Kauai Tourism Plan Will Include New Fees And Enforcement

Kauai Tourism Plan Will Include New Fees And Enforcement

The state’s lame-duck marketing partner, Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau (HVCB) is, so far, still in charge of each of the island’s destination management plans. That could change as all of Hawaii’s $100m dirty laundry gets aired. Included in the dispute are marketing partners Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA), the state’s Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA), and HVCB. This is going to be anything but pretty and will almost certainly end in circuit court. We’ll be reporting on each island’s plans, beginning today with Kauai.

HVCB’s Kauai Visitors Bureau provided input this week about just how things are proceeding with the Garden Island’s tourism management plan. In an interview, they said that the idea of a universal visitor fee is “dead on arrival,” per the state legislature. The universal fee had been the #1 goal of  the HTA. Had that come to fruition, it might have provided a means for visitors to pay for both beaches and parks statewide in one transaction. But that was complicated, confusing, and seemed destined to not happen.

Not giving up, however, the HTA sees some other version of a statewide fee plan coming, the nature of which is still being considered.

Kauai visitor fees: those in place and the ones being proposed.

Currently, the only state visitor fees are for Haena State Park, Kokee State Park and Waimea Canyon State Park.

Kauai, however, is evaluating the feasibility of implementing county visitor fees of some type, too, for Lydgate Beach, Hanalei Bay (Black Pot Beach), and Poipu Beach. Word is that the county is inclined to pick just one of those locations initially. We’re guessing that might be Hanalei, where it’ll create and test a pilot program.

On a less controversial note, there’s a new visitor bureau program in place which is implementing signage all around Kauai, designed to promote the island’s culture and history.

Funding for law enforcement at Kauai state parks.

Another current focus which has been funded by the legislature, relates to better enforcement at state parks on Kauai.

At drive-to Wailua Falls, of Fantasy Island fame, which is one of the most spectacular spots on Kauai, you can expect to see changes implemented. Visitor and resident trespassing, and commercial trespassing (think photographers), has been an issue for years but has never been properly enforced due to a lack of funding. There have been recent workshops with both photographers and wedding planners to try to use influence and threats to curtail illegal activities.

You’ll recall that recently, a trespassing California visitor fell 25-feet off the Wailua Falls trail. They were rescued in a harrowing two-hour ordeal and suffered multiple head injuries which required hospitalization. That trail, by the way, is steep and involves holding on to ropes on the way down.

See Hawaii Visitor Trespassing Rescues Continue As State Seeks New Rules.

What’s in the Kauai Destination Management Plan (DMAP) through 2023?

According to the brochure, which you can read below, “The goal of the Kaua‘i DMAP is to rebuild, redefine and reset the direction of tourism over a three-year period.” Including what it calls “managing the number of visitors,” the plan also seeks to implement systems to address concerns at the following places on Kauai.

  • Polihale State Park (accessibility)
  • Kokee and Waimea Canyon
  • Napali and Kalalau Trail (access and safety)
  • Salt Pond Beach Park and surrounding area
  • North Shore from Hanalei Bridge to the end of the road
    at Kee Beach (capacity)
  • Hanalei Bay (access)
  • Kee Beach (access and capacity)
  • Haena (access and capacity)
  • Hanakapiai
  • Anini Beach
  • Poipu Beach (safety)
  • Queen’s Bath (access and safety)
  • Kapaa (traffic)
  • Old Koloa town (parking)
  • Wailua River State Park

(Note on reading the Kauai DMAP – you can use the arrows to move forward and back in the document).

BOH: Our take is that there is much to be gained by creatively engaging visitors to take greater ownership in preserving Hawaii. It seems that sadly, the adage “you get more flies with honey than with vinegar” (which means it is a good idea to be nice to others), is totally lost on Hawaii’s marketing partners and how they relate to visitors. And that’s been the case for years. HTA and HVCB seem to have the idea that it is better to screw things down as tightly as possible instead. Since “travel management” is completely new to Hawaii, which has always promoted the concept more visitors are better, we hope to see them act wisely, and put their very best foot forward in this new direction.

Your thoughts are always apprecitated. Which of the beaches, communities and parks are you supportive of change including new visitor fees such as at Hanalei Beach?


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99 thoughts on “Kauai Tourism Plan Will Include New Fees And Enforcement”

  1. Hi Sean, it’s a shame that a “Vocal Minority” of Hawaii Residents continues to cause trouble. Soon they will be telling us when we are “Allowed” to go the Beach, travel on the road and flush the toilet. They don’t want us there but The Majority Does! If some of the Income from Taxes and Fees had been, and were, applied to Housing for lower income by now many people could be safe and secure in their residence. So many things could be better by now and getting better for others. Where is the Money? Ige hasn’t taken it all!

  2. Hi Sean, excellent observations and comparisons that are definitely spot on. Many bathrooms are unaccessable due to the indigent population residing just outside. If you were to go in what you would find is typically Disgusting, No toilet paper, toilets backed up, anything metal is rusted and clothes hanging to dry, sticky floors also. It’s Time for the Need to outweigh the Greed and Use the money properly to Help the Residents of Hawaii.

  3. The Island of Kauai is the most peaceful and laid back place I have ever visited. Oh, also the most beautiful. I feel it uneccessary to charge fees and enforce restrictions. Please do not shoot yourselfs in the foot by creating a carnival atmosphere. In the real world it’s first come first served. Planners win, procrastinators lose.

  4. Hi Barbara, probably 99++ percent of Vacationers to Hawaii are everything that you, and Residents, want and expect from them, this is how they are even at home. That leaves an Extremely few people that are causing the problems associated with Tourists, but even that small number is too much! The Policing Authority of the location should have a Seen Presence that would calm all but the worst offenders,those being dealt with as necessary, they know where the “Hot Spots” typically are. The $50 fee should be paid at the time of Booking, but Not included in the ticket price. Hawaii needs to show to the World how Residents are charged the Fee, they too bare Responsibility for the situation. The Funds should be controlled by a Trustee! Not Govt.

  5. A $50 fee is subtle, affordable, doable. Like most fees that are begun, to avoid too much criticism and anger it starts out “reasonable.” Given a little time, and thought, it increases and never stops. To guarantee payment it may be included in the airline ticket. Maybe just the hidden increases will. It Never Ends and often leads to other Fee’s that benefit something until it doesn’t. It’s not only Hawaii, many places do this. It’s very difficult to turn down money. As you know by now I am against fees for Good Reasons.

  6. Putting Restrictions on Tourist Entrance Numbers, excluding who you feel isn’t worthy, sounds wonderful to the ears of some. How should potential Tourists send their Bank Statements, is PDF okay? Will Health Records be Required? I’m guessing that background checks will be needed, Credit History too! It’s a Slippery Slope that some are proposing, watch for the Avalanches of back lesh coming your way, the loss of Tourism just as You wish.


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