GBTA Lists Best and Worst Destinations for Travel Taxes

cashTravel taxes and fees enacted on travel-related services impose an average increased cost on visitors of 57 percent over general sales tax, according to new research released by the GBTA Foundation of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA). Chicago won the honors for the highest combined single day travel taxes at $40.31.

Findings from the 2012 annual study of car rental, hotel and meal taxes in the top 50 U.S. travel destination cities found these taxes are often used to fund local projects unrelated to tourism and business travel, GBTA says.

"Business travel is a key driver of economic growth, but overly burdensome taxes on business travel can often do more harm than good, especially when those taxes unfairly target visitors," said Joseph Bates, GBTA Foundation vice president of research. "Cities and states must think carefully about the sales that local businesses will lose because of the higher costs that travel taxes impose."

"Tax rates that spike add another dimension for travel managers and local businesses. If spending one night in Chicago is 81 percent more expensive than visiting Ft. Lauderdale, for example, it can have an effect on where businesses decide to meet, hold events, and spend their travel dollars," continued Bates.

The study provides several different views of travel taxes to help readers make informed choices. The GBTA ranks the top 50 markets are ranked in two ways: 1)By overall travel tax burden, including general sales tax and discriminatory travel taxes. 2) By "discriminatory" travel tax burden, excluding general sales taxes to count only taxes that target car rentals, hotel stays and meals.

Discriminatory travel taxes are targeted at travelers or travel-related areas and go above the general sales tax, GBTA says.

Total Travel Tax Burden

U.S. cities where travelers incur the lowest total tax burden in central city locations, factoring in general sales taxes and discriminatory travel taxes:

Lowest total tax burden
Combined single day travel taxes

Fort Lauderdale, FL
$22.21
Fort Myers, FL
$22.21
West Palm Beach, FL
$22.21
Detroit, MI
$22.37
Portland, OR
$22.45
Orange County, CA
$22.79
Burbank, CA
$23.74
Ontario, CA
$24.08
Honolulu, HI
$24.38
Orlando, FL
$24.50

U.S. cities where travelers incur the highest total tax burden in central city locations, factoring in general sales taxes and discriminatory travel taxes:

Highest total tax burden
Combined Single day travel taxes

Chicago, IL
$40.31
New York, NY
$37.98
Boston, MA
$34.83
Kansas City, MO
$34.58
Seattle, WA
$34.43
Minneapolis, MN
$34.32
Cleveland, OH
$34.22
Indianapolis, IN
$34.19
Nashville, TN
$34.13
Houston, TX
$33.51

Discriminatory Travel Tax Burden

Discriminatory travel taxes are those imposed specifically on travel services above and beyond general sales taxes. California boasts the lowest discriminatory travel tax rates in several central city locations.

U.S. cities with the lowest discriminatory travel tax rates in central city locations:

Lowest discriminatory travel tax rates
Discriminatory increase over general sales tax
Burbank, CA
$1.81
Orange County, CA
$3.36
Ontario, CA
$4.66
San Diego, CA
$5.43
Los Angeles, CA
$5.95
Oakland, CA
$5.95
Fort Lauderdale, FL
$7.17
Fort Myers, FL
$7.17
Tampa, FL
$7.17
West Palm Beach, FL
$7.17

U.S. cities with the highest discriminatory travel tax rates in central city locations:

Highest discriminatory travel tax rates
Discriminatory increase over general sales tax
Portland, OR
$22.45
Boston, MA
$19.17
Chicago, IL
$16.49
New York, NY
$15.74
Minneapolis, MN
$15.45
Kansas City, MO
$15.21
Charlotte, NC
$14.88
Cleveland, OH
$14.79
Milwaukee, WI
$14.76
Washington, DC
$14.68

Visit www.gbta.org and www.gbta.org/foundation

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