×

Mayor to form Tourism Advisory Committee

Panel to address impacts of visitor industry on county

The Maui News

Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino announced Thursday the recommendations of his fact-finding Tourism Group to address the environmental and community impacts of the visitor industry, which include forming a permanent Tourism Advisory Committee.

Other recommendations encompass providing more visitor education opportunities, enhancing cultural awareness for visitors, improving ground transportation to reduce traffic congestion and increasing enforcement for illegal vacation rentals.

“Tourism is the main engine of our economy,” Victorino said. “But the industry needs to work better for residents and visitors alike. It’s not enough to set visitor arrival and spending records, although both are much appreciated.

“Now, we need to look at ways to respect our residents’ home and culture while maintaining the health of our visitor industry.”

Terryl Vencl, community liaison to the mayor and former Maui Visitors Bureau executive director, was appointed to head the Tourism Group to focus on collaborative tourism management.

The mayor noted that the county’s “strong” tourism industry is segmented with resorts, hotels, small businesses, activity operators and ground transportation providers.

They “don’t always communicate as well as they should,” he said. “Creating a permanent Tourism Advisory Group for the mayor would get representatives of these groups talking and break down silos as a way of improving collaboration as well as communication.”

Details on the formation of the Tourism Advisory Committee have yet to be worked out, he said.