A logical way to recovery

Great editorial that was published in The Maui News, Feburary 3, 2011 edition.

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A logical way to recovery

You know there are some folks on Maui who simply don’t like the visitor industry.

When new Maui County Council Member Mike White suggested last week that the county should increase its commitment to the Maui Visitors Bureau to give it more marketing dollars, the opposition was loud and fast.

That’s something we simply don’t understand. While we think it is improbable the council as a whole is going to give MVB more money in this economic climate, it makes sense.

Tourism is the only part of our economy that is in a strong rebound. Its strength is eventually going to drag the rest of the economy back up.

To put it bluntly: If you are investing money, try to invest it in a winner. Our visitor industry is roaring back and – for the sake of the rest of the economy – we need to make sure it keeps roaring. More jobs in the resorts, restaurants and activity sectors will spur demand for retail goods and eventually help construction.

As we wrote here last week, the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization described Hawaii’s rebound as a “Two-Speed Recovery” – strong in the visitor industry, lagging everywhere else. But even the strength in tourism is not that old – 2010 was good, but 2009 was a disaster.

We would compare it with starting a fire with flint – 2010 provided those first sparks. Now we need to fan that fire to make sure it grows and doesn’t go out.

We’re certain that’s the way White feels about it, too. As a veteran of the visitor industry, he knows how fragile this recovery could be. And how severe the worldwide competition for tourist dollars is.

So please, folks, don’t accuse White of a conflict of interest. Instead, let’s give him credit for his experience.

His ideas are not self-serving – they look like a logical way to grow our entire economy.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.

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