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As talk of tourism heats up, some Maui residents cash in on increased spending

Published: Jun. 3, 2021 at 6:47 PM HST|Updated: Jun. 4, 2021 at 10:09 AM HST
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MAUI, HAWAII (HawaiiNewsNow) - Nearly 7,000 visitors arrived in Maui on Wednesday. While some are complaining about the influx of tourists, others are capitalizing on it.

“The tourists have really boomed. Some may think it’s a hassle, but I think it’s an opportunity and I don’t think it’s going to slow down at all,” said Kenneth Sniffen, owner of Maui Surf Mobile.

Sniffen may be right. No slowdown is in sight just yet, especially now that summertime is here.

After 22 years in the hospitality industry, he lost his job last year when the pandemic hit. With visitors back, he is taking full advantage.

“It’s just like ordering pizza. A guest calls me up. I arrange drop offs,” Sniffen said.

Sniffen bought inflatable stand-up paddleboards, beach chairs and umbrellas and started his own businesses.

“I set them up. I give them a little history of the area. Some safety points and they enjoy their time. I come back. I do half days or full days. I come back and pick up the boards and we take it from there,” he said.

Upcountry in historic Makawao town, artist Jordanne Perkins is also taking advantage of the renewed visitor foot traffic.

“Pricing has been able to increase, the amount of sales has increased,” Perkins said, owner of Jordanne Gallery.

Perkins said there is a newfound energy in the quiet paniolo town, which is welcoming to business owners like her.

“There’s a revamping which is going on and the only way for all of that to happen is because of the turn of money and tourism is a part of that turn of money especially to the local businesses,” she said.

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