San Diego Tourism

Revenues From Hotel Taxes Plummet, Nearly $16 million less than Previous Month

Data obtained by NBC 7 Investigates shows a drastic reduction in hotel tax revenues from hotels and short term rentals.

Getty Images/Robert Harding Worl

Cities and local governments across San Diego County are seeing historic losses in revenues from hotel taxes. The city of San Diego is chief among them. 

According to data obtained by NBC 7 Investigates, hotel tax revenues also referred to as transient occupancy taxes (TOT) have plummeted since the outbreak of the coronavirus. 

In March, as people were ordered to shelter inside and as businesses and industries canceled conventions in San Diego, the city collected just under $238,000 in hotel tax revenues whereas in February, the city deposited more than $16 million. 

The data reveals the difficult time that the city of San Diego, as well as all cities in San Diego, will have when trying to fill massive budget shortfalls. 

But there is another pot of money that has also come up empty; revenues from short term rentals such as Airbnb, VRBO, and other vacation rental websites.

On average, the city collects approximately $2 million every month from short term rentals. In March, that total was just over $26,000.

But according to a spokesperson for the San Diego Tourism Authority, the impact from the coronavirus is much more far-reaching.

“The loss of hotel tax revenues shows just how vital the tourism industry is to the economic health of San Diego,” said the spokesperson. 

“There are more than 12,000 businesses that make up San Diego’s tourism industry – it’s our second-largest traded economy. One in eight San Diegans works in a job that depends on tourism, so we want to help get everyone back to work as quickly and safely as possible. We are working closely with officials at the city and county, as well as our industry partners, to determine a path forward that will best serve the San Diego community.”

During the course of the following weeks, elected officials will meet to discuss the budget shortfalls and discuss Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s proposed budget, one that proposed cutting 354 city employees and reducing city services in order to make up for the massive budget shortfalls.

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