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Proposed Hike In Philadelphia Hotel Tax Would Go To Promoting Tourism

By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Travelers who stay at Philadelphia hotels in 2013 could face a slightly higher bill.  City Council is considering raising the hotel tax to bring more money to the groups that promote tourism.

The proposal would raise the "hospitality promotion tax" in Philadelphia from 1.2 percent to 1.5 percent.  This is being driven by drastic cuts in state funding to two groups, the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation and the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Introducing the measure was councilmember-at-large Blondell Reynolds Brown, who says money spent to promote tourism pays off.

"When we spend one dollar on marketing, it equals a hundred dollars that's ultimately actually spent by visitors," she said.

Reynolds Brown says the average hotel bill would go by only 50 cents but the increase would bring in an additional $2 million, to be split evenly between the GPTMC and the Convention Bureau.

The Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association has sent a letter to Council in support of the increase.  State funding to the GPTMC alone has dropped from more than $6.5 million in 2008 to just $128,000 this year.

If approved, the higher tax would go into effect next July.

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