Maui plans to collect a hotel tax from tourists as the Hawaiian island has seen an influx of visitors.
The new 3% tax will be collected from visitors staying at hotels and other 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 Governor David Ige. Before the new tax surcharge, the state collected a 10% hotel tax and distribute a share to each county.
Now, the counties can implement their own surcharge to the tax and keep the money for local needs.
Maui County officials estimate that the new tax will triple the revenue brought in.
Maui has seen a sharp increase in tourism since pandemic restrictions have eased. It’s been so drastic, in fact, Maui 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 said, according to the AP.
According to preliminary statistics released by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA), there were 215,148 visitors to Maui in May 2021, compared to 1,054 visitors in May 2020, versus 251,665 visitors in May 2019.
Further, there were 58,412 visitors per day on Maui in May 2021, compared to 956 visitors per day in May 2020, versus 60,389 visitors per day in May 2019.
Through the first five months of 2021, the number of visitors in Maui is up nearly 20% compared to the same period in 2020, although that was impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s also important to note Maui still had had a partial quarantine in place in May. Just last week, Hawaii will begin welcoming inbound, domestic travelers from other U.S. states or territories, without quarantining with proof of vaccination or testing.
Governor Ige has said the state will plan to lift all COVID-19-related restrictions when Hawaii reaches a 70% vaccination rate.