Online travel innovators help support Florida’s $76 billion tourism economy; 1.1 million jobs

Tallahassee, FL June 11, 2015 – The Travel Technology Association (Travel Tech), the national trade association for leaders in the online travel industry, including online travel agents (OTAs) Priceline, Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz and others, released the following statement after Florida’s Supreme Court ruled decisively in favor of OTAs today. The court affirmed earlier decisions by the Florida District Courts of Appeal and the Circuit Court that Travel Tech members are not hotels and thus the compensation they retain for their services is not subject to an occupancy tax.

“We applaud today’s confirmation by the Florida Supreme Court that Florida hotel taxes do not apply to online travel agents and the amount they charge for their services,” said Steve Shur, president of the Travel Technology Association. “As the Florida Supreme Court and dozens of U.S. courts before it have recognized, online travel agents are not hotels and therefore should not be paying occupancy taxes.” Online travel agents use innovative technologies to help drive travelers to the state, facilitating the booking of over 5 million room nights at Florida hotels last year. Travel Tech members also use their powerful online tools to market Florida destinations to tourists from around the globe. Learn more about occupancy taxes and their impact on travelers and small businesses. “When an individual is planning that annual family vacation to the Keys, or that last minute weekend in Miami, it’s online travel agents they lean on to search, compare and book the best travel options. This ruling not only affirms prudent law but ensures travelers can continue to utilize dynamic technology platforms to explore all Florida has to offer. We look forward to working with local officials and stakeholders to find innovative ways that our members can help draw more visitors to Florida communities,” Shur concluded.