How do Hawaii Travelers View Other Visitors and Residents

Some of your comments give us ideas for posts. Like today’s from Rich in England who has been a loyal follower for years. In the past, earlier we wrote about the feelings between Hawaii visitors and residents, which yielded nearly 500 of your comments. Rich is suggesting we take that a step further and look at how visitors see other visitors.

That got us thinking about our own travels too. When your editors travel internationally, we do so independently so as to get to know people and cultures better. Just like we did exactly a year ago when we drove throughout South Africa and Namibia. And that’s a whole different story, and perhaps another website. In any event, years ago we tried a “one and only” bus tour. It was in Thailand. That lasted only a few days. Then Jeff unceremoniously announced to a flabbergasted tour leader that both of us were renting a car and leaving the tour. Once we did that, we got to be closer to people living there, and have a far more authentic experience.

Rich, who is from England, has, since 2014, been a part of Beat of Hawaii’s community and commenting. He said today,

“What do visitors think about other visitors perhaps is a good question. When I see ignorant people disrespecting the culture and not following requests and instructions I do not think much of my fellow visitors (for although I am a regular repeat visitor (4-5 times a year for almost 30 years) I class myself as a visitor. I find there is an inverse correlation between belonging to and being welcoming.” He went on to suggest that long time visitors (Kamaaina) to whom visitors show respect are very welcoming where newcomers to Hawaii (Malahini) “tend not to be and what to tell everyone else what to do.”

So how do you see other visitors in Hawaii and their behavior when you travel here? We came up with a shortlist of questions we’ll ask to get the discussion going.

1). You arrive at a popular destination like Queen’s Bath on Kauai or Haiku Stairs on Oahu and see the trail is closed (Haiku has been closed for decades). Do you respect the sign and look for another trail to hike, or decide to hike the closed trail because other visitors are doing it.

2). You see a visitor talking down to someone working in the service industry. Now what?

3). You hear a visitor complaining because it works differently in Hawaii than it does on the mainland. (And oh boy is that the truth). They offer advice on how it should be done. Does that make you feel uncomfortable or do you see it as helpful?

4). Enter social media. Someone is standing on rocks during high surf to get a photo and not respecting the ocean. Would you do the same?

5). Parking permits and limited access to beaches. One example is Kee Beach on Kauai. Do you see that as protecting Hawaii or a problem?

6). Are you a visitor who thinks Hawaii is all about the beach or are you a visitor wanting to tap into Hawaii culture?

We look forward to your added thoughts and questions?

74 thoughts on “How do Hawaii Travelers View Other Visitors and Residents”

  1. I am literally shaking my head…who raised these people?!? I would no sooner be rude to the guy behind the counter at my local convenience store, let alone anyone I come into contact with while on vacation. Been to several islands in 5 different trips over the years, and never once felt unwelcome. And I have seen people exhibit rude behavior to others in restaurants and grocery stores where I live. I think it’s not necessarily unique to the islands, but maybe just a sign of an entitled generation who should have been raised with more manners and taught to respect others.
    I just recently found Beat of Hawaii, and I thoroughly enjoy the read! Thanks for your insights! Mahalo!

  2. Some of the questions above made me smile.
    “Someone is standing on rocks during high surf to get a photo and not respecting the ocean.”
    The ocean (actually, the surf) will solve that problem very easily. Not to worry.
    “Are you a visitor who thinks Hawaii is all about the beach or are you a visitor wanting to tap into Hawaii culture?”
    If you go to HI to surf, and surf with locals, and hang with them, isn’t that Hawaiian culture? It sure is as far as they are concerned. If you mean history, there are a lot of very good books. And of course one can study the language if that’s an objective.

  3. I was born and raised in hawaii. But unfortunately had to move. I came back to visit after 10 years… and wow has waikiki changed. My visit wasn’t long but I did ran into some quite privileged tourist. They scream and yell at the locals, being rude, and just had a nasty attitude. I was upset. It literally ruined my whole trip. I just wish, if you are planning to visit hawaii… be kind. Hawaii is a place for aloha (love). Learn the culture. Talk to the locals kindly and please stop yelling at them. They have it rough as it is. Its a place to enjoy your vacation, no time for rudeness. Mahalo.

    1. I have spent several months a year, for 12 years, mostly in Waikiki area. That ended with COVID. Never once heard anyone yelling at a local (heard locals yelling at kooks in the water, though). Maybe the hard-core tourist traps and really upscale hotels are different, but never went there so I can’t say.

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