To counteract overtourism, Maui is considering limiting visitor accommodations
WAILUKU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Maui County Council is exploring ways to tackle overtourism in response to last year’s boom in visitors.
Council members say they want to regulate the industry better this year so it doesn’t happen again.
“Residents have made clear their call for immediate action by the council to steer tourism in the county of Maui,” said council vice chairman Keani Rawlins-Fernandez.
Rawlins-Fernandez introduced a proposal to limit visitor units and prevent RVs from being used as short-term accommodation.
Many residents support the idea.
“We have more hotel rooms per capita than Oahu,” said David Dorn, who supports the proposal.
“We’re more tourist-dense than Waikiki. Maui now has up to one tourist for every two to three locals, which far exceeds our limits and our values set out in the Maui Island Plan. That is totally untenable.”
“We just don’t have the infrastructure, the space or really the public patience to be overrun by well-meaning visitors,” said Lucienne de Naie, who also supports the proposal.
“We somehow have to send signals that we have certain upper limits.”
Hilton Grand Vacations, on the other hand, submitted a written statement stating, “The proposed cap will not effectively address the issue of illegal short-term rentals and will harm the community and legitimately operated temporary accommodations, an economic engine for Maui.”
Some lawmakers said finding a solution will take more time.
“I think this issue needs to be discussed a lot more,” said Council Chair Alice Lee.
“I don’t think it’s a solution to where we want to be and I think we’re walking a fine line. I don’t think that’s the solution. I will also vote against,” Councilor Yuki-Lei Sugimura said.
The resolution to send the proposed bill to the Maui County Planning Commission passed 6-3 on Friday.
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