Dave Hakes' – Maui Life

"I must do something!" will always solve more problems than "Something must be done"

How important is tourism to Maui?

Posted by delta on May 13th, 2020

How important is the tourist to the Maui economy?  Well, let’s think about the numbers for a moment…

When the tourist get here, they get their 

  1. rental car and go to
  2. Costco. They then stop by that
  3. restaurant they heard about (or fell in love with last time) and then on to their
  4. hotel/BnB. After unpacking, they go take a nap and then to the beach. On the way to, or on their way back from, the beach they stop for supplies and gas at the local
  5. mini-mart and after the beach they go to
  6. another restaurant. They also, if it’s their first time and want to see the island, most likely
  7. bike down the volcano, do a
  8. helicopter tour,
  9. hang in Hana for a day,
  10. hang in Paia for a day,
  11. hang on the West Side for a day,
  12. hang on the South Side for a day.

On a five day stay, (#3), (#4), (#5) and (#6) would happen at least once a day. This would be approximately 30 “Points of Contact” in which the vacationer buys something – which allows the business owners to pay their employees as well as their taxes to the state and federal government…  Going off on a slight tangent – try “Contact Tracing” the above…

Maui Vacation for four would probably cost $5000 if they were really watching their budget, but more likely it would cost $10,000 or more…  If we had just 5,000 families (20,000 people) visiting, that would be between 5 and 10 million dollars a day to our economy…

Now, let’s talk about the support workers.  I’ll choose the Grand Wailea because it has about 1,500 employees and contractors and it would (all by itself) cause the biggest hit to our economy here on Maui.

Who supports the support workers?

  1. gas station
  2. mechanic
  3. morning coffee
  4. lunch cafe
  5. dinner stop
  6. gym
  7. mini-mart
  8. FOOD shopping
  9. HOME shopping
  10. entertainment – concerts/movies

That’s 1,500 people who have their 10 favorite places/folks for the services above.  That doesn’t count the plumbers, carpet cleaners, carpenters, etc…  So, just the 1,500 folks who support the vacationer at the Grand Wailea support 15,000 people.  There’s no doubt that we all go to Starbucks, Safeway, Costco, Foodland, Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart and Target (that will create a small discrepancy with the numbers)…

That’s just one hotel.  On the South Side we have the Kea Lani, Four Season, Grand Wailea, Andaz and Marriott.  On the West Side we have the Hyatt, Westin, Ka`anapali Beach Hotel, Sheraton and Ritz…  Between these 10 hotels there are approximately 10,000 support personnel which are directly supported by another 100,000 folks…  That’s it, that’s the ballgame – our entire Maui island population (minus about 10,000-15,000 people) is here to support tourism…

Now, imagine that there are no tourists and the hotels are closed.  Not only are we not receiving the money from the tourists, but there is no money for the support staff to spend on any of the folks who support them…  Imagine that for one moment…

Why doesn’t the governor see this?  For one, he doesn’t care – he’s made it perfectly clear that he doesn’t care about our economy here on Maui.  More importantly, the island he lives on is supported by the military – these 50,000 men and women receive their checks on time every two weeks (as they should)…  The support staff for the vacationers are taking a dive, but he still has folks on his island who can support basic business openings here and there throughout the island he lives on – if Oahu opens up without tourists, about 60% of the businesses can be supported by those receiving paychecks on the island…

Now, even if he had suddenly realize what he has done to our economy and tells Maui it can open up everything (including tourism), it doesn’t matter at this point.  The small business owner who is still in business after all of this doesn’t want to open because they can not support a staff if they have no business…

Think about what a tourists would have to go through on their “dream vacation”…

1st – due to the 14 day quarantine, they would have to ask for 19 days off of work just to get their 5 days in the sun (risking their job)…

2nd – they would have to brave the trip here under the “New Normal” Guidelines – airports, planes, etc

3rd – they would have to get a rental car that doesn’t look like a rental cause the locals would trash their car if they saw it

4th – they would have to be tracked and risk jail if they broke the quarantine

5th – after their 14 days of quarantine they would find very few things open

6th – of the few places they find open, they would have to deal with the “new normal” of masks, social distancing and the locals not wanting them here – the Spirit of Aloha is out the window at the moment

After a few tourists posted their Maui Adventure on Facebook and Twitter there would be a sudden mass cancellations of “dream vacations” – oh yeah, it’ll spread like wildfire…

Where does that leave us?  It leaves us here – exactly where we are – our main source of income on this island is gone.  We have to figure out another way of living.  The mayor keeps alluding to Maui going back to being an Agrarian Society – I, for one, think that’s a great idea but not too many folks here on the island could live that way.  I know they think they could, but I don’t think they truly understand the scope of it…  I don’t think they truly understand how they would be living in ten years or what that would look like…  It would be work, both mentally and physically – and I’m not sure the folks who are here at the moment are the folks for the job – prove me wrong – please prove me wrong…

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