Maui to Impose New Hotel Tax Due to Influx of Tourists
The Hawaiian island of Maui is set to collect a hotel tax from tourists staying there with the help of a new law and amid an influx of visitors.
The new 3% tax will be collected from people staying at hotels and short-term rentals, The Associated Press reported. It comes after lawmakers in the state passed a bill that changes how Hawaii allocates tax revenue to the different counties, overriding a veto by Gov. David Ige.
Before the new tax surcharge, the state collected a 10% hotel tax and distribute a share to each county. In addition, the bill cuts the Hawaii Tourism Authority's budget by 24%, Hawaii News Now reported.
"This will help tremendously," Maui County Council Chair Alice Lee told the site. "Instead of $23 million, we'll probably receive in the neighborhood of $50 to $70 million."
The push for more revenue comes as tourism has exploded in Maui and across Hawaii, causing Maui's Mayor Michael Victorino to ask airlines to bring fewer tourists.
"We don't have the authority to say stop, but we are asking the powers to be to help us," Victorino has said, according to the AP.
In May, more than 629,000 visitors flew to the state, only 25.7% less than May 2019 when just over 847,000 visitors arrived, including both air and cruise passengers, the Hawaii Tourism Authority shared with Travel + Leisure at the time.
The state is making it easier than ever to visit, waiving the requirement last week to get a COVID-19 test before traveling for fully vaccinated domestic travelers. Those who are not vaccinated must provide proof of a negative test from a "trusted partner" site in order to skip quarantine.
Hawaii has also expanded its partnership with Clear's Health Pass, which offers a way for many travelers to verify their vaccination status or pre-arrival testing results before flying.
Ige has said the state will plan to lift all COVID-19-related restrictions when Hawaii reaches a 70% vaccination rate. Currently, 65.1% of all residents have received at least one dose of a vaccine and 58.3% are fully vaccinated, according to Hawaii's Department of Health.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.