Temporary accommodation moratorium prioritizes tourism management | News, sports, jobs
The underregulated growth of temporary accommodation has led to an excessive surge in tourism, which has a negative impact on the environment, overwhelms the county’s infrastructure and affects the quality of life of residents.
Residents’ concerns are legitimate and timely, as temporary arrivals are quickly returning to, or even exceeding, pre-pandemic numbers.
The ratio of immigrants to residents is disproportionate to established politics. The Maui Island Plan, approved nine years ago after extensive community engagement, calls for no more than a third of the resident population’s daily attendance.
According to the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism of the State of Hawaii, Maui’s daily visitor numbers rose from over 46,000 in 2010 to nearly 70,000 in 2019. Over the same period, the resident population remained constant at around 150,000.
Maui has exceeded the visitor-to-inhabitant limit set by Regulation 4004 (2012) for two years. In response, the Council recently discussed two proposals to temporarily halt the increase in visitor accommodation by adopting one or more moratorium ordinances.
Tourism management emphasizes the benefits for both residents and the industry itself, as outlined in the Hawai’i Tourism Authority’s 2020-2025 Strategic Plan.
The HTA also jointly supports the Aina Aloha Economic Futures Declaration with the Maui County Council, Kaua’i County Council, Hawaii County Council, and all four county mayors. The declaration was launched last year by local Hawaiian leaders, including Kamanamaikalani Beamer, and is based on the understanding that it is our kuleana to manage our resources so that we can fulfill our ‘aina aloha role.
More equitable and effective management of the industry and its impact on the quality of life of residents has been a priority for the council, as supported in our budgetary and political decisions.
A year ago the council passed a resolution that I had proposed, which officially supported “Feminist Economic Recovery“ This indicated that the Council would not tolerate a return to economic and environmental habits that do not suit our residents.
On February 5th, by adopting resolution 21-18, the Council approved a policy of quality over quantity for tourism that reflects our commitment to the “Sustainable and strategically controlled tourism – instead of an increasing number of tourists – to promote economic well-being, improve the quality of life of the residents, preserve natural and cultural resources and high-quality experiences for visitors.” Presented by Councilor Kelly King.
On April 6, I introduced two communications from the district (CC 21-174 and CC 21-176), which deal with temporary effects on access to our residents’ beach park, reserved 50 percent of parking spaces for residents and monetized parking spaces for tourists, to pay for the enforcement and administration of the program.
The budget for the 2022 financial year emphasizes tourism management over advertising. Visitor marketing funds, which were increasing year after year on many budgets, were removed so that funds could be diverted to deal with the impact on visitors.
I’ve taken the necessary steps to set up a temporary investigation team, right? “TIG”, on tourism management in the Committee on Budget, Finance and Economic Development. TIGs allow two to four council members to continuously meet with various resources for in-depth research on specific topics, and a TIG has recently been used to successfully implement real estate tax reform.
A major focus of this TIG will be a significant reduction in vacation rentals, including the 11,000 or so units on the short-term occupancy list, and aggressive enforcement of illegal temporary accommodations. This is supported by the hospitality industry and the unions alike, and I look forward to working closely with them throughout the TIG process. The return of tourism to the hotel and resort sectors has high priority.
I am confident that the TIG will draw up effective guidelines for tourism management in good time, which are based on the values ââof our community and actively work to maintain our quality of life.
* Keani Rawlins-Fernandez is vice chairman of Maui County Council and chairman of the Budget, Finance, and Economic Development Committee. She holds the seat of the district council for the Moloka? I residential area. “3 minutes of council” is a column that covers the latest news on legislative affairs in the county. Visit mauicounty.us for more information.