Hawaii Town: No More Tourists, Please

Kailua tired of being overrun with vacationers

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 14, 2013 2:03 PM CST

(Newser) – Kailua has beautiful white sand beaches, charming bed-and-breakfasts, and is nice enough to be President Obama's chosen Christmas vacation spot each year. But the Hawaiian town would like you to stay away. The neighborhood board of the Honolulu suburb is requesting that a state tourism agency stop pushing it as a vacation destination, the AP reports. The problem: Kailua has so many vacation rentals that residents are complaining. "It doesn't feel like a neighborhood when you don't know the people" living next-door, one board member says. (Plus, the thriving vacation industry has inflated housing costs beyond the reach of many locals.)

The board member recalls one group of young renters who did "drugs from morning til night." She could smell their marijuana smoke and hear their cussing, and they refused to "take it inside and be discreet," she says. There are an estimated 500 vacation rentals in the town, most of them illegal, as only a few dozen of them actually have permits. Yet the state tourism agency's website suggests that "a Kailua vacation rental can be the perfect solution" for travelers. That's why the neighborhood board decided, via resolution, to officially make its request. But not everyone agrees: A Honolulu City Council member says the resolution is "an embarrassment" and makes Kailua seem unwelcoming.

Lanikai Beach in Kailua, Hawaii.
Lanikai Beach in Kailua, Hawaii.   (AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy)
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