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Highest and Lowest Tourist Tax Burdened Cities in US

eTurbo News |  A list of the top five 2011 U.S. cities with the lowest and highest tourism taxes is out, showing cost differences in as much as 56% on average, according to an annual study by the Global Business Travel Association Foundation.

Listed as the five lowest tax burdened cities out of 50 destinations, three Florida cities topped the list with Fort Lauderdale in first, Fort Myers in second, and West Palm Beach in third.

All are in both general sales tax and travel-related services such as car rental, hotel and meals.
Following in fourth was Detroit, and Portland, Oregon, in fifth.

The five highest-tax imposing cities on travelers….

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TODAY Show: Staying Overnight for Less

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

T+L Features Director Nilou Motamed shares great resources for saving money on accommdations. Plus, family-friendly summer deals!

Vacationist Hotel Deals: Spotlight on Florida

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Summer may be off-season in Florida, but that means that airfare from major cities is discounted (we just spotted Newark to Miami International for $188), free outdoor activities abound—including movie screenings at Miami’s Frank Gehry-designed New World Center—and hotel pool scenes are buzzing. Looking to join in on the fun? This week, Vacationist is featuring deals on two Florida hotspots, both for up to 30 percent off. First up, Grove Isle Hotel & Spa, a 50-room property on a 20-acre island in Biscayne Bay that boasts a popular bay-front pool, or head an hour north to Delray Beach, where the Seagate Hotel in Palm Beach County will shuttle you from its pool scene to the private beach club in no time. Just grab the sunscreen and go.

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Hong Kong Debuts Sightseeing Smartcard

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Anyone who visits the world's great cities as a tourist knows it gets expensive making the rounds to all the must-hit sights and spots. Hong Kong is no exception, which is why we were happy to hear that its first smart sightseeing card launches there this month—also the first in China.

Created by iVenture, the company behind similar cards in Australia and Singapore, the "See Hong Kong Pass" ranges from $59-$115, and offers deep discounts at 15 top sights, hop-on hop-off bus access, and even dim sum lunches and a side trip to Maccau.

Carmageddon Brings Hotel Discounts

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Because so many big media outlets are based in New York and Los Angeles, the rest of the world gets to hear the minutiae of our local news (Blackouts! Blizzards! Brushfires!) as though it’s their own.  Thus, this weekend’s closing of the 405 freeway in Los Angeles—dubbed Carmageddon—is internationally known, if only locally dreaded.

A few Southern California hotels have offers for those Angelenos hoping to bypass the panic of Carmageddon with a weekend escape.

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Vacationist Hotel Deals: World’s Best Winners

201107-b-notosjpgTomorrow we'll toast the World’s Best Awards 2011 winners at a jazzy event in Beverly Hills at Mr. C Hotel. To celebrate the awards, Vacationist is opening up it's black book of deals, offering up to 60 percent off at two hotels in Santorini, the World’s Best Island Overall as voted by T+L readers in the annual readers’ poll. Looking to stay at one of the best hotels in the world? We can deliver that, too. Try a few blissful nights at St. Lucia’s Jade Mountain (No. 11 in the Caribbean), which has been on the list three times since it opened in 2006.

Still not a member? Click here to book.

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Vacationist Hotel Deal: Virginia's Homestead Resort, By The Numbers

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To celebrate the upcoming July 4th holiday weekend, Vacationist is spotlighting one of America’s oldest resorts, The Homestead, a Virginia grande dame that’s welcomed almost two dozen U.S. Presidents.

Here, a by the numbers review:

STATISTICS

3,000 – Acres of land at the property, set within Virginia’s Allegheny Mountains
75 - Miles from Virginia's Roanoke Regional Airport
22 – Number of U.S. Presidents who have visited the resort (including Thomas Jefferson and James Madison)
22 - Number of Corinthian columns in the hotel's Great Hall
195 – Average square feet of the Classic guestroom
630 – Square feet of the Landmark Suite (complete with two bedrooms and a porch with mountain views)
50 – Years the Maître d' Woody Pettus has welcomed visitors to the Homestead’s dining room

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NYC Businesses Celebrate Gay Marriage With Fab Deals

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The effects from the recent legalizing of gay marriage in New York are already starting to take shape. In peparation for the day legal ceremonies will finally be able to be performed—July 24—Mayor Bloomberg is preparing to launch a new campaign called "NYC I Do," which will seek to bring in gay tourists looking to get hitched. What does that mean for the city? About $400 million in estimated revenue over the next three years, just from gay marriage–related spending!

To boot, many of the NYC’s businesses have quickly shown their support for the historic decision, and are celebrating by offering special discounts for the many couples that have been patiently waiting for their time to come. Here are just a few I was able to find. (Without a doubt, more will surface as July 24 nears.) Happy Pride!

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Sing Your Way to a Free Hotel Upgrade

Remember that scene in Heartbreakers, when Sigourney Weaver’s con artist character staged a dramatic fall for Jennifer Love Hewitt’s character in the marble-decked lobby of an über fancy hotel, all for the sake of getting a sweet suite at the hotel, free of charge? Funny as that was, there are other—and much more legal—ways to get a free upgrade at a hotel. There are hotel reward programs. Or, for those who like to have a little fun, just sing a song!

Seriously.

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Vacationist Hotel Deals: T+L 500 Hotels for Less!

201106-b-esperanzajpgThere’s nothing better than a guaranteed stellar hotel stay, which is why, every year, we spotlight the top 500 hotels as voted by our savvy readers—so that you can rest assured that your next trip will be top-notch. And this week, you can stay at three of these winning hotels for less, thanks to deals on Vacationist.

In search of a mountain retreat in Vail? Try Sonnenalp Resort, a Bavarian style lodge with a unique sensibility. Looking for a sexy beach getaway? There’s Esperanza, an Auberge Resort, in Los Cabos, with views that overlook a private cove. Or toast your deal-finding luck in Dublin, where you’ll stay at the historic Shelbourne for 30 percent less.

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