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Hawaii's famous beach community wants tourists to stay away

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Hawaii's famous beach community wants tourists to stay away
Kailua, Oahu, Hawaii - officials want tourists to avoid this beach community

Sep 10, 2013

Kailua is known for beautiful beaches, local boutiques, and a peaceful alternative to Waikiki. It's the vacation spot the first family Obama enjoyed every year for Christmas. Australia tourism promoted Kailua some years ago and made it their own in a photo advertisement, but when it comes to the Kailua Neighborhood Board tourism is not welcome to the white sandy powder beaches of Kailua. Kailua is located on the Island of Oahu, Hawaii and a 30 minute drive from Waikiki. Kailua residents want the Hawaii Tourism Authority to stop posting content on their promotional material and website.

Tourism is the largest revenue source for the State of Hawaii and obviously also for member of the same Neighborhood Board.

A local TV report about Jeanette Martz, who has been running a bed and breakfast out of her Kailua home since 1987.

Papaya Paradise, as she calls it, offers two rooms and baths, plus a mini kitchen and is licensed to operate.

“Selection of cereals, because we’re not supposed to cook. Thank goodness,” Martz said.

She has about 100 guests a year and pays the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau $300 in membership fees, which includes posting her business on their website.

But that could change.
Martz thinks Kailua is a beach community and should be enjoyed by everbody.

The Kailua Neighborhood Board disagrees. Last week, they voted unanimously in favor of a resolution telling the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) to stop promoting Kailua as a tourist destination and alternative to Waikiki.

“Kailua is one and North Shore is others. We’re not tourist destinations, we’re residential neighborhoods and trying to keep them as such,” Kailua Neighborhood Board Chair Chuck Prentiss said.

Prentiss says the HTA’s website is the problem with posts listing Kailua B&B’s and vacation rentals. He says it makes it harder for the city to phase out and enforce illegal operations.

“If you had three to four that would be fine, but with a proliferation of them and that’s what happened,” Prentiss said.

As of last year, there were 23 known B&Bs in the Windward area and another 60 vacation rentals, which went up 40 percent from 2011.

HTA says a ban is not the answer, but finding a balance is.

“It’s very difficult to say no visitors in any community. We all have to figure out how to work together and find the balance for the greater good of all Hawaii,” HTA President and CEO Mike McCartney said.

The Kailua Neighborhood Board also sent a letter to the mayor, governor, and local lawmakers.



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