Hawai‘i’ Politicians: Put People OverTourist Dollars and Control #Overtourism in Hawai‘i’

Hawai‘i’ Politicians: Put People OverTourist Dollars and Control #Overtourism in Hawai‘i’

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ETA Hawaii started this petition to Governor David Ige and

The Covid 19 pandemic and the resulting shut down of Hawai‘i's tourism industry has brought into stark view the many problems associated with our over-dependence on tourism. Residents of the state have seen the reefs rebound and have been able to enjoy beaches and sacred sites across the islands without throngs of tourists. Wildlife has returned and local people have been able to drive back and forth to work on unclogged roads.

But now tourism is roaring back, and with the tourism industry hungry for dollars, we are seeing visitors who do not show respect to the ‘āina or to the people. Many tourists have shown an entitled attitude, being disrespectful and acting as if they can do what they want because they are bringing in cash.

We the signers of the petition demand that our elected representatives address the devastating effects of unfettered tourism on our—your constituents’—lives. The problem of over-tourism is one that lawmakers have known about for years, but instead of using the past year to devise alternatives to tourism and diversify the economy, it seems that the state has just doubled down on more tourists at any price. In addition, the cost of housing and transportation is forcing more and more local people to leave these islands, the home of their ancestors. This is unsustainable and immoral.

We request that you take the following actions:

1.     Create a reservation system for popular sites, similar to what is in effect for Hā‘ena on Kaua‘i  or the online tickets required for Hanauma Bay on O‘ahu.

a.      Strictly regulate these systems to prevent large tour operators from gaming the system & getting all the tickets. 

b.     Charge fees to non-residents and limit the number of visitors per day.

c.      Make overcrowded destinations like the road to Hana a gated road that lets people with passes through (residents get passes while tourists can reserve only a certain number a day), and consider a “hop on, hop off” bus system to increase revenue.

2.     Reserve more parking for residents, especially at crowded beaches.

3.     Allow only certified guides in culturally sensitive areas. Give preference to guides with ties to the ‘āina over all others.

4.     Enforce no parking restrictions at tourist sites, with high fines for violators.

5.     Use HTA money to create public service announcements on all incoming airlines that explain rules and regulations concerning wildlife, ocean safety, cultural sensitivity and pono visiting. Reach out to the local community for input on what to include. Make posters and other printed publications about how to visit in ways that are pono and require that hotels and resorts pass them out to guests.

6.     Charge visitors for all emergency rescues when they disobey weather warnings and “no trespassing” signs.

7.     Create a budget line for diverting money from the HTA into creating sustainable jobs outside of the tourist industry. Create paid job training programs for former hospitality workers. This money can come from the new visitor fees.

8.     Create a campaign to encourage visitors to “buy local” instead of only spending money at mainland-owned businesses.

9.     Limit the number of rental cars coming to the islands and reserve a percentage of rental cars for resident use.

10.  Establish more oversight of beaches to prevent hotels and concessions from taking over the beach with lounge chairs, umbrellas, kayaks, exercise equipment, etc.

11.  Severely limit the operation of helicopter tours. They are a detriment to the land and to the people. Regulate the limited number of tours that are allowed to operate and fine those who fly when not permitted.

12.  Similarly, enforce better regulation of water tours—boating, kayaking etc. Charge these tour operators parking fees as well as increased ramp/docking fees. Ensure that local fishermen are granted priority access before the pleasure/tourist-oriented operations.

13.  Address the explosion in the number of short-term vacation rentals that has had a huge negative impact on the quality of life of residents and has created a dangerous housing shortage.

a.      Limit STVR’s to resort areas: no renewals of current legal short term rental agreements as they expire, moratorium in residential and agriculturally zoned property;

b.     Prosecute of all the MANY illegal short-term rentals, especially in agricultural and residential neighborhoods;

c.      Revise property tax structure to disincentivize mainland investors from using our limited land as a moneymaker. i.e., hotel tax rates on properties whose owners are not Hawai‘i residents. Use this increased revenue to fund first-time buyer and other homebuying programs for local families.

These islands simply cannot sustain the massive influx of visitors any longer, particularly in the face of climate change. It is imperative that all of Hawai‘i’s leaders take immediate action before it is too late.

Additional information can be found on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/696545760781042/?hoisted_section_header_type=recently_seen&multi_permalinks=1212705942498352

0 have signed. Let’s get to 2,500!
At 2,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!