Hawaii likely to introduce ‘paradise passport’, charge tourists for visiting top sites

 Monday, February 6, 2023 


With an eye on sustainable tourism, Hawaii is mulling to charge tourists for visiting the island state’s top destinations. To this end, Hawaii Governor Josh Green introduced a series of bills that would implement a “paradise passport”.

The new legislation would call for travelers who are 16 years and older to buy a one-year “environmental license” to visit state recreational sites for $50. The money would be used to “deal with impacts of climate change” and “mitigate the impact of the visitors” on the state’s top attractions.

During a campaign stop Governor Green said that he supported a bill that would propose a $50 fee on every incoming traveler who visited “a state-owned park, beach, forest, trail, or other recreational natural areas.”

The original proposal was broader and would have applied to all travelers, not just those visiting top destinations. But the administration was forced to make the changes owing to backlash from stakeholders in the travel industry.

Supporting the move, Hawaii Lodging and Visitor Association’s Mufi Hannemann said the updated proposal is fairer to travelers who aren’t in the state to visit tourism hotspots. Hannemann also said the industry supports using the money to address the impact of visitors on the natural areas.

“I’m very pleased that he’s moved off a blanket green fee,” Hannemann told KHON2. “This is a benefit, not just for visitors, but residents will also see that they’ll be able to benefit from these areas.”

Hawaii State Senate President Ron Kouchi said enforcing the paradise passport requirements would be a challenge.

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