HLTA Supports Responsible Development
Tourism Industry Supports Responsible Development
Tourists come to Hawaii because we are a premier destination renowned for our Aloha spirit and cultural diversity that people the world-over want to experience. As tourism is our top industry, and a huge source of jobs and tax revenue, we must be prepared to meet the demands posed by these returning and prospective visitors. Thanks to studies by the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority, we can look deeply and objectively at state trends to both understand and act prudently to address concerns among residents about the buzzword, “overtourism.”
In this regard, the Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association is a strong proponent of the responsible development of lodging properties confined to areas designated for hotels and resorts, and we will always strive to be environmentally sensitive and cherish and nurture our Hawaiian culture. Our view is that construction on existing hotel properties and renovation of aging resorts will only help our industry attract the high-quality visitors that we seek.
In fortifying our traditional lodging options, our counties are afforded time to curb the proliferation of illegal, tax-avoiding, transient vacation rentals (TVRs). With the advent of online booking services, a number of visitors have turned to TVRs for their accommodations, many of which are located outside resort-designated areas. This phenomenon has had unfortunate consequences: property owners are renting to visitors and thereby reducing the supply of rentals for residents, and business operations, with all the inherent nuisances and problems, intrude into residential neighborhoods. This is apparent on Maui, which greets more than three million visitors a year, nearly ten times the number of Valley Isle residents. Similar statistics can be found for the other islands.
Our industry’s goal, in keeping with state and county land use and zoning regulations, should be to draw visitors back to tourism-designated areas, which are well-equipped to handle these travelers. Under new county regulations, TVRs in resort districts will be allowed to operate, but will now be taxed at rates comparable to what hotels pay in general excise, hotel room, and property taxes. We believe this will decrease the number of visitors but generate more in spending and tax revenue.
Meanwhile, traditional brick-and-mortar resorts are investing millions of dollars on projects and renovations to their existing properties. On Hawai‘i Island, Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows was renovated and rebranded as Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection. On Maui, overhauls have been completed at the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa as well as at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua. And O‘ahu witnessed the opening of the Halepuna Waikiki and Residence Inn by Marriott in Kapolei in 2019.
Slated for the next couple years, the Princess Kaiulani hotel will undergo a complete rebuild. This year on Kaua‘i, the Princeville Resort will undergo a $100-million remodeling while The Grand Wailea has planned a $91.5-million renovation to its current 776-room property on Maui. The oceanfront resort will also expand its parking structure and enhance its pool and restaurant facilities.
The benefits that come with the above hotel construction and renovations are myriad. First and foremost, it means more local jobs as residents will be the ones building and staffing them. This means employment opportunity for skilled laborers, housekeepers, front office staff, suppliers, and so on.
Secondly, having the hotel room inventory and the upgraded visitor experience provided by these renovations will allow us to attract high-quality travel, while also ensuring that residents can continue to live, work, and raise their families in Hawai‘i.
Hawai'i Hotel & Restaurant Show
The second annual Hawai'i Hotel & Restaurant Show, the premier showcase for Hawaii's hospitality industry, is fast approaching! Don't miss this opportunity to interact with hundreds of exhibitors as they share the latest in technology, products, and services available on the market today.
I am pleased to announce that Shep Gordon, the man credited with creating the celebrity chef phenomenon, will serve as keynote speaker at this year's Hawai'i Hotel & Restaurant Show. Shep will also be hosting an auction for a private dinner for up to eight people at his home. The celebrity chef who will be preparing the meal will be none other than Hawai'i's own Chef Roy Yamaguchi!
Tickets are still available!
Wednesday - February 19, 2020
Aloha Tower - Pier 6
Check-in: 4:30 p.m.
Parking: 1st hour free - $2/hour with validation
Price: $35 for HLTA members
If you bring a potential new member, you may purchase two tickets for $60!
Your ticket includes:
Hosted beer/wine/select cocktails
Lucky Draw Ticket for Prizes
Stay in the know
Keep up with HLTA through our blog! Let us know what you think in the comment box below each post.