A measure to again increase the price of admission for tourists at Hanauma Bay State Park is advancing at Honolulu Hale. This is the second time in less than a year the City Council is discussing an increase to the nonresident fee at the nature preserve.
Last year, former Mayor Kirk Caldwell approved increasing the entrance fee for out-of-state visitors from $7.50 to $12. At a special meeting Tuesday, the Council’s budget committee discussed raising the fee from $12 to $25.
Fewer than 1,000 people visit Hanauma Bay a day, causing a significant revenue shortfall for the preserve, Budget and Fiscal Services director Andy Kawano said.
"We have deferred maintenance that we have to address at the park. We have operating expenses that exceed the current revenue levels that we generate," Kawano said. "Thus, we feel that it’s very important that we, in this case, increase rates that out-of-state visitors, enjoying the park, will subsidize – or pay for."
"We also understand that the park is very delicate, and we probably will have to do capacity studies in the future to ensure that we preserve the beauty of Hanauma Bay – which is, you know, one of our top attractions in the state," he added.
Kawano says the revenues from the fee increase will go into a special fund, solely to be used for the park.