Hawaii wants better tourism management, but what immediate actions do residents most support? And is the Hawaii Tourism Authority the best management agency for the long term or should management fall to some other entity?
Those two questions are related. We might luck into better tourism with differing government offices and lawmakers taking independent actions. But there are obvious risks without a system of overall planning and coordination that the entire community accepts and trusts.
What Types of Management Do Residents Most Want?
Some answers to that question exist in the overlapping findings of two statewide resident surveys conducted this spring:
Both found that regulating illegal vacation rentals and educating visitors to be more respectful of Hawaii’s land and culture were key preferences. Both also found strong resident desire to control congested parks and trails via user fees charged to visitors.
The responsibility for undertaking such actions cuts across many state and county agencies. Unless actions are coordinated, we face a mishmash of new rules and programs that will confuse visitors and lead to less effective enforcement.
Do Residents Approve Current Management Efforts?
Hardly. Responses to two new HTA questions show deep frustration.
- “I feel like more effort is being made to balance economic benefits of tourism and quality of life for residents”: On a 10-point agreement scale, only 12% answered 9-10 (a range we’ll call “strongly…