Tuesday, July 07, 2020
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Friday, June 21, 2019
‘De facto ban’ could poison tourism well
By Grassroot Institute @ 4:21 PM :: 2569 Views :: Small Business, Tourism

‘De facto ban’ could poison tourism well

From Grassroot Institute, June 21, 2019

The Honolulu County Council this week approved two bills that will impose tough regulations on short-term vacation rentals, pending final approval by the mayor, and this is a cause for worry.

The regulatory scheme of these two bills is so strict that it could be called a de facto ban. If signed by Mayor Kirk Caldwell, the measures will drastically cut the availability of short-term rentals on Oahu, currently estimated to be as many as 10,000, not counting 816 that are legal. One of the bills would authorize an additional 1,175 legal units, but only bed-and-breakfast rentals with onsite hosts.

What does this mean for the state’s economy? In short, banning short-term rentals could hurt Hawaii more than people realize.

Hawaii hosted almost 10 million visitors in 2018, and, without a doubt, vacation rentals comprised a significant portion. Hawaiian Airlines CEO Peter Ingram, whose job puts him on the front lines of Hawaii’s tourism economy, told Honolulu Civil Beat in January that short-term vacation rentals are why tourism here has continued to grow, despite little growth in hotel rooms and timeshare units.

Airbnb, one of the largest short-term lodging brokers in the world, estimated that people who came to Hawaii in 2016 through its website dropped $649 million in the state’s economy —  and Airbnb is only one of the many online hosting platforms that feature Hawaii lodgings.

Opponents of short-term vacation rentals have tried to discount the significance of short-term vacation rentals by pointing out that the visitors who use them spend less than those who stay in hotels. Indeed, Hawaii Tourism Authority data that found that these visitors spend between $30 and $60 less per day on lodging than hotel visitors, and between 24% to 37% less per day in total spending, including food, car rentals and other items.

However, spending less per day isn’t the same as spending nothing. Tourists who stay in rentals are still putting money into the local economy — money that would probably disappear if we no longer had the rentals.

Why would that money probably disappear? Because we can’t assume that the visitors who stay in short-term rentals would visit Hawaii and stay in hotels instead. According to a 2016 study from the HTA, 15% of respondents said they would not have visited Hawaii at all if they could not have used alternative accommodations.

Another 2016 study, this one from the Travel Technology Association, estimated that Oahu could lose as much as $336 million in household income, 7,000 jobs and $1.2 billion in economic activity per year, if there were no accommodations outside of hotels and resorts.

That’s not just lost income; it’s lost tax revenue as well. Airbnb told Gov. David Ige that, had it been authorized, it could have collected $64 million in taxes for the state in 2018. Other home-sharing platforms also could have contributed. Given the state’s obligations and spending levels, that revenue could have been put to good use.

Yes, there are concerns about the impact of short-term rentals on our communities, in terms of traffic, noise and other considerations. However, these problems can be addressed by enforcing existing laws and, perhaps, enacting additional regulations, all while taking into account the rights of Oahu homeowners who wish to share their homes with guests.

Strict legislation that could wreak havoc on Hawaii’s economy is not what we need at this juncture. What we need is a balanced approach to regulating vacation rentals in Hawaii, and the two measures being considered by Mayor Caldwell do not fit that bill.

E hana kakou! (Let's work together!),  

Keli'i Akina, Ph.D.



TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


808 Silent Majority

808 State Update AM940


ACA Signups Hawaii



Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Life Advocates

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

American Mothers of Hawaii



Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Astronomy Hawaii

Audit The Rail

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii 

Blaisdell Memorial Project

Broken Trust 

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

CAFR Hawaii

Castaway Conservative

Children's Alliance Hawaii

Children's Rights Institute


Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Citizens for Recall

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

Coffee Break

CSIS Pacific Forum

DAR Hawaii


DVids Hawaii

E Hana Kakou Kelii Akina

E Māua Ola i Moku o Keawe

Farmers For Choice Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Follow the Money Hawaii

Frank in Hawaii

Front Page Magazine

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Get Off Your Butts!

God, Freedom, America

Grassroot Institute


Hawaii Aganst Assisted Suicide

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crime Victims' Rights

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defending Marriage

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Firearm Community

Hawaii Fishermen's Alliance

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii Meth Project

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Right to Life -- Big Island

Hawaii Right to Life -- Oahu

Hawaii Shield Law Coalition

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

Heritage Foundation

HI Coalition Against Legalized Gambling



Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Homeless Crisis

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

Horns of Jericho Blog

House Minority Blog

House Republican Caucus YouTube


Hump Day Report

I Vote Hawaii

If Hawaii News

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

Iowa Meets Maui

Jackson v Abercrombie

Jihad Watch

July 4 in Hawaii

Kahle v New Hope

Kakaako Cares

Kau TEA Party

Kauai Co GOP

Keep Hawaii's Heroes


Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group


Middle East Forum--The Legal Project

Mililani Conservatives for Change

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

Muslim Brotherhood in America

NAMI Hawaii



National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

National Wind Watch

New Hawaiian

New Zeal

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Northwest Economic Policy Seminar

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

Now What I Really Think

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

ObamaCare Abortion Hawaii


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today


Pacific Aviation Museum

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons 

Pro-GMO Hawaii



Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Republican Party -- Hawaii State

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Save Dillingham Airfield

School Choice in Hawaii


SIFE Remington

SIFE W. Oahu 

Sink the Jones Act

Smart About Marijuana--Hawaii

St Marianne Cope

State Budget Solutions Hawaii

State Policy Network

Statehood for Guam

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Harriet Tubman Agenda

The Long War Journal

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

Truth About Trade & Technology - Hawaii

UCC Truths

Union Members Know Your Rights

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

Valor in the Pacific

VAREP Honolulu


West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii