Maui News

Survey: resident sentiment toward tourism recovering after prolonged downturn

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Visitor education signage at Kahului Airport on Maui. PC: Hawai‘i Tourism Authority

Hawai‘i residents statewide feel that more effort is being made to balance the economic benefits of tourism and quality of life for residents, according to the State of Hawai‘i Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism’s Fall 2022 Resident Sentiment Survey.

Department officials say the concept of tourism management is beginning to resonate, with 44% of residents in the survey agreeing that tourism is being better managed on their island. An estimated 67% said that tax dollars should be spent to manage tourism’s impacts in their community.

The survey also showed that residents who were aware of the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority’s Destination Management Action Plans and the organization’s efforts to better manage tourism had a more favorable view.

“The tide is turning in the right direction due largely to our collective destination management efforts in partnership with community stakeholders, government agencies, and industry partners,” said John De Fries, HTA’s president and CEO in a news release. “We continue to reinvest funding directly into the community to effect meaningful change and mitigate tourism’s impacts in hotspot areas throughout the state.”


HTA notes that resident attitudes toward tourism are being shaped by the balance between economic benefits and quality of life, along with tourism management efforts that improve this balance.

The top three drivers of resident sentiment in the fall were: job opportunities, support of local businesses, and the creation of shopping, dining and entertainment options for residents.

An estimated 67% of residents stated they had a favorable opinion of tourism as an industry in Hawai‘i. More residents in this wave compared to the prior wave said tourism has brought more benefits than problems (57%), nearing the 2019 mark (58%).

Of those who disagreed that tourism has brought more benefits than problems, the opportunities for improvement include addressing issues such as overcrowding, environmental damage, and no respect for culture/tradition/‘āina. 


According to the survey, 55% of residents said tourism has had a mostly positive impact on the state, while 37% felt that tourism has been mostly positive for them and their family.

Meanwhile, 67% agreed with the statement that their island is being run for tourists at the expense of local people.

Resident satisfaction is one of the Key Performance Indicators of HTA’s 2020-2025 Strategic Plan. The other three KPIs are average daily visitor spending, visitor satisfaction, and total visitor spending.

Resident sentiment has been measured since 1988.


The Fall 2022 Resident Sentiment Survey was conducted by Omnitrak Group, Inc., which was selected by DBEDT as the provider for this study. The survey was fielded from Oct. 19 through Dec. 3, 2022. Residents in all four counties participated in the survey by phone and online.

The results of the Fall 2022 survey are compared to the Spring 2022 Resident Sentiment Survey, which was conducted from May 7 through July 30, 2022. 

The Fall 2022 Resident Sentiment Survey Report is available on HTA’s website.


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