The City of San Diego lost an appeal in the state second appellate district March 5. San Diego and other cities like Anaheim and Santa Monica wanted to slap a transient occupancy tax (hotel tax) on online travel companies like Orbitz, Priceline, Expedia, and Travelocity. The trial court ruled against the cities. The appellate court affirmed an earlier court decision, saying in the case of San Diego, the local ordinance makes it clear that the tax obligations are only imposed on transients and hotel operators. The online companies publish comparative information about airlines, hotels, and rental car companies on their websites.
But there is better news for hoteliers. At a mid-March meeting at the Hilton Garden Inn, Robert Rauch, a local hotel expert, said travel by Chinese citizens will increase 14 percent this year, and 10 percent of those will come to the United States. He cited a figure of 700,000 San Diego hotel rooms yearly, twelve times the rooms used by Qualcomm, currently the largest driver of accommodations in San Diego.