Study Reveals U.S. Cities With Best and Worst Travel Taxes

A new Global Business Travel Association study shows the impact taxes have on a traveler’s bill and ranks the top-50 U.S. destinations by travel taxes.

Business travel costs can add up when you tally hotel, car rental, and meals. But a new study by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Foundation found that travel taxes on those necessities increase a traveler’s total bill by 58 percent, up 1 percent from 2012.

The annual study, which also ranks the best and worst destinations for single-day travel taxes, showed that despite Florida’s reputation as an “exotic” location, three cities from the Sunshine State top the list of destinations with the lowest total tax burden—general sales taxes combined with travel taxes—for business travelers; each levies roughly $22.61 per day in total taxes.

lowest total tax burdenSource: GBTA

Conversely, Chicago tops the list for highest total tax burden ($41.04), followed by New York ($38.65), and Minneapolis ($36.70). The average total tax burden among the top-50 destinations was $29.94.

Source: GBTASource: GBTA

When looking at just the travel tax burden, which GBTA refers to as “discriminatory travel taxes,” three California cities—Burbank ($1.58), Orange County ($3.16), and Ontario ($4.48)—rank the lowest.

lowest discriminatory tax ratesSource: GBTA

Meanwhile, Portland, Oregon ($22.86), Boston ($19.34), and Indianapolis ($18.10) had the highest discriminatory travel taxes.

highest discriminatory tax ratesSource: GBTA

“Municipalities are under pressure to raise revenue wherever they can, but imposing too heavy a tax burden on business travel is a shortsighted strategy,” GBTA Foundation Vice President of Research Joseph Bates said in a statement. “With taxes rising in every area of society, companies and travel managers are taking an increasingly hard look at the price they’re being asked to pay to visit any given city or region.”

The group warned that the high travel tax rates could negatively impact business for the cities that sit high on the list.

“Road warriors strengthen the economy, create jobs, and drive economic security. Yet governments insist on treating travelers like their ATM,” Michael W. McCormick, executive director and COO of GBTA, said in the statement. “These types of punitive travel taxes will ultimately push business travelers to stay home, and we all pay when governments take a short-sighted approach that raises the costs for business travel.”


Rob Stott

By Rob Stott

Rob Stott is a contributing editor for Associations Now. MORE

Got an article tip for us? Contact us and let us know!