To tackle overtourism, Maui considers cap on visitor accommodations
WAILUKU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Maui County Council is looking at ways to crack down on overtourism in response to the visitor boom it experienced last year.
Councilmembers say they want to better regulate the industry this year, so it doesn’t happen again.
“Residents have been clear in their demand for immediate council action to manage tourism in Maui County,” said Council Vice Chair Keani Rawlins-Fernandez.
Rawlins-Fernandez introduced a proposal to cap visitor units and to stop camper vans from being used as short-term accommodations.
Many residents support the idea.
“We have more hotel rooms per capita than Oahu,” said David Dorn, who supports the proposal.
“We are more tourist dense than Waikiki. Maui now has up to one tourist for every two to three locals, far exceeding our limits and our levels set in the Maui Island Plan. This is totally unsustainable.”
“We just don’t have the infrastructure, the room, or really the public patience to be overrun by well-meaning visitors,” said Lucienne de Naie, who is also in support of the proposal.
“We need to sort of send some sort of signals that we have kind of some caps.”
Hilton Grand Vacations submitted written testimony in opposition stating, “The proposed cap will not effectively address the problem of illegal short term rentals and will be detrimental to the community and legally-operating transient accommodations, an economic engine for Maui.”
Some lawmakers said finding a solution will take more time.
“I think this issue needs to have a lot more discussion,” said Council Chair Alice Lee.
“I don’t think it’s a solution for where we are trying to go to, and I do believe that we walk a fine line. I don’t think this is the solution. I’m going to vote against also,” said Councilwoman Yuki-Lei Sugimura.
The resolution to send the proposed bill to the Maui County Planning Commission passed 6-3 on Friday.
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