the high cost of coming here. Between the long and costly flight, expensive food and lodging, etc, garden-variety tourists can't afford it.

The numbers during the past 3-4 years fully contradict your statement. Even the number of visitors from East-Asian countries which are not yet considered “developed economies” is still on the rise.

If there is a surge in tourists, hotel operators will build more hotels. That's how things are supposed to work.

Considering how overcrowded Kyoto already is, this is not the most obvious solution for the city.

Disneyland sees upwards of 18 million visitors every year, not one taxpayer dollar was used to build the numerous hotels in the Anaheim area. The park and the hotel operators had no trouble at all finding a way to lodge ever increasing numbers of visitors.

There is one huge difference though. The Disneyland was not built in a city. Can’t see how you can use it as an example for building new hotels/lodging facilities in a city like Kyoto.

 Kyoto has been designed over the years to encourage tourists to come and visit and spend their money. Numerous restaurants, shops, hotels etc have been created to develop the tourism industry.

 Yes, it was a travel destination for the domestic travelers. Until ten years ago. Since Japan started promoting itself in overseas markets, the number of visitors grew to the point where the existing infrastructure could not accommodate the new numbers.

I am not familiar with details but it is also a way to decrease the already huge number of visitors whom the present infrastructure cannot accommodate anymore. I think we should not forget that local people can be on the receiving side when we talk about the negative effects of tourism (and yes, these do exist.)

Imagine owning a business where revenue goes through the roof. This leads to pressures on your machinery and staff expenditure. Do you think you would increase your prices to your customers? And not use your increased income on capital expenditure?

If only it were that simple. Kyoto is not a single company. The resources for building new infrastructure are limited. The residents should be able to live comfortably, too. Capital expenditure is good when your customers are increasing. But keeping the number growing all the time is impossible. I am not sure how it is in this case, but sustainability might be more important than constant growth when you consider the limited resources and the interests of the residents.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Jane, in a nutshell:-

An intelligent way to create some control on numbers is to restrict hotel space and restrict Air BnB.

Taxing the tourists already spending good money is bad PR. Especially when the notion of taxing local businesses making good profits has not even been raised.

My analogy about comparing Kyoto to a profitable business was purely a point about using your increased profits to deal with your own infrastructure, not by taxing your customers.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

So the people there can stick their noses higher in the air, inviting people to stay on the surface while scorning their presence? Such an arrogant Prefecture. Just yesterday I edited translated documents for tourism and it was "Kyo-yasai is best", "Tea Kyoto", Kyoto is forest and sea.

"Please come and love us... but only for a bit."

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

 Half the luxury cars you see on the road are "company cars" that have zero to do with the business. Typical.... the actual problem is never addressed. you dont know much about running a business, with the added taxes huge amount of accounting paper work and just overall extra cost of running a company, companies will always find ways to minimize their tax burden. If a company owner can drive a luxury vehicle and claim it as a tax deduction, why not, next youll be saying that these same company managers / owners should be taking their clients to Yoshinoya instead of a nice restaurant. My first job paid less that $10K a year, now im a company owner and the added pressures / costs associated Im not too quick to judge companies on their tax responsibilities, especially if theyre doing it within the law. Oh not to mention the people I employ.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Such an arrogant Prefecture

Funny. The tourist numbers seem to point to the the fact that that travellers are far more interested in visiting Kyoto, despite all these claims of arrogance, than somewhere nowhere nearly as attractive or welcoming like maybe Korea.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The numbers during the past 3-4 years fully contradict your statement

No, they don't. The California Disneyland receives about one-third more visitors than the entire country of Japan. And the Orlando Disney park receives far more than that. As a developed country, Japan has an exceeding small tourist industry. Far more people visit New York, Paris, or London, or Rome, or any other major European city that the entire country of Japan.

Considering how overcrowded Kyoto already is, this is not the most obvious solution for the city.

