After suffering from overtourism, the Hawaiian island of Maui is looking to place a limit on the number of tourists that are able to visit. The second largest of the Hawaiian islands by size and third most populated island, Maui has long since been a popular vacation destination for travelers from around the world – but the sheer number of visitors has caused a wide range of problems that the proposed bill to cap tourist numbers is hoping to fix.
Maui is far from the only Hawaiian island that is looking to make changes in order to address the issue of overtourism, with several other important policy changes having been made over the past few months. Here’s a closer look at Maui’s problem with overtourism, plus a round-up of other such tourism-related policy changes that Hawaii has been looking to make recently.
Maui Overtourism Leads To Changes – What Travelers Should Know
With its world-renowned beaches, dramatic valleys and stunning nature, it’s not hard to see why Maui attracts travelers in such large numbers. However, that may soon be a thing of the past. Last month, the Maui City Council voted in favor of sending a proposed bill to the Maui County Planning Commission that would both place a cap on the number of travelers allowed to visit the island and ban the use of short-term campervans.
Travelers shouldn’t start to panic just yet as proposing a bill will not make any immediate changes, but will see the issue sent to a greater court for further analysis and discussion of the issue of overtourism. However, given the issues locals are facing – long traffic congestion, shortage of water, and increasing prices on food and housing to name but a few – the possibility of a cap being placed on arrivals is a serious one.
Hawaii is no stranger to implementing changes to combat the issues raised by overtourism. Several of the islands’ top attractions now require reservations before visiting, including Diamond State Monument from May 12th, Haleakala National Park and Haena State Park to name but a few. According to Hawaii’s tourism bureau, the addition of reservation systems has “improved the quality of experience and reduced impacts on surrounding communities and resources.”
Whilst high levels of tourism should bring more money to communities on the islands, unfortunately that hasn’t always been the case. Hawaii recently reaffirmed its commitment to cracking down on short-term rentals bookings, with masses of tourists opting to stay in these types of accommodation rather than traditional options. The rise of booking platforms such as AirBnB have not only taken money away from local hotels and businesses, but caused other issues such as rent and property price hikes.
In a bid to address the matter, Honlulu’s city council passed a new bill that banned travelers from staying in short term rentals for fewer than 90 days across all residential neighborhoods. By forcing travelers into hotels instead, Hawaii is hoping to bring in more income to communities that were hit hard by the pandemic, rather than the money going into the hands of just a few private property owners.
With visitor caps potentially on their way in, travel to Hawaii this summer looks as though it will be a popular choice. Whilst Hawaii was the last state to remove its mask mandate, entry to the islands is now restriction-free once more – making it extremely easy to visit the islands and enjoy all they have to offer.
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