Traveling to Chicago any time soon? Get ready to pay a lot more in taxes than you would have if you'd opted to visit Honolulu or the sunny cities of southern Florida.
According to new research from the Global Business Travel Association Foundation, the education and research arm of the Alexandria, Va.-based GBTA, travelers to Chicago incur the highest total tax burden compared to travelers to other U.S. cities, costing them an average of $40.31 per day.
The GBTA Foundation looked at the average taxes on car rentals, hotels and meals in the top 50 U.S. travel destination cities. Discriminatory travel taxes and fees enacted on travel-related services, the association says, impose an average increased cost on visitors of 57 percent over general sales taxes.
"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."
New York ($37.98) and Boston ($34.83) joined Chicago as the three highest cities for single day travel taxes. Some other surprisingly pricey cities highlighted in the GBTA Foundation study include Kansas City ($34.58), Minneapolis ($34.32), Cleveland ($34.22) and Indianapolis ($34.19).
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Bates said when tax rates spike in a city, it adds another dimension for travel managers and businesses to consider when choosing where to take their business.
"If spending one night in Chicago is 81 percent more expensive than visiting Fort Lauderdale, for example, it can have an effect on where businesses decide to meet, hold events and spend their travel dollars."
In that respect, California and Florida may have an advantage as cities from both states dominate the list of destinations with the lowest total tax burden. Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers and West Palm Beach each cost travelers an average of just $22.21 a day in travel taxes. California destinations like Orange County, Burbank and Ontario, meanwhile, all have single-day tax burdens lower than $25.