Hawai'i Is Proposing a $50 Green Fee Tourist Tax, Here's What to Know

The proposal is closer than ever to being approved.

You may have heard about what overtourism is doing to the ecosystem and communities of Hawai'i. In short, the non-stop destruction caused by too many people visiting, companies putting profit over conservation, and a long and brutal history of colonialism have led to a multi-pronged crisis on the islands. It is an ongoing issue that has many responses—some Hawaiians are calling for tourists to stop coming to the island all together, while some tourists are carrying on as usual.

According to The Points Guy, a legal proposal charging visitors a yearly $50 fee to enter the state's parks, beaches, hiking trails, and forests is making its way through the Hawaii state legislature. The money from the fees could generate funding to conserve the spaces most impacted by overtourism.

"We saw so clearly the impacts of 10 million annual visitors on our islands that in addition to my proposal, there are several being discussed at the legislature," Governor Josh Green told The Points Guy. "The bottom line is that we need to generate as much revenue as we can from travelers, to help mitigate those impacts."

The organizers behind Hawai'i Green Fee are hoping to "build visitor stewardship, conserve our cultural and natural resources, and invest in our ʻāina with a visitor green fee." The word ʻāina is Hawaiian for land, which organizers say is what is at stake without immediate action. "Our window to take meaningful conservation and climate action is closing, especially in island regions like Hawai'i. Help us pass a visitor green fee program to safeguard our home for future generations," the Green Fee website states.

The $50 fee could generate as much as $600 million each year, and that funding could directly support the ecosystems devastated by overtourism. While the proposal has not officially been passed, it has received a lot of support from advocates, government officials, and even members of the Hawai'i Tourism Board.

You can learn more about the Hawai’i Green Fee and how you can support the effort at HawaiiGreenFee.org.

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Opheli Garcia Lawler is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @opheligarcia and Instagram @opheligarcia.