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Maui's new tax hopes to combat 'post-pandemic' overtourism

Your next trip to Hawaii just got more expensive

Written by
Sarah Medina
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It feels like everyone is headed to Hawaii right now, right? Well, cheap flight deals and loosening Covid restrictions means that paradise is literally overrun with tourists this summer. One of the Hawaiian islands, Maui, is trying to combat over tourism (and prevent still-risky Covid crowding) with a new tax aimed at tourists. 

An additional three-percent tax will be collected from anyone staying in a hotel or short-term vacation rental while on the island. It's the result of a recent state law update that changes how Hawaii allocates tax revenue to its counties. Prior to the new bill, Hawaii as a whole was collecting a 10 percent hotel tax and distributing the revenue to each county based on the size of its residential population. Now, counties will be paid based on tourists per capita and are allowed to collect up to an additional 3 percent of taxes for local needs. With the new tax surplus, Maui is looking to make an additional $30 to $50 million this year. 

The change comes just as tourism in Hawaii has exploded, even causing Maui's Mayor Michael Victorino to ask airlines to bring fewer tourists. All this despite the fact that Hawaii barely lifted its Covid testing and quarantine requirements for vaccinated travelers just last week.

While it does mean that any Hawaiian vacation you had planned just got a little more expensive, it also means that the islands will be able to invest in local infrastructure to benefit residents and handle more tourism. A win-win? 

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