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Kamaaina Discounts: Unfair To Hawaii Visitors Or Genuine Perks for Residents?

Sometimes controversial, Kamaaina discounts in Hawaii promise substantial savings for residents. But where does that leave visitors?

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50 thoughts on “Kamaaina Discounts: Unfair To Hawaii Visitors Or Genuine Perks for Residents?”

  1. I have traveled to Hawai’i as often as possible (~50x over 40yrs) because I fell in love with the culture, which significantly includes respect and humility. I’m not a kama’āina (yet), but I have received the discount on occasion because I respect the employees, the establishment, and the culture – to include not expecting a discount that I rightfully don’t qualify for. Be kind, courteous, and respectful, and you may receive that which you shouldn’t expect.

  2. I don’t know how I feel. I’m a senior (80) in August and never remember to ask for a senior discount anywhere – not even at McDonald’s.

    Envy is not a good policy. We need to get the prices for Our vacation and not feel cheated because someone else got a better deal. Shop and ask if discounts are available.

    I was surprised about 15 years ago when I was in May Company and saw a sport jacket I really liked. I simply ask what was the best price and got a lower price.

    I’ll be back in August (will celebrate my 80th in Waikiki – health willing). Maybe I’ll remember to ask for a coffee at McDonald’s.


    1. Burger Kings in Hawaii have 84 cent “senior” coffee, & to me it tastes better than the well known mega-chain coffee. So there are some rare perks for “seniors”.

  3. Perks for those that live there… as a former resident of Kauai… I can say I truly appreciated the ability to enjoy visiting other islands. Tourist also get special packages that’s great for them. Keep the Katarina specials as the cost of living in the islands can be burdensome…. so it helps.. helps families to visit.

  4. I am a non-resident. I do think the kamaaina discounts are fine for the residents. I do not care what a person’s line of work may be, they are only three steps removed from the tourist industry. Keep the small discount for the resident, heck, make it a big discount.

  5. I’m fine with resident discounts in most cases. Tourists pay sales tax, but residents pay sales tax, income tax, property tax, use tax etc. I’m not okay with “locals only” beaches or parks or clubs, etc. Where I live in utah, residents pay a discounted rate for state parks, but everyone has the same right to use it. If its not privately owned, the locals should bully anyone away.

  6. Overpopulation is the main source of many of the problems we complain about, e.g. (im)migration and high prices, but it never gets mentioned. It’s supply and demand. More demand creates higher prices.
    Kama’aina, senior, and student discounts have existed for a long time. Why are we complaining about them now? Because markets and financial malfeasance have increased the pool of consumers and a sense of entitlement. Tourists are objecting because Hawaii is very expensive, but they can choose or not choose to come here. Locals can’t readily choose not to be here, and those that do move to the mainland. Econ 101

  7. To hit the reset button on my comments–I am All For Hawaii residents getting discounts (even big ones, if a business can afford it.) Hate knowing that locals are often priced out of many of the wonderful experiences tourists often come to HI to have.

  8. Hawaii residence pay 11.8% in taxes. We are 2nd only to New York. I believe if businesses want to give Kamaaina discounts to Hawaii residents they should. I been paying taxes since the age of 14, I am now 50 so do the math. Kamaaina discounts are just a little give back. We also have the Jones act which makes cost of living hard for all of us born and raised here. Nevertheless this is Home especially for us Kanaka Maoli!!!

    1. The discounts have nothing to do with the state or county governments, or taxes. These are just private businesses choosing to give (typically very small) discounts to residents for marketing purposes. That’s it.

  9. Kama’aina rates is Microeconomics 101. It’s beneficial price discrimination in the same way as senior and student price discounts. Good for residents. Good for businesses.

  10. Kamaaina discounts. I think they should receive discounts. As a past resident, it helped. I think the way that residents are treated is unfairly. The discounts are slim and prices are greedily over priced for all.

  11. We look for kama’aina discounts during off peak season, for interisland travel and especially dining out. Yes, businesses should offer kama’aina discounts. Residents can support and experience the service / leisure industry, locally.
    Some apply the definition “of the land” to exclude residents who were not born in Hawaii and those who do not appear local. This coincides with visitor comments about feeling less welcome and priced out. Result, loss of repeat customers and segregation.
    The interaction of residents and visitors at our business enhanced everyone’s experience. We thanked visitors and residents for choosing us and asked them to return. Discounts to residents improves the economy and the visitor experience.

  12. In-state discounts for publically controlled areas are a thing all across the country. Locals should get a benefit for all they have built and contributed.

    Other than those elements the govt is supposed to control (nat parks, public beach, etc), the govt should not be mandating that vendors give in-state discounts, and should not be subsidizing them, either.

    Let freedom and the market work it’s magic–no need for govt to mess things up (and the HI govt has been lining their own pockets on the backs of the HI economy for years.)

    1. Please remind me of the government-subsidized kamaaina discounts? Lived here for 25 years. Don’t wanna miss out.

      1. Then you would know better than I.

        I suppose with all the backroom deals and corruption going in in the govt, it might be hard to be so certain of what might be subsidized, yeah?

          1. Personally, I try not to let knowing what I’m talking about get in the way. The only “discounts” that are provided by the state or counties (or cities in other US states) tend to be for access to state/county/city owned parks. This may include parking lots for beaches. Example: after the 2018 flood repairs, the state closed Haena beach park to non-residents, unless the non-residents get reservations and pay fees. State residents (with state IDs) get in free and no reservations required. I suppose that is a “discount”.

          2. Way to keep the convo on point, Pal. You know Nothing about me or my experiences in Hawaii.

            …so, you agree with me that discounts currently given to locals should be given, or not?

          3. I live in hawaii was born and raised here. Yes, I do know what I am talking about. Even when I lived in vegas there were local resident discounts. Why people have to make a big deal about discounts for residents, that is what I don’t care for.

    2. There is no government “mandated” private business discount for residents. The comments suggest that if there are, please point them out.

  13. As a frequent visitor, my wife and I get out to golf as much as possible. Many of the courses have two rates. One local and and one tourist. We were at one local course, with another couple who were traveling with us, and two of our “local” friends. The visitor rate was 3 times the local rate. We tried to get a group rate and the guy said no. Instead of having 6 people golfing, eating, and drinking, they got none. We went to Hickam AFB. Cheaper and better views. As a former business owner, I would have made some adjustment to the price rather than have 6 customers walk out, taking several hundred dollars of income with them. I have golfed all over the US and have never seen “local” and visitor rates.

    1. Joe B,
      I have been to public (county or city owned) golf courses that had cheaper rates for residents in places other than Hawaii. Torrey Pines in San Diego was that way in the early 1980s (not sure about these days). And several of my friends who went to college nearby went out of their way to change their DL addresses to get the discounted rates. I recall another one in the greater Boston area, but I forget the name. The theory is that the residents are paying for the place via property or other taxes. But, sure, if the price difference is too great, they will put-off outsiders, and maybe lose some business.

  14. Honesty who cares what tourists think is fair. There should be far more Kama’aina discounts to us locals. It’s just smart business.


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