Hawaiian Government Fails to Pass Tourism Fee Law

Hawaiian Government Fails to Pass Tourism Fee Law

by Donald Wood
on May 4, 2023
Last updated: 8:55 AM ET, Thu May 4, 2023

A tourism
proposed by the Hawaiian state legislature has died on the floor after
lawmakers failed to hammer out financial details before the end of this year’s
legislative session.

According to The
Associated Press
, lawmakers in Hawaii were working on a yearlong license or
pass that arriving tourists would have to acquire to visit state parks and
trails, with revenue being used to pay for the maintenance and protection of
parks, coral reefs, forests and wildlife.

The bill initially
through the state Senate with a fee of $50, but members of the House
of Representatives removed the dollar amount. Lawmakers also proposed “$360,000
for five full-time state employees to implement the plan,” but an agreement couldn’t
be reached in time.

State officials and citizens were disappointed by the lack
of an agreement, as the idea of a tourism
was widely supported by the governor, members of the House and Senate and
the people who live on the islands, according to a survey conducted by the
Hawaii Tourism Authority.

“I don’t think the bill failed to pass on the merits of the
legislation and of the idea that we ought to be leveraging visitors to pay for
these things,” state Senator Chris Lee said. “I think it was more the question
of how and when.”

While the bill’s failure on the floor of state Congress has
been met with frustration, Governor Josh Green said government officials must
use this opportunity to “have a more comprehensive discussion on managing

Governor Green said lawmakers expect the bill to be up for
consideration again next year and should have the support to pass. He said the tourism
would alleviate costs for residents and reduce the effects of tourism.

Hawaii boasts around 1.5 million year-round citizens, but
the islands welcome an estimated 10 million visitors each year, a number that
puts stress on the environment and local economic structure.

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