428 thoughts on “Why Hawaii’s Repeat Visitors Aren’t Returning – Does Anyone Care?”

  1. My wife and I have been coming back to Hawaii for 24 years and we will not be able to return due to the very high cost and forcing a 90 day rental in the Kahala area .also the very high taxes. We love Hawaii but hopefully prices and taxes will go down for visitors

  2. I have been visiting
    Hawaii since the 70’s.
    I think this might possibly be the last year for me. It is just to expensive to even consider staying more than a week. Inflation, energy prices, food and fuel are out of sight for the average person Nd family.

  3. I am one of those repeat visitors to both Maui and the Big Island. Having traveled there many times over the past 15 years I have experienced all the good and all the bad of being a tourist there. I also own a home in a heavily touristed area of Oregon where on the weekend we can see the population swell from around 10k to over 35k just from tourist! What the feels like is terrible and while this usually only goes on for about 7-8 months out of the year I can only imagine how tiring year round tourist must be. That being said I hope the folks who are now in charge of developing some new future for tourism also have ideas about how to bring other work to the islands for the people who live there.

  4. To Alan M. You’re spot on with what you’ve said. Local Government can set limits on New Construction to slow the growth and also control blighted properties. Affordable Housing should be a small percentage of any new construction. Removing the Homeless that have invaded the State should be an immediate. Police should be enforcing the laws including littering and vagrant laws. States refuse to take actions like those that are needed and problems worsen with time.

  5. Oahu, and probably every Island of Hawaii, has become a haven for the indigent population of other States. Hawaii tried offering free tickets back, pretty much to no avail. This time they should check identification and establish residency requirements, sources of income, then give them the ticket and escort to the plane! These people are the Largest Sources of garbage, bad living conditions, Taxpayer’s Money Waste, Insults and Other Problems involving Tourists and More. Send them back to where they came with Nothing but a Tan to show for it!

  6. Prior to the Monorail System moving forward I remember the Hope and Hype that preceeded it. A Joint Business and Government Venture with most of the funding being private sector investments. Now the New Special Tax is enacted to help fund it. What happened along the way to make this a necessity? The HNL Tax will certainly effect Tourists Pockets as if they don’t pay enough already. When finished hopefully it will be worth the price and wait, time will tell. Anyone figure in the Current Pricing for ridership yet? Inflation surely has made it at least 40% more costly!

  7. We stayed two weeks in May and we will probably skip next years trip to Lahaina and go somewhere else instead. Maui is completely overcrowded. My wife and I could not walk side by side along the Kaanapali Beach Walk. It felt like Fith Ave in NY and in addition we were constantly pushed aside by some humping and pumping sweaty jogger yelling at us to make space. Restaurants are overcrowded and wait staff is overworked. I am to spend $300-$400 for a dinner for two, there should be some enjoyment and quality. For the first time we experienced a sharp drop in quality combined with a spike in prices. So, we take a break for a year and see how it is in 2024. We really miss our 5 week stay in October and November 2020!

  8. We visited Hawaii annually for nearly 40 years. We have two main reasons not to return. One is because it is crowded. And, I found the complaints by a massage therapist, during my massage, about tourists completely inappropriate and poorly timed. The second main reason is the governor did not allow passengers from our cruise ship to disembark when our cruise was affected by the pandemic in March 2020. It was especially irritating because tourists were still flying in during that time, and the day after our ship left, another ship disembarked more than twice as many passengers as were on our ship. There were no cases of COVID on our ship . . . in fact it was the healthiest cruise we’ve ever had.

    1. Hi Jacquie, we’ve vacationed on Oahu many times and only this past February have we encountered any kind of questionable behavior from any Hawaiian. Even then it was more perception than actual problem which led me to Ask if it was okay for Us to be on the Island. We were told that we were okay, we were at least nice and respectful, didn’t toss garbage on the ground. If that’s what it takes to keep the Peace, a little Respect and Courtesy, what’s so hard about that? I could have been Ignorant.

  9. Since 1978 we have made 11 trips to Hawaii.. That includes 6 trips to Kauai. Last month in May we were 3 weeks in Kauai. We are one that may not go back. This trip I received a vulgar note on my car telling me to go home and don’t come back. It was on the back of a Target receipt. I was parked legally near Brennecke’s beach. We spent $1,575.18 at restaurants and $405.07 at Safeway and Costco food items. We just like world class restaurants….We always come back with great local pictures…

  10. I can personally tell you that it’s not over tourism that the Hawaiian movement is against mainland Americans.. when covid hit the island of Kauai was deserted there was maybe one 100th of the tourism left on the island in May when I was still there there were still signs of tourism go home you are not welcome here this is the mentality you have to deal with and correct otherwise tourism will stop. I had first-hand experience witnessing in May during covid of a group of native Hawaiians accosting a family of four telling them to get off the island it’s not their Island it is our Island. They were just enjoying the beach bothering no one they will not return..

