Hawaii & Alaska
Chelsea Jensen / West Hawaii Today

HI - Too many tourists? Inaba wants to cut tourism promotion

Should the county continue pumping money into tourism promotion when tourists seem to come here anyway?

Should the county continue pumping money into tourism promotion when tourists seem to come here anyway?

That was a topic the County Council tackled Thursday as it looked for loose change in a tight $609.1 million budget.

North Kona Councilman Holeka Inaba, concerned that other areas of the budget, including council contingency funds, were being neglected, proposed taking $359,000 from the Department of Research and Development’s $459,000 line item for tourism promotion contract services to put it where he thought it was needed more.

“I feel that this money could be better used elsewhere,” Inaba said. “We have goals that state that tourism is compatible with historic and natural resources. That it’s not intrusive on our local communities, that it helps to strengthen private, public and international partnerships and makes us a resilient community. And I don’t believe that to be true, as we’ve seen over the last year. With tourism gone, we were in the hole.”

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