Oahu (including the most populous city of Honolulu) is a major tourist destination for the State of Hawaii. People choose to visit Hawaii for its vibrant culture, often choosing to stay in vacation rental homes for a uniquely authentic experience. These short-term rentals — like those available through Vrbo — are supporting local residents, businesses, and the Oahu economy.
Recently the University of Hawaii’s Economic Research Organization released a report warning that Hawaii’s economy is at a standstill and faces serious headwinds due in part to the uncertainty created by Oahu’s overly punitive short-term rental regulations.
The city is attempting to collect its first fines for violations of a new law banning online advertising of illegal short-term rentals, which in just two months has more than doubled the city’s enforcement record from last year.
Oahu might suffer a 4% drop in tourism because of a new law to toughen restrictions on short-term vacation rentals. The expected decline could cost the island more than $30 million per month in direct spending based on state tourism data.
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In Oahu, short-term rental guests generated $564 million in household income for Hawaii property and business owners.
Vacation rentals garnered $192 million in tax revenue for the state, supporting critical public services.
On average, Oahu vacation rental visitors spend $237 million on dining, $98 million on entertainment, $168 million on retail shopping, and $119 million on transportation services.
"Prior to Vrbo's organizational efforts, the short term rental industry was fragmented, disorganized, and ineffective in voicing its interests. Since becoming involved with OSTRA, my concerns have been addressed and I now understand the path we must follow to protect the short term rental industry on Oahu"
"I have been a vacation rental owner and manager here in Oahu for 44 years. My job has recently been threatened by the local governments attempt to kill the vacation rental industry. The proposed changes would wipe-out many of our businesses and livelihoods, and increase the homeless and depress the second home market and overall economy. Vrbo's willingness to step into the fray and help organize and focus hundreds and thousands of independent owners and managers has been incredible. It has built confidence and allowed many of us to come out of the shadows and advocate for our industry."
"Before Vrbo started to engage with Oahu Councilmen and Hawaii State Legislators the vacation rental industry was under constant threat. Now, we feel we have a real voice at the table. Vrbo and their local representatives have given us the information, tools, and organization we need to fight back against unfair laws. We are, confidently, able to work with governmental agencies for positive changes for our industry. Hosting makes us more secure about our future and our valuable impact on the local economy."