CLEVELAND: With the new convention center, the opening of the Global Center for Health Innovation, the Horseshoe Casino and a new hotel on the way in downtown Cleveland, the region is supposed to be poised for a resurgence in business travel.
But a recent report from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) tracking rising travel taxes may spell trouble for luring business travelers to give Northeast Ohio a try.
The annual report produced by the GBTA puts Cleveland in sixth place among the top 50 markets having the highest tax burden on travelers. Chicago and New York were first and second.
The organization observes that in states across the nation, as cash-strapped cities seek to reduce debt, the burden increasingly falls on business travelers.
GBTA executive director and chief operating officer Michael W. McCormick said, “Unfortunately, it’s not just state and local governments that see business travelers as their cash cow — the federal government is getting in the game.
“This week, Congress may consider a doubling of the TSA tax. ... treating travelers like their ATM. 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.”
In the GBTA report, the top 50 markets were ranked by overall travel tax burden and by discriminatory travel tax burden, excluding general sales taxes to count only taxes that target car rentals, hotel stays and meals. Taxes levied specifically on travel-related services increased the total tax bill for a traveler by 58 percent in 2013.
“Municipalities are under pressure to raise revenue wherever they can, but imposing too heavy a tax burden on business travel is a short-sighted strategy,” said Joseph Bates, GBTA Foundation Vice President of Research.
“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 GBTA Foundation is the education and research foundation of the Global Business Travel Association. 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.