HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) -The visitor industry protested mightily when the mayor and city council moved to raise the hotel and resort property tax by one dollar per thousand dollars value.
That would mean a one million dollar tax increase on a billion dollar hotel.
But while the city took away with one hand, it more than gave back with another by passing strict new rules and enforcement tactics against the huge illegal vacation rental industry.
While no one knows for sure, the hotels feel they are being undercut by thousands of whole homes being rented to tourists, often for less than a hotel room.
So new restrictions on those community rentals, if they are enforced, will push some of those customers back to the hotels. That’s why the hotels pushed hard for the new rules.
The council was primarily motivated by residents whose neighborhoods have disrupted by an onslaught of visitor and was unmoved by rental owners who claim they have a right to keep operating – legally or not.
The vacation rental industry is predicting Oahu's economy will take a major hit – because the visitors that use residential rentals will simply choose to go to other destinations they can afford.
So be it. If it is the will of the government to reduce or eliminate these community rentals, it will also have to find ways to grow and manage tourism without them.