Representatives plan to create bill to raise Savannah’s hotel motel tax

Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 4:17 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 14, 2023 at 4:43 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Hotel stays in Savannah could soon become more expensive.

City tourism leaders tell WTOC that some local representatives plan to create a bill to raise the city’s hotel motel tax.

This would be the fourth go around to try and increase that tax.

So what is the hotel motel tax? It’s a charge on room rentals in the city.

Everyone pays them when they stay at a hotel here. The current rate stands at 6% but would go up to 8%.

Both tourism leaders and city officials say the added tax revenue would be used for infrastructure projects centered around tourism.

Those include $30 million worth of improvements to River Street, and more work in the canal district and water works building, among others.

The bill to raise the tax has not dropped yet, but the CEO of Savannah’s Tourism Leadership Council said Representative Edna Jackson will create a bill to raise the tax.

That will ultimately be voted on by a local delegation.

He says even though this has been a year’s long process, there is now enough support for the increase.

“When you talk about increasing taxes on the already highest taxed business sector, that’s going to take some time for people to be comfortable with it. Most importantly, how is that money going to be spent and how can we be assured that those projects are going to be completed. And we’re finally to a point that the industry is satisfied with that. The city is satisfied with where we’re going, everybody seems to agree, or at least enough people seem to agree, that we can finally move this ball forward,” said Michael Owens.

Despite the proposed increase, tourism leaders said they don’t expect any impact to Savannah’s visitor numbers.

The Tourism Leadership Council represents people and businesses in the tourism industry.

The group’s CEO said if they thought the proposed tax increase would impact visitation numbers, they wouldn’t have supported the hike.