5/16/21 #Kihei Once the pandemic hit Maui the vast decline or absence of visitors was obvious to all and it began a much more invigorated discussion by the community and the government of the gross over tourism we have been experiencing for years. Next were discussions about an adjusted or modified visitor industry once the gate at OGG was again open to the world. We heard no one say no more visitors but we also heard no one say let’s rush back to where we were. Yet the latter seems to be what is happening.
Where are the changes or modifications? They are few and far between and only seem to be happening in our legislature. We see a continued decline in funding of the Maui Visitors Bureau down from $4. M a few years ago to nothing in the FY 2022 budget at this time.
One other action we see is a proposed two year moratorium for building permits in South and West Maui districts for “visitor accommodations”. The measure will have hearings in two County Council Committees this week, 5/17/21 at 9 am in the IT committee on the “subject matter” and later on 5/19/21 at 9 am in the CARE committee on the proposed law. We have testified in the two prior hearings on the matter and intend to do so again this week, always in support of the measure. Much more needs to be accomplished in order for the community’s requested changes to occur, but it a step in the right direction. We only need more visitor accommodations if we need even more visitors.
Anecdotal evidence is awash this month in S. Maui with increased traffic in spite of the shortage on rental cars. Beach parks capacity is hitting levels we saw in 2019. Airlines are increasing flights from numerous locations direct to our airport, OGG. Beyond our island capacity and continuing lack of infrastructure, there also must be concern for the real effects of climate change. Airplanes are huge contributors to that problem.
Actions must be taken now, not continued delays by more studies, plans and research. If you are concerned, testify via Bluejeans to both committees this week at 9 am/ SEE https://mauicounty.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=A&ID=859490&GUID=57720A7A-E856-4670-8F7E-314D8BCDA945 Item IT-54 on Monday
and https://mauicounty.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=A&ID=857958&GUID=81C3860B-9C53-44EE-A839-093BCA73C680 on Wednesday, Item CARE-50