An annual study of car rental, hotel and meal taxes in the top 50 U.S. travel destinations shows that visitors pay 56 percent more than they would with just general sales taxes. In the worst-case scenarios, the burden is as high as 144 percent.
The study also showed that discriminatory travel taxes and fees imposed on travelers often fund local projects unrelated to the travel industry.
The data was compiled by the NBTA Foundation, the education and research arm of the National Business Travel Association, and Concur, a company that helps companies control meeting and event costs.
“The business and travel communities are increasingly concerned about the negative impact that taxes targeting travelers have on the greater travel industry,” stated Michael W. McCormick, NBTA executive director and COO, calling the practice of discriminatory taxes “unacceptable.”
Instead of attracting business travelers, cities with high discriminatory taxes keep them away and, as a result, hurt local economies, said Rajeev Singh, Concur president and COO.
The study provides two views of travel taxes: overall travel tax burden and discriminatory travel tax burden. In ascending order, the cities with the lowest total taxes are Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Fort Myers, Fla.; Portland, Ore.; Detroit; and Honolulu.
The cities with the highest total taxes, highest to least high, are Chicago, New York, Boston, Seattle and Minneapolis, Minn.
The metro areas with the lowest discriminatory travel tax rates, in ascending order, are Orange County, Calif.; San Jose, Calif.; Burbank, Calif.; San Diego; and Ontario, Canada.