Limiting the number of NEW visitor accommodations in Maui County
[Regarding the adoption of Maui County resolution 22-70].
We need more Homes, not Hotels. And We Need to Manage Tourism so it benefits Maui County Locals, the “moms, and pops”.
Maui County already has more than enough hotel rooms, timeshares, and other transient accommodations. We have more hotel rooms per-capita than Oahu, and we are more tourist-dense than Waikiki.
Maui Now has up to One Tourist for every 2-3 locals. Far exceeding our limits, and our levels set in the Maui Island Plan. This is totally unsustainable. And there are not even enough locals to work in these hotels, so Hotels are importing more people to work in these hotels. Hotel workers brought in from the mainland are buying up all of our “workforce and affordable housing”, and there is nothing to stop them.
The 2-year Visitor Moratorium is actually benefiting the housing industry as construction is focusing on home-building and other kinds of construction. This is actually helping us fill the need for more housing for locals. But, this is only a temporary solution to Maui’s housing crisis. This bill for a “Cap on Tourist Accommodation” could similarly help our construction industry to focus on the kinds of projects that will actually benefit local families, such as building more housing and schools.
Many Hotels on Maui are owned by huge mainland corporations. The majority of Profits from the Hotel industry go offshore to pay shareholders, and most do not benefit the local economy.
FYI, Maui’s top hotels are owned by Billionaires and Multinational Corporations, the profits go to Wall Street. And into the pockets of billionaires like Larry Ellison, Bill Gates, Michael Dell, and Saudi Arabian Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, just to name a few.
Hotels are not always staffed by Local people. There are not enough local workers to staff the hotels we have now, and there are not enough local workers to staff new hotels. This causes hotels to recruit mainland workers to come to live on Maui and fill these positions. Hotels bring in mainland managers and even international staff to fill senior positions. They are not always training and recruiting local people.
Not enough locals to staff these hotels: The visitor accommodation industry is importing a large number of their workforce. The visitor industry is also underpaying their local workers. So local people working in this industry cannot support their families long-term. So many residents are forced to leave Maui.
Increasing the number of Hotels and Visitor accommodations is a bad idea. By capping the number of accommodations, we are actually supporting all of the Hotels we have now. It is supply and demand. When we cap the number of Visitor accommodations we keep demand high. Then they can charge higher prices, and they need to be able to charge higher prices in order to pay their local workers a sustainable living wage.
*Local Maui residents who work in this industry need to be able to buy homes and pay rents in Maui’s competitive housing market.
The visitor industry in Hawaii chronically underpays its workers. We need to support local unions that are fighting Hotels to get a decent wage. The average wage for a hotel housekeeper on Maui is still only $14-15 dollars per hour. The high cost of living on Maui makes the minimum livable (sustainable) wage on Maui to be at least $20-25 per hour. Meanwhile, Bill Gates makes $456,625 an hour.
There are better ways to support the local economy (than building more hotels):
Hotels are not always built by local contractors and these projects go to the lowest bidders. We can change that.
We need to stop big construction jobs going to off-island and mainland companies.
We need to ensure that our building projects go to Local Builders who use local labor. This is how we support our local construction industry.
We need to ensure that Hotels are staffed by Maui Locals. And that Hotels hire Hawaiians to fill all levels of staffing positions.
We need to ensure that Hotels pay their workers a decent living wage that is sustainable for the Cost of living here in Hawaii.
We need to raise taxes on foreign-owned Hotels and Visitor accommodations,
We need to raise taxes on absentee landlords that are converting homes to TVRs, and Condos to Time Shares.
We recommend adopting this resolution, so that it can be properly deliberated and debated by the planning commission. The planning commission deserves to hear the input from the whole community and stakeholders on this important issue that could determine the fate of the local economy and all the community who lives here.