The Maui Hotel & Lodging Association supports reasonable efforts to address the affordable housing concerns in our community. This is a critical issue for the Visitor Industry as many of the potential beneficiaries of sound affordable housing policies include the thousands of residents who are employed in the industry.
MHLA recognizes that one of the greatest assets of tourism on Maui is its employees who work in the industry. Our employees are the embodiment of our Aloha Spirit; and employers expend much effort & resources to attract and retain employees. Affordable housing – or lack thereof – is a great concern because of its impact on the retention of our valuable workforce.
MHLA encourages progressive policies that address the shortage of affordable housing and greater emphasis on addressing this issue in a focused and expeditious way. Reasonable legislation should be enacted that encourage the development and construction of affordable housing. In addition, alternatives should be pursued, such as increasing the supply of apartments for start-up homeowners as an affordable alternative to more expensive single-family homes.
MHLA is deeply concerned that Maui County’s lack of affordable housing has only worsened over time, with formerly “affordable housing” projects becoming “unaffordable” by the time they are built, and the supply of affordable housing falls far behind the demand.
Affordable housing is an extremely important issue. However, to truly be successful the intent of the solution must be sustainable over time. For example, the Lahaina Housing units built in 1991 as a county development project originally sold as affordable housing in the $100,000 range. Today, those same houses are being sold on the market for $700,000. This tremendous increase in price reflects the shortage of affordable housing options for our residents. Every reasonable effort should be made to keep affordable housing affordable for the future.
Maui County's strength as a top tourism destination depends upon our ability to provide high quality visitor industry offerings.
It is important that businesses and accommodations related to the visitor industry on Maui maintain and upgrade their properties and offering in order to be a viable player in today's highly competitive global industry.
The Maui Hotel & Lodging Association agrees that upkeep and upgrades to visitor industry offerings are integral to showcasing our Island in the very best light and maintaining our competitive edge. It is the Maui Hotel & Lodging Association's policy not to endorse individual projects, but to generally support such initiatives that will ultimately enhance Maui's reputation for quality.
UH MAUI COLLEGE - Hospitality & Tourism Program - The Transformation of Hale Haumana
The Maui Hotel & Lodging Association (MHLA) understands the importance of workforce development and the key role that UH Maui College's (UHMC) Hospitality & Tourism Program plays in contributing to our workforce and the future of the Visitor Industry.
Top faculty members at UHMC and a group of visitor industry leaders comprise a Hospitality & Tourism Program Advisory Committee. This committee is dedicated to transforming the Hale Haumana dormitory structures located at the corner of Wahine Pio and Ka'ahumanu Avenue in Kahului into a teaching lab/hotel for UHMC students. The group is committed to working with the community by partnering with Maui County, MHLA, native Hawaiian groups, unions and other sectors to make the transformation a reality.
The facility will provide UHMC with a teaching hotel that integrates courses in lodging operations, provides an authentic hands-on career-related job experience for students and delivers an outstanding experience to their guests. The vision is to create state-of-the-art facilities encompassing green design and sustainability (LEED certification) by utilizing cutting-edge technology.
MHLA supports this innovative initiative which will serve as a model for community partnerships. Maui County's strength as a top tourism destination depends upon our ability to provide for a qualified workforce. This facility will provide our future leaders with a stimulating learning environment that includes the hands-on experience of running an actual hotel; and provide Maui with a world-class hospitality teaching facility that symbolizes Maui as a world-class destination.
The National Science Foundation's proposed solar telescope will enhance our island's offerings by providing yet another feather in Maui's cap - home of the world's largest optical solar telescope, providing the sharpest views of the sun and crucial to determining & predicting the sun's affect of the earth. It is an honor to be selected as "the best location to study the sun" out of over 70 sites considered throughout the world.
Additionally, the solar telescope will provide an opportunity for scientists to visit our island. Visiting scientists and conferences will occupy our hotels, dine and shop at our businesses.
Maui County's strength as a top tourism destination and successful model depends upon our ability to showcase a diverse array of industries. Enhancing the science technology industry in our mix will complement our island's reputation for excellence.
Maui County’s strength as a top tourism destination depends upon our ability to provide a diverse mix of choices for our various visitor markets. Timeshares, in addition to hotels and resort condominiums, transient vacation rentals and bed and breakfasts add diversity to our islands’ mix of visitor accommodations appealing to a wide range of visitor types from business travelers to family vacationers and repeat guests.
It is important that these types of businesses support the costs associated with hosting our visitors through real property, general excise and transient accommodation taxes. In addition, these businesses should continue to be regulated to ensure that they all abide and adhere to all Federal, State and County laws necessary to legally operate a business.
The Maui Hotel & Lodging Association agrees there is a place for diversified accommodations in Maui County, that’s what makes Maui so special!
The Maui Hotel & Lodging Association believes that all businesses operating in the “transient rental business” should be regulated, assessed and taxed equitably to insure a level playing field.
This is a very fair and balanced position which we believe is the only way to make the visitor accommodation market fair.
We can all agree that tourism is our major economic engine and with that comes the diversity of accommodations available that will only continue to grow.
TRAFFIC & INFRASTRUCTURE
As Maui County’s infrastructure needs have evolved over time, the Maui Hotel & Lodging Association believes that our infrastructure planning and development must address our communities’ traffic-related needs on both a short and long-term basis. The hospitality industry employs thousands of residents. Many do not have stereotypical “9-to-5” work hours. Some have more than one job, and others may work on staggered shifts. They may need to travel between home, school and more than one work site on a daily basis.
Therefore, we support continued improvement of our infrastructure systems through thoughtful and progressive managed growth, using multiple means to address traffic-related concerns and ensure our roadways are safe and efficient.
We support efforts that reduce unnecessary delays and improve smooth traffic flow, such as contra-flow lanes and effective timing of traffic lights. We encourage greater public transportation options that can accommodate our employees’ diverse schedules. We believe long-range planning by the Hawaii State Department of Transportation is necessary.
Our industry continues to be concerned about the frequency with which Maui’s west side community is cut off from the rest of the island when the Pali Highway is closed due to an accident. We support continued efforts to address this situation.