Twelve miles northeast of Honolulu and home to Lanikai Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, the neighborhood of Kailua has a beef to pick with the state. They have too many tourists, they say, and they’d appreciate it if the Hawaii Tourism Authority would stop sending more their way.
In September, the Kailua Neighborhood Board passed a resolution asking the tourism agency to "stop promoting Kailua as a tourist destination and alternative to Waikiki," reports the AP. At the heart of the matter is the agency’s website which notes that "a Kailua vacation rental can be the perfect solution" for those planning a family vacation or traveling in large groups.
The problem, according to the neighborhood board, is that the rush of tourists has created a large and unregulated vacation rental industry. While the Hawaii Tourism Authority estimates there are around 500 places for overnight accommodation in the neighborhood, only 65 of those have permits; 35 bed-and-breakfast spots and 30 vacation rental units.
The board says that the rentals place a burden on the housing stock for natives and has increased the cost of housing, pricing out people born and raised there. And some residents complain that the transient population detracts from the sense of community.
But meanwhile, Ikaika Anderson, who represents Kailua in the Honolulu City Council, notes that the resolution doesn’t reflect the views of many of the town’s residents.
"It's a signal to those folks who do not live in Kailua that Kailua residents do not welcome them," Anderson said.
And those who support the local rental industry say that the tourists help the economy and provide employment. Angie Larson, a board member of the Hawaii Vacation Rental Owners Association, said that many people have already heard about Kailua before reading about it on the tourism agency site.
“Everybody wants to go. Not everyone wants to stay in a hotel,” said Larson. "It's a little too late to keep Hawaii in a box.”
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