Kyoto is not as densely populated as Tokyo, and they are building hotels here hand-over-fist.

There is one huge difference though. The Disneyland was not built in a city. Can’t see how you can use it as an example for building new hotels/lodging facilities in a city like Kyoto.

No, Disneyland was not built in a city, but before the park was even opened, investors and hotel operators bought up all the land in the area, eventually pushing up land prices to as high as $10,000 per square foot. No property in Kyoto comes anywhere close to that value. And even at that price, real estate in the area sold as quickly as it came on the market. Disney himself wasn't even able to open a hotel for the park, a friend had to open and operate it for him. I am very well acquainted with the history of the area. Once again, Tokyo is far more densely populated than Kyoto, yet hotels are going up all over the city.

I am not familiar with details but it is also a way to decrease the already huge number of visitors whom the present infrastructure cannot accommodate anymore. 

It is nothing of the kind. The present infrastructure is already changing to accommodate more visitors, on my visit last year I stayed at a brand new Tokyu hotel. How many hotels are under construction in Kyoto right now? The tax is a money grab, and nothing more than that. You must understand that politics itself is a business, and it is the most lucrative business in the world. The politicians are not satisfied with the huge increase in business and payroll taxes they are already receiving from the increase in tourism, they wants to increase regulation on the industry to increase their own financial control over it. Few economies in the world as as anti-competitive as Japan's is.

Japan is riding a wave of popularity as a tourist destination right now. Waves eventually run out, so Japan must exploit this popularity as much as it can, so that it can become an established tourist destination. With Japan's industrial economy going the way of the Titanic, it sorely needs a new source of revenue. No industry brings in as much untied money as the tourist industry. If Kyoto wants to fark itself in the backside by biting the hand that feeds it, people can just spend an extra day or two somewhere else in Japan. Many places in Japan are crying for somebody, anybody, to pass through and leave a little money behind.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

 1.An intelligent way to create some control on numbers is to restrict hotel space and restrict Air BnB.

Hotel space is already restricted. AirBnB is obviously not but hopefully will.  

 My analogy about comparing Kyoto to a profitable business was purely a point about using your increased profits to deal with your own infrastructure, not by taxing your customers.

Fair enough. Yet, the new tax is going to be imposed on lodgers per night (I guess it will be collectable upon paying for your stay at any accommodation facility within the city. If this tax puts some people off visiting Kyoto, then it might become easier to deal with congestion which, though not articulated well in the article, is obviously one of the major reasons for the introduction of the tax.

Also, you first talk about restricting the hotel space and then say that you need to use the increased profit to build more infrastructure. So, it seems that we are back to the points of limited space and sustainability over growth gone wild.

2.Taxing the tourists already spending good money is bad PR. Especially when the notion of taxing local businesses making good profits has not even been raised.

It depends on how you look at it and what you want to achieve. For overcrowded all-year-round tourist destinations it is often a blessing in disguise. Re local businesses, sure enough, they pay taxes, too.

But again, we do need to consider the local people, too. The phenomenon of getting tired of tourists rumbling around day and night is not unique to Kyoto. It has been observed in a good number of travel destinations (mostly cities which are popular year-round) all over the world and local authorities have only now begun to look into how they can strike a balance between the benefits of great visitor numbers and residents who'd rather have fewer visitors and more relaxed everyday life.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I agree with Sangetsu. The proposed tax may deter tourism to some extent and be perceived as gouging .

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

sangetsu,

Sorry, I was referring to the numbers of foreign visitors to Japan, never to the numbers of Disney in the USA.

No, Disneyland was not built in a city, but before the park was even opened, investors and hotel operators bought up all the land in the area, eventually pushing up land prices to as high as $10,000 per square foot. No property in Kyoto comes anywhere close to that value.

Are you trying to imply that investors should buy up all the land in Kyoto so that they can build hotels there?

