Hawaii Governor Talks Tourism in State of the State Address

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie stood before the state legislature and delivered his State of the State address yesterday, discussing the importance tourism plays in the islands' economy.

"We need to ensure that our visitor industry is sustainable by bringing the impact fees paid by the increasing number of timeshare occupants into alignment with hotel room occupants who pay the transient accommodations tax," Abercrombie said.

"I will also reallocate funds from the Hawaii Tourism Authority to basic government services such as environmental protection, improvements to public facilities, and advancing culture and the arts. The amount we are spending in the name of marketing Hawaii has grown disproportionate to the amount we need to spend on Hawaii's own infrastructure, social as well as physical. We need to reprioritize and reinvest in our Hawaii—in the things that make our islands unique."

According to the Hawaii Star-Advertiser, hospitality industry executives said Hawaii's economic recovery could backslide if the state raises taxes on tourists or diverts tourism marketing dollars to other programs.