Skift Take

A proliferation of Hawaii short-term rentals, which are exacerbating an already expensive and tight housing market, is sparking heavy debate in a state where tourism is the main economic driver. While such accommodations are needed to handle rising visitor numbers, some say it's time to get them under control and look at the consequences of unchecked tourism growth.

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Like other popular travel destinations where housing is expensive and in short supply, Hawaii is reeling from the effects of a proliferation of short-term vacation rentals. The situation is especially acute on the densely populated island of Oahu, where thousands of short-term rentals lacking the required county-issued permits have sprung up in once-quiet residential neighborhoods. Two measures are currently before the Honolulu City Council to impose greater controls, especially on non-owner-occupied home rentals.

Those who favor tougher regulation say the situation is not only disturbing the peace, but squeezing locals out of the housing market and even forcing some to move out of Hawaii altogether. The opposition, including Airbnb, maintain that the state’s tourism economy would be the loser if short-term rentals are truncated during a time when visitor numbers are rising and hotel growth is almost stagnant.

As the president of Hawaii’s ASTA chapter points out, it truly is a catch-22 situation, raising questions of how to balance the interests of all concerned.

For more coverage of pertinent issues, click here.

Any suggestions for the coverage you would like to see are welcome. Feel free to contact me at [email protected].

— Maria Lenhart, Travel Advisor Editor

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Skift Travel Advisor Editor Maria Lenhart [[email protected]] curates the Skift Travel Advisor Innovation Report. Skift emails the newsletter every Tuesday. Have a story idea? Or a juicy news tip? Want to share a memo? Send her an email.


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Tags: hawaii, qantas, travel advisor innovation report, travel agents

Photo credit: Pictured is a Honolulu home. Opponents of short-term rentals are looking for city council regulations to limit their growth. Baldeaglebluff / Flickr

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