News Release

 GBTA Reveals Best and Worst Travel Taxes in Top 50 U.S. Destinations 

Fifth Annual List Finds That Taxes Targeting Travel Services Increase Total Tax Burden by 57%


Alexandria, VA (September 10, 2012) – Discriminatory travel taxes and fees enacted on travel-related services impose an average increased cost on visitors of 57% over general sales tax, according to new research released by the GBTA Foundation, the education and research arm of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA). 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.


“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% 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 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. 


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: 



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


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:



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



The full list of fifty destinations can be found in the full report which offers detailed insight for travel managers interested in understanding the impact that these taxes have on their business travel spend. It is available exclusively to GBTA members by clicking here and non-members may purchase the report through the GBTA Foundation by emailing pyachnes@gbtafoundation.org.


CONTACT:          Meghan Henning, 703-236-1133, mhenning@gbta.org
                              Rebecca Carriero, 212-446-1897, rcarriero@sloanepr.com

About the GBTA Foundation
The GBTA Foundation is the education and research foundation of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), the world’s premier business travel and meetings trade organization headquartered in the Washington, D.C. area with operations on six continents. Collectively, GBTA’s 9,000-plus members manage more than $345 billion of global business travel and meetings expenditures annually. GBTA provides its growing network of more than 28,000 travel professionals and 125,000 active contacts with world-class education, events, research, advocacy and media. The Foundation was established in 1997 to support GBTA’s members and the industry as a whole. As the leading education and research foundation in the business travel industry, the GBTA Foundation seeks to fund initiatives to advance the business travel profession. The GBTA Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. For more information, see gbta.org and gbta.org/foundation.