Eventhough the two Disneylands  in the US made huge profits, there is still no base for comparison between them and Kyoto. They were built only for the purpose of accepting visitors. They can expand and have new hotels built relatively easily. Kyoto is a city where expanding roads, parks and any other facilities, when possible, takes a huge amount of time and where local residents also have their say. Oh, and when I talk about "infrastructure" I mean much more than simply accommodation facilities. Kyoto's infrastructure (with the exception of accommodation) is used by the locals, too.

 am not familiar with details but it is also a way to decrease the already huge number of visitors whom the present infrastructure cannot accommodate anymore. 

It is nothing of the kind. The present infrastructure is already changing to accommodate more visitors, on my visit last year I stayed at a brand new Tokyu hotel.

But if the numbers continue to grow at the same rates as now, soon the few hotels being built in the city will not be up to the task.

If Kyoto wants to fark itself in the backside by biting the hand that feeds it, people can just spend an extra day or two somewhere else in Japan.

I fail to see how that would be a bad thing. You will have happier Kyoto residents,  happier local communities in other parts of Japan, a more relaxed destination and probably more considerate  foreign visitors who are ready to pay a little more for a better place to spend their holidays in.

Japan is riding a wave of popularity as a tourist destination right now. Waves eventually run out, so Japan must exploit this popularity as much as it can, so that it can become an established tourist destination.

Well, there are different ways to look at this. Japan can exploit its popularity until it wears down and then shut down as a travel destination (more or less) or reign in the growth and introduce a more sistainable development/long-term advancement of the industry and urban environment. Improving infrastructure ("expansion" does not mean "improvement" BTY) is important when you are trying to establish yourself as a brand in the long term.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It's a inevitable product of cheap, convenient travel. Progress can come with a downside. Residents leaving Venice in droves, and last week's protests in Barcelona are symptoms.

I don't see the desperate need to see something in person. I know the Taj Mahal from TV and photos, and while I'd love to visit India, I wouldn't go all that way to see something so well-known. Same with the Leaning Tower of Pisa, or Angkor Wat.

Countries are so much pleasanter when you stay away from tourist spots....

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Completely agree with Jane & dcog.

@TTD, you do make some very valid point re tourists representing $ for locals but imo you do not take into account (or not enough) Kyoto's specificity. As Jane says, Kyoto's an all-year-round tourist destination which is already densely populated. On top of that unlike many other cities, Kyoto's attractiveness is as much about "Kyotoites" themselves, its unique atmosphere, ppl wearing kimonos/yukatas, maiko/geishas walking around etc than monuments/buildings. This is why, more than anywhere else perhaps, too many tourists could kill the local tourism industry as locals wouldn't feel comfortable being themselves (reckon we've already reached a tipping point tbh). Next thing you know, the only maikos/geishas we will see walking around will be 'fake' ones on 750yens an hour, selling pics for a thousand yens.

Again, I don't know if taxing tourists is the best/only solution but I do think controlling/capping the number of hotel beds & airbnb type of accommodations is necessary.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

gold, agree with your post and I don't disagree with the fact that numbers are getting out of control somewhat in some parts of Kyoto. I myself live in Kyoto city. The square 2km around Kyoto station is bulging.

For sure the best solution is to stop anymore hotels being built and to control the amount of hotel accomodation available. My main argument here and reason for posting is that I find it incredible that the local government want to tax the tourists already spending good money, and do not even think about increasing taxes for businesses making profits.

National government are also skirting their responsibility. All of these billions of yen trickle back into national government tax income, from retailers to hoteliers paying national taxes on their income.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

TigersTokyoDome: "Funny. The tourist numbers seem to point to the the fact that that travellers are far more interested in visiting Kyoto, despite all these claims of arrogance, than somewhere nowhere nearly as attractive or welcoming like maybe Korea."

