Recently there have been comments on our site from visitors who say they do not feel welcome in Hawaii. TJ from Arizona, who has followed Beat of Hawaii for 5 years and had multiple trips here asked, “are visitors really hated by most locals? Are the majority of visitors as horrible and rude as I’m reading on Facebook? There were so many locals making so many claims of how much they hate visitors.”
We want to open that topic today. And create dialogue between visitors and those living here. In doing so, we ask that all comments be respectful.
In today’s post, there are also two short videos. One targeted to those who live in Hawaii and the other for those who visit. We actually suggest that everyone watch both videos. Then read our post and add your comments about how you are feeling.
HTA Video Creates Local Awareness of Taking Care of Visitors.
The fact that HTA felt it was needed, spoke to issues in the air with at least some of the local population. The campaign was called, “Take Care of Tourism. It’s A Family Business.” It’s a good reminder to everyone here. Watch and see if you agree.
During Normal Tourism, There are about 10 Visitors to Each Local.
Face it, that’s a lot. With peak tourism comes traffic and crowding. Last year, Hawaii welcomed over 10 million visitors in relation to our total population of 1.4 million. There’s no doubt about it, tourism is far and away the biggest economic driver of Hawaii. Right now, Hawaii is sorely hurting without its visitors. Tourism touches all of us who live here in Hawaii.
How Do Locals Feel?
A study conducted in 2014 and released in March 2015, shows there hasn’t been a dramatic shift in how locals feel about Hawaii tourism. Asked to rate their overall perception of the state’s tourism industry, about 1,600 Hawaii residents surveyed generated an average ranking of 8 on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being extremely favorable.
During this health crisis, however, visitors were asked to leave or not come at all. This mostly due to our limited resources which is further impacted by our island location in the middle of the Pacific.
TJ from Arizona also said, “I am very saddened by the negativity of the local people’s comments. I even saw a picture of a foot with an ankle bracelet on it. A local was highly suggesting that the state put ankle bracelets on all of us visitors so they know where we are.”
Again, a misunderstanding. We don’t want you tagged. But during this health scare, we needed visitors identified and isolated for 14 days to protect the community.
Are tourists well behaved? And are locals well behaved to tourists?
Coming to Hawaii is not like driving between states on the mainland where you can have a quick getaway by car. When people come to Hawaii, most stay a week or longer because of the expense to get here and the time it takes to do so. That means a greater impact on resources.
Hawaiian culture and our local ways are very important to all of us here, and we love it when visitors are interested in knowing more and show respect. That is most of you, we know. But not always and that can cause conflicts.
For example, when Kauai reopened the road between Hanalei and Kee Beach by permit, it caused untold upset from visitors who felt they should be able to drive and park anytime they wanted. What Kauai was trying to do was preserve the environment for the future and the land that is so precious to us. So issues like this create problems and misunderstandings at times.
Another example of culture and tourism not being in sync can be found in the ocean and on our beaches. We’re thinking of monk seals and turtles who need to rest on the sand and not be interrupted. We have many ties seen people get too close for photos and not respect boundaries which are there to protect these important creatures in life and mythology.
So respect is important and it goes both ways. Locals need to respect tourists who have made a choice to spent their hard earned money to be here and who add important dollars to our economy. Tourists must respect both Hawaiian culture and our local ways of life. When both happen, the Hawaiian rainbow shines brightly.
Time to Comment!
We want to hear from you. Remember to be respectful. How are you feeling about Hawaii now if you are a visitor? If you live in the islands, how has the loss of tourism impacted you?