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With summer only just begun and visitor arrivals on Maui already at pre-pandemic levels, the volume of vacation-hungry tourists descending upon the island threatens to overwhelm it.

With residents already disgruntled and calling for relief from the onslaught of overeager tourists, Maui’s Mayor Michael Victorino is appealing to airlines to reduce passenger capacity and bring fewer folks to the island.

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The county disclosed in a news release that Victorino, “recently met with airline executives to determine their willingness to voluntarily reduce airlift into Kahului Airport,” which is currently operating over capacity. The mayor has also met with state airport officials to come up with ways to mitigate overcrowding and gate congestion at Kahului Airport according to WBRC.

Hawaii News Now reported that around 7,500 of Hawaii’s 34,000 daily arrivals are landing at Maui’s airports—just shy of 2019’s record volumes of about 7,700—with 91 percent of those travelers coming from the U.S. mainland.

“The people of Maui County have lacked sufficient time to prepare for the sudden, large influx of tourism, even as health restrictions remain in place,” said mayoral spokesperson Brian Perry. “Many of our hospitality-related businesses are still struggling to fully staff their operations to provide a high quality of customer service.”

Perry also hinted toward the overzealous and inconsiderate behavior that many tourists are displaying in their post-COVID vacation fervor. While Maui welcomes visitors, he said, “we ask them to temper their enthusiasm for our island with respect, courtesy and aloha.”

Maui County Councilmember Kelly King voiced her support for the mayor’s efforts. “There are so many people, so many cars on the road that people are parking along the road to Hana Highway and are blocking what could be what might be an emergency access,” she said. “Just going to the beach parks is a huge issue for locals. It’s really affecting the quality of life for our residents.”

Mayor’s Office staff members have been deployed requesting the assistance of local hotel and car rental managers to enlighten customers about the need to treat Maui’s people and places with consideration and respect.

“This is a complex problem that requires many solutions. Solving it will require a new mindset and willingness to try new ideas. This is much bigger than passing new laws or assigning more police,” Victorino opined. “Maui County needs the cooperation of the business sector, our community leaders and the visitors themselves. We must change the mindset and lack of courtesy that creates these situations in the first place.”

A mayoral spokesperson said Victorino will reveal more about his plans for tempering the influx of tourists during a news conference Tuesday.





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