PLATFORM: Mitigating Tourism

Mitigating Tourism

If the Covid-19 shutdown and economic devastation has taught us anything, it is that we have too many tourists and rely too heavily on their presence for our economic survival. Maui County needs to know take all the steps to make sure our path to recovery is specifically devised to mitigate tourism and its ill effects, which include our economy being too dependent upon it.

My specific plans include the following:

 

1. Create a Maui County government office of tourism MITIGATION and work together with our great tourism mitigation non-profits to find legal and sustainable ways to limit tourists. This does not mean we will necessarily see a decrease in tourism spending, as studies show that when tourists do not feel crowded by other tourists, they actually spend more. Conversely, we have seen a huge increase of tourists especially over the last three years, but relatively no increase in visitor spending. We should also demand that the state decrease funding for the Hawai'i Tourism Authority and use the savings to create a separate Hawai'i Tourism Mitigation Authority. The HTA claims to be working towards sustainable tourism, but they have done a lousy job and we need something different. We do not need to be paying millions of dollars a year to "brand" Hawai'i and Maui!

2. Limit the number of rental car vehicle licenses allotted. In addition, we need to raise the car rental daily tax to $7 a day (currently $5). This needs to be put directly into the County Road Fund and used for road improvements. We also need to make sure our road improvements and projects are bid out and  made more efficient (see COUNTY OPERATIONS). Continue to fund and support Maui MPO in its efforts to increase alternative transportation options in our county and decrease the number of rental cars on the road. 

3. DEMAND our transit accommodation tax (TAT, 10.25% on all hotel rooms and vacation rentals) that is sent to the State General Fund and only haphazardly given back to the outer islands be appropriately and accurately redistributed back to the island according to the number of tourists that island hosts. When Maui County hosts 30% of the state's tourists, why does it only receive 13-22% back of the tourism tax? (and with the Govenor's latest Covid-19 power grabs, Maui County isn't guaranteed anything for 2020). We do not need to be funding the Govenor's projects or Oahu's missteps with the tax we collect from our tourists. Why Maui and the other islands ever agreed to send that money to the state in the first place is a topic for another day... 

4. This might seem unrelated at first, but a cleaner and more fair tax code would support sustainable tourism. If local businesses were taxed more fairly and at a lower rate, they would be able to survive on fewer tourists and would thus serve those tourists better, increasing visitor spending through improved experiences. WE ARE TAXING OUR SMALL BUSINESSES TO DEATH! WE ARE TAXING OUR LOCALS OUT OF THE STATE! We need to clean up and simplify our tax code with one motto: Tax the tourists, support the locals. 

Mitigating Tourism

If the Covid-19 shutdown and economic devastation has taught us anything, it is that we have too many tourists and rely too heavily on their presence for our economic survival. Maui County needs to know take all the steps to make sure our path to recovery is specifically devised to mitigate tourism and its ill effects, which include our economy being too dependent upon it.

My specific plans include the following:

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© 2020 by  Friends of Aja Eyre

PO Box 1226, Makawao, HI 96768

ajaformaui@gmail.com