Tourists will now pay more to visit Honolulu with further tax hike

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New tax will affect hotels, AirBnBs and vacation rentals on the island

Honolulu has officially started implementing a new county tourist property tax. Hotels, AirBnbs and vacation rentals will all be subject to a surcharge 3% tax.

long exposure photo of mountains and beach in Honolulu

After a reshuffle this year, the state allowed its individual counties to set their own tax rates up to 3% in addition to the previously installed 10.25% state tax. Hawaii, Kauai and Maui have already started to apply their own taxes.

Hawaii has never been associated with budget getaways, and new financial developments only increase costs for the guest. But what effect is it likely to have on the average Hawaii tourist?

The typical traveler to the idyllic Pacific islands spends around 7 days enjoying island life. And with an average hotel room of around $ 200, hotel travelers can expect about $ 43 to be added to their costs. Airbnbs and short-term rental properties on average significantly higher – around $ 389 – so expect additional costs of just over $ 81.

Luckily for Hawaii as a whole, that probably won’t have too much of an impact on their numbers. The vast majority of travelers to the islands are fully aware of the financial burden involved, and while the tax can be significant for some customers on a budget, it shouldn’t hamper the number of visitors.

Hawaii's beautiful coastline in Honolulu was photographed at an elevation of around 500 feet during a helicopter photo flight over the Pacific Ocean.  (1)

The tax is expected to generate around $ 86 million for the county. Once the state cuts off counties’ access to tourism property tax revenue, the 3% will be a welcome addition for Honolulu and other counties. Much of the revenue should be spent on rail projects.

Currently Hawaii is open for business with some entry restrictions.

For vaccinated U.S. citizens:

Under the Safe Travels Hawaii program, fully vaccinated U.S. citizens entering from another U.S. state can bypass the mandatory quarantine period if they provide officially accepted proof of vaccination. They are not required to present a negative COVID test.

Rainbow panoramic view over popular surf spot Sunset Beach, North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii

The vaccination document must be uploaded to the Safe Travels Hawaii portal AND printed for verification at the airport. In addition to this, the health form found on the Safe Travels Hawaii website must also be completed.

For unvaccinated Americans:

Unvaccinated Americans, also under the Safe Travels Hawaii program, can enter the state and avoid the mandatory quarantine period if they present evidence of a negative COVID test taken no more than 72 hours before departure.

The test should be a nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) administered and verified by an officially certified clinical laboratory. The result must be uploaded to the Safe Travels Hawaii portal AND printed for verification at the airport.

Citizens arriving from the continental United States or any of their territories without proof of a negative COVID test, will be subject to the mandatory 10-day quarantine. The health form that can be found on the Safe Travels Hawaii website should also be completed.

International travelers entering Hawaii from another US state or territory

Foreign visitors to Hawaii arriving from another US state will be classified under the same rules as US citizens. See descriptions above.

International travelers entering Hawaii from another country

Foreign visitors entering from another country are not subject to the same rules as those coming from another state. As Hawaii aligns with federal mandates regarding entry into the country, all passengers should already have been screened according to the rules. Usually this means the visitor should be vaccinated and tested within 24 hours of departure.

Read more

Hawaii lifts statewide restrictions: What travelers need to know

Travel insurance that covers Covid-19

Grenada eases entry requirements for vaccinated travelers

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