HTA takes issue with jump in accommodation tax

The Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) has taken a stand against a proposed increase to Hawaii’s transient accommodation tax (TAT) beyond the current 9.25%. An increase to the TAT would negatively affect Hawaii’s competitive position in the marketplace by putting an additional tax on visitors, says the HTA. “This could cause us to lose momentum in the significant gains in visitor arrivals and spending experienced over the past three years,”said Mike McCartney, president of the HTA. “We need to ensure the continued success of our industry for the state’s economy to be sustainable.”As a leisure destination, Hawaii visitor spending is discretionary, and is thus price-sensitive, said the HTA. “Any increase could drive a traveller to a competing destination. An increase to the TAT will only diminish Hawaii’s ability to compete in a price-sensitive market,”said McCartney. The alternative is to invest in opportunities to maintain market share, and to diversify Hawaii’s tourism profile in the leisure and meetings, conventions and incentive (MCI) markets, in both established and emerging major market areas. (