ADVERTISEMENT

Rising travel taxes: Survey shows they're impacting travel plans

By Michelle Baran
October 3, 2012
blog_bttraveltaxes_original.jpg
Courtesy Michelle Baran

As city, county and state governments look for more ways to boost their revenues, they're relying on higher taxes on everything from hotel rooms to airfare, car rentals to bus fares, and travelers are starting to notice, a recent survey shows.

According to the U.S. Travel Association, 49 percent of travelers say they have scaled back their plans due to higher travel taxes, including staying at less expensive hotels and traveling during the off-season, a survey of 1,000 U.S. adults that have completed overnight travel sometime in the last year showed.

"Travelers are often considered an easy tax target, but few public officials understand how rising travel taxes influence consumer behavior and impact the economy," said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association.

In other words, if higher travel taxes have an adverse effect on traveling, they could ultimately be counterproductive, according to the organization.

The U.S. Travel Association, a non-profit organization that works to promote travel to and within the U.S., commissioned the survey as part of its newly created Travel Tax Institute to research rising travel taxes and their potential impact on the economy.

What it found, was that 68 percent of travelers find hotel taxes to be "very high" (35 percent) or "high" (33 percent); and 66 percent rated airfare taxes as either "very high" (38 percent) or "high" (28 percent).

And the majority of travelers (65 percent) are expecting travel taxes to continue to increase in the coming year.

Then there's what the money from the higher taxes should be used for. The majority of respondents felt that travel tax revenue should at least be spent on enhancing the quality of the visitor experience.

Sixty percent of travelers said travel taxes should be reinvested in travel infrastructure, such as roads and airports. Only 14 percent of those surveyed cited "non-travel related expenditures" such as "contributions to government general funds" as an appropriate use for the taxes.

What about you? Have you noticed higher travel taxes? Have you changed your travel plans because of them? Let us know by voting in our poll or commenting below.

More from Budget Travel:

Should D.C.'s museums start charging fees?

Taxing controversy: Should hotels or booking engines be paying more in taxes?

Rome to tax tourists instead of locals

Keep reading
Inspiration

Europe's biggest tourist traps?

A new Lonely Planet survey finds that Ireland's Blarney Stone is one of Europe's many "tourist traps." Three out of four people said in a survey that the 15th-century Blarney Castle with its famous rock (to be kissed for good luck) is not worth seeing. I must admit I agree about the Blarney Stone. Kinda overrated. But fortunately it's now well guarded. Back in the day, local kids were rumored to sneak in at night to piss on the stone the tourists would kiss the next day. Another attraction most of 13,000 surveyed travelers say to skip is the London Eye, a "glorified Ferris Wheel" in the heart of the British capital. But now it's your turn. What do you think are Europe's most overrated attractions? We're talking about specific experiences, not entire countries, please. Things like: Taking a gondola ride in Venice. Climbing to the top of The Eiffel Tower. Attending Oktoberfest in Munich. Let us know by posting a comment! MORE THAN BUDGET TRAVEL What's better than Stonehenge? (19 comments) Should we tip flight attendants? (60 comments) Introducing the new 'all you can drink' cruise 100+ Facebook likes

Cruises

Cruise news: Disney Cruise Line expands into NYC

It's been a big year for the Disney Cruise Line brand. This January, the third ship in the Disney fleet, the Dream, launched her maiden voyage out of Port Canaveral, Florida. Cruisers, including our very own editor in chief Nina Willdorf, have raved about the boat's many family-friendly features, from the world's first water coaster at sea (the 765-foot-long AquaDuck) to the animated Magical Portholes found in inside staterooms. So how to top themselves in 2012? Expansion! Starting next year, in addition to sailings from Los Angeles and Port Canaveral, Disney Cruise Line will embark from three new ports: Seattle, Galveston, and New York. From its new Big Apple home, the Disney Magic will offer classic Bahamas itineraries (complete with stops at Disney's own private island, Castaway Cay). Cruisers will even receive a complimentary Park Hopper pass and free shuttle transportation between the port and the Walt Disney World resort when the boat hits Florida. In addition, Disney is adding a New England and Canada coastal route, as well as a new two-night journey out to sea—an appealing option, perhaps, for cruising commitmentphobes like me. MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL The Completely Obsessive Absolutely Indispensable Guide to Disney World Royal Caribbean's Most Passionate Cruisers Ask Trip Coach: Cruising

Travel Tips

Should D.C.'s museums start charging fees?

One federal budget proposal is to end free admission to the Smithsonian museums. If this happened, museums in Washington, D.C., such as the National Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of Natural History, might charge $7.50 an adult. The bipartisan panel tasked by President Obama to pinpoint policies to fix our national financies would like to add fees for entry to favorite institutions. (See the full proposal. It opens as a PDF; you can download free Adobe software here). A fee of about $7.50 an adult could earn the federal government about $225 million a year, says the commission. To be clear, neither the Democratic nor the Republican party has officially endorsed adding fees to D.C.'s national museums. This idea is merely something being discussed among options. What do you think? Should Smithsonian museums charge an admission fee of about $7.50 an adult? Or should admission to the National Zoo and National Gallery remain free? if (WIDGETBOX) WIDGETBOX.renderWidget('34f555d2-b452-4f11-81a2-28c8d18684ec');Get the Poll Creator Pro widget and many other great free widgets at Widgetbox! Not seeing a widget? (More info)What do you think? Should Smithsonian museums charge an admission fee of about $7.50 an adult? MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL Confessions Of... A Flight Attendant A Flight Attendant Sounds Off About "Rude" Passengers 8 Things an Airline Would Never Tell You

Travel Tips

Revealed: America's most expensive airports

Houston is the costliest large airport to fly out of nationwide. Bush Intercontinental tickets cost about $85 above what they should, says a survey. Newark and Dallas are the next worst offenders when it comes to high fares. These are results from an analysis done by Nate Silver. He's the number-crunching superstar who jumped from accurately predicting baseball games to accurately predicting national elections. He now studies airfares, airline violence, and other non-travel mysteries. Here's how the study worked. Silver studied prices for domestic round-trip tickets in coach class. He made an estimate of what a "fair" ticket price should be at each airport. His formula is complicated, but it's based on a simple question: What if no single airline had a near-monopoly at any airport. For example, Delta controls about two-thirds of the traffic at Memphis's main airport. Silver says fares would be about $100 cheaper in Memphis if more airlines competed for business there. (We'll soon find out. Last month, Delta said it would soon cut one out of four of its flights departing from Memphis.) On this score, the most expensive airport in America is Fayetteville, Ark. Its coach-class round trip tickets cost $527 on average. That's $158 above the estimate of "fair" prices. The reason is simple, says Silver: There aren't enough airlines competing to serve local customers there. Here are the largest airports with bargain prices: Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Milwaukee, Wisc. Orlando, Fla. Tampa, Fla. Las Vegas, Nev. These are the five mid-sized airports with the lowest average fares: Atlantic City, N.J. Fort Myers, Fla. Myrtle Beach, S.C. Long Beach, Calif. West Palm Beach, Fla. These numbers aren't perfect, as critics Gary Leff and Seth "the Wandering Aramean" have pointed out. What's considered "fair" by one person may not by another. Yet there are clearly many airports in the country—especially ones not served by many airlines—where locals pay very high prices to fly. The key lesson: Poor Texas! It's stuck with Houston and Dallas as costly gateways. MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL Should we tip flight attendants? 60 comments Introducing the new 'all you can drink' cruise 100+ Facebook likes Chart: Airplane violence over time

ADVERTISEMENT