Planning A Hawaii Trip? You Might Have To Pay A 'Climate Fee'

Hawaii has recently implemented a new measure to address the negative impact of overtourist. To support the repair of its natural resources and protect its unique ecosystem, the state has introduced a "climate fee" on all visiting tourists
Waikiki Beach in Hawaii
Waikiki Beach in HawaiiTomas del Amo/Shutterstock

Overtourism has become an issue in many places across the world. As the number of visitors increases, tourist destinations are overwhelmed by travellers. With more people visiting, regions are becoming overrun by tourists, leaving them to deal with the negative impacts of mass tourism. Now Hawaii is the latest to announce a tourist tax in the form of a "climate fee" on visiting tourists in order to support the repair of years of harm caused by overtourism. A new bill is being proposed that would require visitors to pay a "climate fee" of USD 25 (INR 2,073) when checking into a hotel or vacation rental in Hawaii. This fee is expected to generate around USD 68 million annually and will be used to maintain Hawaii's beaches and prevent wildfires.

The island state, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, is suffering from overtourism. Experts have stated that the construction of properties to cater to the hospitality industry and high tourism rates have played a part in the fires that destroyed Lahaina in August 2023.

The island state, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world
The island state, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the worldHeather Goodman/Shutterstock

The Bills Being Proposed

In fact, according to reports, Hawaii lawmakers are considering two proposals to raise the transient accommodation tax (TAT) for tourists. House Bill 2406 would impose a one-time fee of USD 25 on tourists, and the proceeds would go to the Climate Health and Environmental Action Special Fund. Governor Josh Green has voiced his support for this measure, which aims to minimise the impacts of climate crises. On the other hand, House Bill 2081 proposes to increase the TAT from 10.25 per cent to 11.25 per cent, and add an additional charge of USD 50 per night. The funds collected from this proposal would go to the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Overtourism In Hawaii

According to a Euro News article from 2022, tens of thousands of additional tourists are rendering Hawaii's roads, beaches, and restaurants nearly useless. According to the report, the state attempted to address a variety of issues last summer, including hospitality labour shortages, clogged roadways, and 90-minute restaurant wait times. Furthermore, social media footage revealed people stroking endangered Hawaiian monk seals and going on banned trails such as Diamond Head.

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