Massive Price Increase For Popular Hawaiian Attraction

by SharonKurheg

If you’ve ever visited Honolulu, you may have gone to Hanauma Bay. A marine embayment formed within a volcanic cone, and located along the southeast coast of the Island of Oʻahu, it’s been popular for decades with travelers and locals and alike. The nature preserve was declared a protected marine life conservation area and underwater park in the mid-1960s. The area was also voted Best Beach in the U.S. in 2016.

Home to hundreds of tropical fish and marine life, Hanauma Bay offers excellent snorkeling experiences for beginners and experts of all ages. Prior to COVID,  entry rates had been $7.50 for adults, however locals with a State ID, active military and kids under 12 were admitted for free.

Of course, the park had been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic and when it reopened in December 2020, its water was 64% clearer than before the shutdown. So they did a few things:

  • They initially limited entry to 720 people per day. That has since increased to 1,600 per day (they use a reservation system). Of course, both numbers are post-pandemic/social distance related, as well. But attendance had been about 3,000 per day in 2019, and with fewer people in the bay, it will protect its fragile ecosystem from the damages people do to it.
  • They increased prices from $7.50 to $12 for non-residents

Of course, less people entering the area means less revenue. So the City Council has decided that pricing for visitors will now increase again – from $12 to $25, or by roughly 110%. Locals with State ID, active military and kids under 12  will still enter for free.

The new pricing went into effect on July 1, 2021.

The city says the additional funding will go toward improving and managing resources at Hanauma Bay.

“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,” said Budget and Fiscal Services director Andy Kawano. “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.”

“All the money that’s made from the entrance fees goes back into the maintenance, the education, the conservation efforts. So we need to maintain that source of funding in order to keep it the thriving attraction, not just for recreational enjoyment, but for conservation and to make it such a beautiful place in perpetuity,” Department of Parks and Recreation spokesman Nate Serota said.

Parking rates will remain the same, at $1 for residents and $3 for non-locals.

H/T: Hawaii News Now

Feature Photo: Cristo Vlahos/ Wikimedia

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

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