Expensive Hawaii hotel stays could soon cost even more
HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii visitors already pay the highest rate in the nation for a hotel room, according to a recent report.
That rate could soon increase after state lawmakers passed a bill that could apply transient accommodations tax to virtually any lodging business transaction, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported .
Visitors paid an average of nearly $293 per night to stay in a Hawaii hotel through March of this year, the most in the country, according to a Hawaii Hotel Performance Report released last month by the Hawaii Tourism Authority.
Based on that figure, they also paid roughly $30.45 a night for the transient accommodations tax, currently 10.25 percent of the room charge.
The transient accommodation tax historically has been levied solely on hotel, resort and timeshare industry rooms. It hasn’t applied to daily resort fees, which might include a variety of bundled offerings from fitness center use to bottled water, Wi-Fi, phone calls and the like.
If the bill becomes law, hotel, resort and timeshare visitors would automatically pay at least another $2 to $8 per night to cover transient accommodations tax on resort fees and parking alone, according to a study conducted last month by Travel Hawaii. Factor in conference events and wedding banquets, and costs could quickly add up.
Supporters say the bill would beef up resources by adding a minimum of $11 million in revenue to the state budget.
Eric Gill, secretary-treasurer for Unite Here Local 5, which represents about 12,000 union members, said the union does not support the final version of the bill because it believes it could have unintended consequences.
“Nickel-and-diming undermines guest satisfaction,” Gill said. “It affects tipping, and it could impact banquet bookings and other business.”
Gov. David Ige has until June 25 to veto the bill.
Bill opponents are circulating a petition, which already has 1,750 signatures, to present to Ige, Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association President and CEO Mufi Hannemann said.
Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com