San Diego proposes hotel tax to fund convention center expansion

SAN DIEGO The city of San Diego is proposing a new guestroom tax of up to 3% to help finance expansion of the San Diego Convention Center.

The tax would raise about US$30 million annually for the US$550 million project to nearly double the size of the convention center. Backed by Mayor Jerry Sanders, the tax would increase guests’ bills by 1% to 3%, based on a hotel’s proximity to the convention center.

“As I have said from the very beginning, the expansion of our convention center should be paid for by those who will benefit from it,” Sanders says. “Given that the hospitality industry stands to gain substantially, it’s only logical that they should fund a significant portion of this.”

San Diego Hotel-Motel Association has not taken a formal position on the plan, but President Jim Durbin says that hoteliers understand that “doing nothing is not an option.” Still, hoteliers further away from the convention center are concerned that they may not benefit from its expansion enough to justify the new tax.