The tropical Island of Maui would increase hotel room taxes an additional 3% due to an increase in tourism growth. The move is expected to affect not only mainland tourists but also Hawaii residents.
The President & CEO of the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association, Mufi Hannemann told reporters the new tax puts Hawaii in the top 2 of the most expensive destinations in the U.S.
“There is a lot of staycations taking place right now, local residents will have to pay that extra 3%” he added.
The average night in Hawaii hotels is $300. After adding the previous and the new tax (18% total), the cost will increase to $354 while other hot spots such as Las Vegas charge 13,35% and San Francisco 14%.
The city council will still have to approve it and determine where to allocate the new income. Thus, it may take some time before tourists can see the extra charge.
“This will help tremendously,” said Maui County Council Chair Alice Lee. “Instead of $23 million, we’ll probably receive in the neighborhood of $50 to $70 million,” because counties will have more control over the tax collection.
At the same time, overtourism is taking a toll on Maui island. Like in the airline industry, multiple reports about tourists disrespecting locals won’t stop coming.
Ainahau Harold, a Maui native and manager of Twin Falls, told USA Today about the dangerous behavior they have seen after travel started to pick up this summer.
“They’ve run over our cones. They’ll try to hit you with their car,” she said. “It gets a little dicey here.” Hotel and restaurant employees have also reported similar situations.
In the meantime, Hawaii continues to set everything up to lift all remaining COVID-19 restrictions once the island state has immunized 70% of its population. To date, 58.3% of Hawaiians have received two doses of an approved vaccine.