Building a bad moratorium solution at the wrong time | News, Sports, Jobs

The Maui Planning Commission will hear a measure on Tuesday that would establish Chapters 19.98 and 20.41 of the Maui County Code, declaring a moratorium on new transitional accommodation on Maui. The proposed measure creates multiple concerns that could have broad impacts on Maui’s economy.

Although the goal of the ordinance is to decrease the number of visitors to Maui by stopping the development of transient accommodation, there is no data to suggest that this would be an effective strategy. Visitors will always come to Maui and look for other accommodation, although the supply of accommodation units is limited.

As we have seen, visitor volume will likely infiltrate Maui’s residential neighborhoods and apartment stock through an increase in short-term vacation rentals, which is the fastest growing segment. in the Maui visitor accommodation industry. If the purpose of the bill is to reduce the number of visitors, perhaps (1) further regulation is needed to limit the number of legal short-term vacation rental units in Maui County, and (2 ) an app to stop illegal short-term vacation rental. housing in residential areas is required.

The moratorium will also have significant negative economic impacts on Maui’s economy during a period when economic recovery is expected to continue. Why risk forgoing substantial investments injected into the economy, creating jobs and vital tax revenues, especially given the recent increase in COVID cases that could continue to impact the tourism industry?

Resolution 21-98 targets poor visitor accommodation at the worst possible time. The American Resort Development Association of Hawaii, which represents the vacation ownership and resort development industries in Hawaii, is surprised the county wants to prevent timeshare visitors from coming to Maui. The timeshare visitor has the exact profile of the type of visitor we should be welcoming, with higher income levels and more off-property spending at local restaurants and stores.

Timeshare visitors are typically real estate owners who have invested in the island and plan to return there regularly. They are more likely to take care of their property, which for the most part is a home away from home, because they are owners and not just passing through. Additionally, people may be surprised to learn that of the 26,034 resident households in Hawaii that own timeshares, nearly 17,000 of them own on one of the Hawaiian Islands.

Additionally, the timeshare industry currently contributes significantly to Maui’s economy, providing over $ 73 million per year in state and local taxes in addition to employment and income for Maui residents.

We strongly agree that some sort of resolution is needed to provide residents with the ability to continue working while dealing with the significant impacts of the influx of visitors until Maui can pass. to a more diversified economic base. But resolution 21-98 is not the right answer. We urge the County Tourism Management Temporary Inquiry Group, working with the tourism industry, to carefully consider these concerns before invoking a moratorium to avoid causing unnecessary damage to Maui’s fragile economy. , who is struggling to recover from the pandemic.

* Mitchell Imanaka is the president of the American Resort Development Association of Hawaii.

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