Hawai‘i Tourism Now: Maui Mayor Michael Victorino Responds to Questions About Maui’s Tourism Industry
Maui Mayor Michael Victorino sits down with Pacific Media Group COO and MauiNow director, Jack Dugan to answer questions regarding tourism’s role in Maui’s economic future and its residents.
The Mayor highlighted the integral role tourism plays on Maui’s hospitality-based economy.
“Right now, the visitor industry is our number one economic engine and without it, you can see the devastation – 37,000 unemployed people here in Maui County…so, can we last long without the visitor industry? Absolutely not,” said Mayor Victorino.
According to the Mayor, 90% of the 37,000 unemployed workers are directly or indirectly connected to the visitor industry.
“Let’s be very honest, most of our local residents, when you are talking about 37,000 unemployed, they do not have the money. We’ve gotta be able to create jobs for them, bringing back our visitor industry with quality, not quantity,” the Mayor added.
The Mayor highlighted that Maui was originally set-up to as a travel destination for high-quality visitors, visitors who are long-term spenders. He recognized that Maui experienced a quick exponential growth in the number of visitors, taxing the island’s capacity and had detrimental effects to Maui’s infrastructure and environment.
“Look at the airport right now, there is a sea of rental cars sitting all around the airport. We realized now, we have gone to the extreme. COVID-19 has given us an opportunity to step back, look at what we are doing and redo the new Maui County,” said Mayor Victorino.
As his final message to the community, the Mayor sees the current situation as an opportunity and asks the community to see it that way as well – to embrace change and the new normal.
“I am asking people to really look at the new normal of Maui County, the new normal of the state of Hawai’i and the United States, and probably the world…It will be a different travel industry, everything will be different, not just here in Hawai’i but everywhere else in the world,” said Mayor Victorino.