Travel | August 12, 2022 3:49 pm

Which US City Has the Highest Taxes For Tourists?

Spoiler alert: it's a city that's long tried to dissuade tourists from visiting, to little avail.

Honolulu
Honolulu
Cosmin Serban/Unsplash

An obnoxious reality where travel is involved, tourists taxes actually serve a pretty important purpose.

For the uninitiated, tourists taxes are small fees levied on travelers, usually by way of accommodations, to help mitigate the effects of tourism and, more importantly, help curb overtourism. Which is why it should come as a surprise to none that the most expensive city in the world when it comes to tourist taxes is none other than Honolulu.

Per new data from Money.co.uk, the Hawaiian capital is number one when it comes to premium tourist taxes, costing travelers roughly $361.93 for a seven night stay, or $51.70 a night. That’s because, on top of the 10.25% “transient accommodations tax” (TOT) Hawaii charges, the city of Honolulu has added a 3% surcharge.

In second place comes San Francisco, which, too, charges a large TOT of 14% on stays under 30 days. Those looking to stay for seven nights in the Bay Area can plan to pay $207.29 in tourist tax alone, per room, or $29.61 a night. Similarly, LA’s TOT is 12% of a nightly room rate, which works out to be $23.49 a night.

The fourth most expensive tourist tax? That would be Orlando, which charges a 6% “sales and resort tax,” and winds up coming out to around $11.60 a night. That applies to Orange County area at large, too, and Miami isn’t far behind.

Of course, all of the aforementioned cities are also counted among the US’s most visited cities. And, for its part, Honolulu has long been looking for ways to tame tourism. What better way to do that than to raise the barrier to entry? It’s a controversial method, sure, but one that’s proven consistently effective. It’s not exclusive to the US, either.

While the tourists taxes in Europe are exponentially lower, they do exist. In fact, Amsterdam charges €79.18, per tourist, for a seven-night stay — more even than Orlando. Further, Mexico actually charges the largest flat rate to tourists entering the country of all.

Moral of the story? Factor tourist taxes into your budget. Or, alternatively, consider destinations that don’t charge tourist taxes.