TOURISM

Fort Lauderdale tops list of lowest travel taxes

 

Once again, Fort Lauderdale can claim bragging rights as a top hotel market with the lowest travel taxes.

The Global Business Travel Association’s yearly look at taxes targeted at tourists and business travelers puts Fort Lauderdale at the lowest, with an average charge of $22.61 charged on a day’s worth of $256 in travel costs. Fort Lauderdale actually tied Fort Myers and West Palm Beach for the top ranking in the list, which ranked Chicago last among the top 50 travel destinations, estimating a visitor to the Windy City pays with $41 in daily taxes.

The trade group generally takes a dim view of efforts by governments to generate more revenue from visitors. In the report, it characterizes the 1 percent tax Miami-Dade levies on restaurants to fund homeless centers and domestic-violence centers as one of several taxes that could be considered “discriminatory, in the sense that it shifts the legal burden of the tax to a disfavored (non-local) group” -- that is, to travelers.

Miami-Dade charges a 6 percent hotel tax, compared to 5 percent in Miami-Dade. Miami-Dade also adds a 1 percent sales tax to hotel restaurants (and uses the money to fund tourism campaigns), while non-hotel restaurants pay 1 percent toward the homeless and domestic-violence programs. Miami-Dade ranks 17th on the GBTA list, with an average tax burden of $28 per day.

DOUGLAS HANKS

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