Kailua Tourists, 'Stay Away' Say Locals Upset Over 'Obama Effect' on Local Beach Town

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By Myles Collier , Christian Post Contributor
November 18, 2013|9:14 am

A small resort town in Hawaii is getting fed up with what residents say is an overflow of tourists eager to visit one of President Obama's favorite destinations.

Referred to as the "Obama effect" tourists have flocked to the pristine white sand beaches that the president and his family have visited every year since he was elected in 2008. The First family stays at a $25,000-a-week rental in Kailua on the island of Oahu.

Such exposure means new businesses are popping to meet the demand of tourists but that new notoriety has caused real estate prices to soar pricing some locals out of their native home. The increased exposure is also being blamed for changing a close nit community.

"It doesn't feel like a neighborhood when you don't know the people there," Kailua Neighborhood Board member Lisa Marten told the Associated Press. "If there's any sort of safety issue, there's no one to ask for help because you don't know them."

Some say the increased demand leads to corners being cut and the possibility of safety and zoning infractions.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority estimates that there are around 500 rentals for overnight stays in Kailua but only 65 have permits, reported MNN.com.

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Still others like Ikaika Anderson, who represents Kailua in the Honolulu City Council, told MNN that the neighborhood board's recent complaints do not necessarily mean that locals do not want the tourists to visit.

"It's a signal to those folks who do not live in Kailua that Kailua residents do not welcome them," Anderson said.

Those looking at the financial impact of the increased tourism insist that while there may be negatives associated with larger crowds it is still important to help a struggling local economy.

"Everybody wants to go. Not everyone wants to stay in a hotel," she said. "It's a little too late to keep Hawaii in a box," Angie Larson, a board member with the Hawaii Vacation Rental Owners Association, told AP.

 

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