You might need to pay for beach parking in Kauai soon. Here’s why

Jun 29, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Even with the cumbersome entry restrictions Hawaii has had in place during the pandemic, tourists have been rushing back there since the spring.

Once a less-traveled, aspirational bucket list location, Hawaii has seen problems with overtourism for years. Beaches are once again packed with visitors, and Kauai is considering charging them to park there as a way to ensure that there’s still room for locals.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Sunset at Tunnels Beach on the north shore of Kauai, Hawaii. (Photo by wingmar/Getty Images)

According to the Associated Press, Kauai has earmarked $30,000 in county coronavirus relief funds to conduct parking studies at three of the island’s popular beaches: Poipu, Lydgate and Hanalei’s Black Pot.

The AP also reports that the studies would determine an appropriate amount to charge, but the Kauai County Council would then have to vote on whether to impose the fees.

Plumeria flowers in Kauai, Hawaii. (Photo by shorrocks/Getty Images)

“We all know the impacts our parks are facing with the surge of tourism,” Kauai Managing Director Michael Dahilig said. “This study will look at ways to better manage the parking situation of tourist vehicles while making it easier for residents to find parking at more-popular destinations.”

Each year, the Hawaii Tourism Authority conducts a Resident Sentiment Survey. Per the destination management action plan released by the HTA earlier this year, “The 2019 RSS report showed that resident sentiment had generally weakened compared to the previous year.”

Sunset in Hanalei, Hawaii. (Photo by M Swiet Productions/Getty Images)

The total number of people who traveled to the Hawaiian Islands reached 32,000 in a single day last week, the AP said. Although that might seem like a lot, the HTA said Kauai saw 1,370,029 visitors in 2019 (a daily average of about 3,750), meaning it’s not back to pre-pandemic levels just yet.

“Hawaii saw a record number of visitors in 2019, prior to the pandemic,” Caroline Anderson, director of community enrichment for the HTA, told The Points Guy. “…these [destination management action] plans are meant to rebuild tourism for the islands, including mitigating the impact.”

One of the goals of instituting parking fees that are separate from resort fees is to entice visitors to consider alternate forms of transportation, Anderson said. “This is in an effort to improve the visitor experience and reduce island traffic.”

However, given this summer’s car rental shortage, it might not take much convincing.

The HTA’s report also states, “In the first 10 months of 2020, visitor arrivals dropped 73.8 percent to 298,708 visitors. The average daily census was 8,367 visitors, a decline of 69.7 percent over the same period (in 2019). There were (also) significantly fewer air seats in the market year-over-year.”

Sunset over Kauai, Hawaii. (Photo by YinYang/Getty Images)

That changed this year when major airlines like United and Southwest increased the number of routes to the Aloha State.

The problems with over-tourism pre-date the pandemic with many locals unhappy with the number of tourists that can sometimes crowd the islands.

View from an excursion boat of Na Pali coast on the western side of the Hawaiian Island of Kauai, Hawaii. (Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images)

 

Featured photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.