A new report from U.S. Travel’s Destination Council conducted by Civitas examines how revenue from lodging taxes is allocated in 100 U.S. destinations.

Securing and sustaining money for tourism promotion is an ongoing battle for many U.S. destinations, despite the proven, job-creating power of travel. Now, destinations have a new resource allowing them to advocate for consistent or increased investment in tourism.

The first-of-its-kind study from Civitas, commissioned by the U.S. Travel Association’s Destinations Council and available to U.S. Travel members, tracks government spending in 100 U.S. locations, and how revenue from lodging taxes is allocated. Destination marketing organizations (DMOs) can use the report, “A Study of Lodging Charges and the Allocation of Revenues from Taxes and Assessments on Lodging,” to see how residents in their destinations benefit from tourism-induced tax revenue, and compare their tax assessments to other destinations.

This information should prove especially useful as securing and sustaining public money for tourism promotion becomes more challenging.  

The report has three objectives:

  1. Break down spending generated by lodging taxes in each destination, and determine how much is spent on tourism promotion and how much is allocated to general funds and other public categories;
  2. Determine the amount of revenue raised by lodging charges paid by travelers, including those on home-sharing rentals; and
  3. Provide current tax and assessment rates for lodging and food and beverage transactions.  

Destination members of the U.S. Travel Association can use this report, and the accompanying toolkit, as a historical benchmark, rallying support from their local travel and tourism businesses by highlighting how their state, city or region is falling behind other competitors; how travel marketing dollars aren’t keeping pace with lodging tax rates; or even simply how home-sharing tax revenue impacts their area. It can also be used as a comparative tool, to convince elected officials of the need to allocate lodging taxes to tourism promotion. DMOs can see how their total tax and tax rates that support tourism compare to those in cities or regions of similar size; and compare their area’s lodging charge allocation to the national average.

This report adds to an already strong body of evidence concretely illustrating the power of travel promotion.