How do tourism numbers point to a lack of arrogance? If anything, you prove my point. Tourists don't immediately see the attitude of many people who are permanent residents, and that is especially true for Kyoto people. For them, the idea of a "Kyoto on the sea" and all the temples and modern shopping centres are most certainly, and rightly so, attractive. There is no denying Kyoto is rich in history and culture, but to constantly point that out and toot your own horn is arrogance, and if you can't see the feeling of superiority in the people there, let alone this nation (and you prove that again with the dig at South Korea, which is completely off-topic and for some reason you think an attacking point), then that tree is blocking the forest, my friend, because, I'm telling you, if I took a plain old green pepper and asked someone from Kyoto what it was, then asked them again but said it was from Kyoto, you'd get a different answer with the latter.

I'll tell you what, let's just call it "Kyo-arrogance", and I think you'd understand perfectly.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

The allegation of 'Kyoto arrogance' has always baffled me. Maybe its just the local insouciant reaction to seeing so many visitors, both foreign and Japanese, all the time.

If you are polite and strike conversations you will find that locals in Kyoto are not arrogant at all. And I have never had a rudeness issue with their taxi drivers.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@TTD, all fair points (Japan's tax system is still very new to me btw).

Also agree re Kyotoites not being arrogant (nor particularly 'classy' tbh, another common cliché I hear a lot about Kyoto ppl).

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I lived in Osaka for ten years and I knew a lot of Osakans who had a negative image of Kyoto people in spite of them still being from Kansai.

The "in Japan" version of common sense says this tax will only be 200 yen or so, so it's hardly "gouging". Presumably it will be on AirBnBs too, unless they want the town to come and shut them down. Two seconds of Google found me an example of a city that already has a hotel tax, yep Osaka, 40 minutes (not shink) away from Kyoto. It's zero for people paying under 10,000 a night, then goes up to 100 yen and then 200 yen depending on the price of the accom.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Why not charge a bit more for entrance to the attractions? They are pretty inexpensive.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Tourism is huge contributor of foreign currency to the treasury. Tourism provide huge potential commercially in transportation, entertainment, and the activates services industry, it is one area that provides the means of sustainable economic growth. To inanely and shortsightedly tax tourism core means of expansion accommodation is a complete lack of the very basic skills of marketing and enterprise.

It doesn't surprise me local governments are infested with a notable lack of smart innovative capability.

Putting formally, either Japan grows its economy, tourism is a core ingredient to provide that growth, especially with Tokyo 2020 on the horizon, or consumption tax will need to rise maybe above 10% and before 2019, plus a far reaching analysis of direct taxation of earnings.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

We stayed at Saga and some little tourist busses would have been great. There weren't any at our nice Sun Hotel.

We took busses and it was fun to feel like a Japanese citizen.

But sometimes it would have been nice to have a small tourist bus.

I loved Saga.

We did experience some kind of mean older men taking photos of a pool of lotus blossoms one day. They glared at my husband who is Caucasian. They probably couldn't figure me out but I am half-Japanese.

Most people in Kyoto were great!

I wish I could afford to go back.

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How can people be so irresponsible as to believe private taxis are going to solve something?  The average Japanese taxi driver is over 50 and makes peanuts.  A large number would be forced to quit and then they would be a shortage of taxis.  Are you seriously going to get up at 3 am to drive some stranger around?  No way.  The Jap. Government will never allow Uber or another home grown company to destroy the established taxi industry.

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I don't really see what the big deal is. If I were a resident of Kyoto, I would just be concerned with how the money from the tax would be used. Hopefully the politicians won't charge such an outrageous tax as to reduce demand. The people who are complaining obviously haven't been to Anaheim or America. A quick google search reveals that Anaheim has a 15% hotel tax.

https://www.anaheim.net/575/Transient-Occupancy-Tax

Even my hometown has a 5% hotel tax - and it's not a tourist destination.

Full disclosure: I'm an American, so there could be something I'm missing here. I just saw this researching a trip (as a future tourist, a hotel tax wouldn't make much difference to me.)

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