Tourism marketing budget needs to be dropped to zero

In an online publication, a Haiku writer offers the most compelling argument I’ve seen for curtailing tourism. She says, “I’ve watched this place change rapidly in as little as three years through a detrimental wave of overtourism that has completely overtaken us to transform this island.”

Experts at the University of Hawaii say tourism in the islands has reached a crucial “tipping point.” Another study concluded that, “although the tourism industry is critical for the economy, the current propensity to grow cannot be sustained.”

Seeing nearly a million more people come compared to 2007, the situation is dire, with tourism doing more harm than good.

Tourism helps the economy but at what cost? Residents who are unable to afford homes have made Las Vegas “our ninth island.” This is a tragedy for those who grew up here, especially Hawaiians.

All of this has to do in part from an inattentive County Council and poor planning. The council, especially newcomers, needs to take a new, hard look at this.

Many of these visitor problems are the product of relentless marketing by the Hawaii and Maui tourist bureaus, who are creating demand for even more building. The budget for promotion needs to be dropped to zero. Visitors will keep coming without this since the majority of tourists return time after time.

We have to find a way. How about no more building of timeshares unless developers construct an affordable home for every condo unit they build?

Let’s preserve our paradise.

Norm Bezane

Lahaina