Hiroshima hotel tax proposal revived

With tourism well and truly back, Hiroshima Governor has revived talk of a hotel tax that was being seriously considered before the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown. He has suggested infrastructure development to relieve congestion, digitalization, toilet issues as some of the ways that the funds raised could be used to improve the “customer experience” of visitors in the medium to long term.

Hiroshima Governor Press Conference

Based on our talks with visitors, we suggest some garbage cans to dispose of all the excess packaging they end up carrying around and some water refill stations.

On a more serious note, in the case of visitors from overseas at least, a cursory look at central Hiroshima and Miyajima suggests that day-trippers and cruise ship passengers have been major contributors to congestion and overcrowding during the popular spring season. The total capacity of cruise ships calling at Hiroshima between March 5 and April 14, has been just under 18,000 passengers, with some ships dumping 2,000-3,000 people at a time, who all want to visit the same places during their short time on-shore.

Should we really be taxing exactly the kind of visitors we *say* that we want? Those who stay overnight, with more time to stagger their visits to the major sights, and who are more likely to consider checking out all the other great options Hiroshima and the surrounding region has to offer (and which the local government is desperate to promote). These visitors not only contribute the most to our local economy but are most likely to leave with a real sense of Hiroshima and spread the good word about what an awesome place it is to family and friends when they get home.

Sources: RCC News [ja] | Hiroshima Governor Press Conference [ja] | Hiroshima Prefecture Cruise Ship Information [ja]

April 17, 2024