    1. Thomas L, what you have described is an unsatisfactory and unlawful group of Flunkies that should have been spending the day being Processed and Arraigned. It’s that type of antics that will cause a loss of Tourism Dollars and Jobs, possibly even more than they expect. Violence isn’t the answer. Should have dialed 911 and teach them a lesson. I can better understand the problem Tourists face in certain areas of the State now. Time for Law Enforcement to step up and do their part.

  11. Mark J, if you’re referring to what I said in No Way am I Accusing You of Lying. I am simply stating the “Official” view on this subject. If you believe that the Government would tell the Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing But the Truth that’s an Individual’s right, the Same with the MSM. Or, as I believe, Everything is Possible to Clean up Their States while “Sticking” it to another!

  12. Aloha,

    Locals, I am looking for honest feedback as I am reaching a point where I no longer feel welcome and am questioning visiting Kauai or Hawaii again after 20 years of visiting the island.

    On many forums there seems to be an underlying resentment and hatred toward visitors, no matter how respectful we are. It really seems many feel they have the right to price gouge us at every turn (getting their pound of flesh) for visiting. It also seems like some want to treat us like visitors to “Disney” as this narrative keeps getting thrown around.

    Is this how Hawaiians truly feel or is this some “bad actors” trying to scare off visitors?


    1. There’s nowhere to go on this planet where somebody doesn’t hate you for the color of your skin, your age, your weight, etc…

      You can’t let that stop you. Just be as respectful to others as you expect them to be to you… and avoid paying those that treat you otherwise.

      We still have incredible scenery and the best climate… and still a lot of really nice folks. Don’t follow the forums, unless you’re looking for trolls.

  13. … a generic reply to most of the comments here.

    Most opinions are in two categories: tourists saying they love the island and are respectful of the culture, and hawaiians saying tourists are disrespectful and trash the island.

    I work in the tourist industry on Kaua’i and interact heavily with vacationers: I love this work because I see the island making the visitors so happy. I hear them often talk about the respect they show for the culture and the land. Their biggest complaint is the lack of infrastructure to recycle, and the racist treatment they endure because they are white.

    1. I understand locals have issues with rising housing costs and lessor paying jobs in the tourist industry vs. the gone-forever agriculture jobs. I understand the desire to put this into a racial/racist context. That’s happening all over the globe: more people less land… “too many rats in the cage”, blame other races.

      As far as trashing the island: Poilihale was closed to camping mid-pandemic because locals had trashed it beyond repair. Tourism was illegal, so “Hawaiian all good, haoles all bad” is easily provable wrong and racist.

      These problems will only be resolved outside a racial/racist context. Putting tourism in the hands of an organization like the “Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement” will only make the problems worse.

    2. One complaint I hear from locals is along the lines of “we have a nice quiet spot and some haole plops down next to us”

      Most of Kauai is private property and inaccessible. There needs to be more recreation options for both locals and tourists.

      For example: Barking Sands. Yes, the military needs a port, but most of the longest beach on all the islands has military value. Other public corridors onto private property to waterfalls,beaches,and canyons should be negotiated with owners.

      Traffic is a big complaint shared by locals and tourists. A road connecting the north and south over the powerline trail will never happen, but how about a bike trail? How about a tram? … get tourists from Po’ipu to Ha’ena without traversing the perimeter.

    3. Not to mention the gaslighting, where we are accused of trashing the island/beaches/don’t respect locals, etc. or that we view Hawaii as Disney.

      There might be some isolated incidents of this, but this is not limited to Hawaii.

  14. I am 86y and have been coming to Hawaii since I was 15. I love the islands, its culture, food, and especially the music. I hope the natives can except someone like me.

  15. Una is absolutely on the mark with her comment and shall remain truthful each year post Covid 19. Taxes, whether derived from Use, Rental, Room, Sales or Whatever Form that Tourists Are Paying while visiting the State of Hawaii is what Funds Most Programs. Imagine as they disappear just how important Tourists really are to everyone and everything. You’re already Chasing some away and More Will Follow.

    1. Most programs?

      The newly added tax in HNL county pays for:
      One-third, to the (wildly overbudget and not yet proven useful) Honolulu rail for the first two years, and then half of the revenue. The rest will go into the city’s general fund, with a portion to be used “to mitigate the impacts of visitors on public facilities and natural resources.”

  16. What I find absurd is that some Hawaiians are Asserting Homeless are being sent to the Islands. There’s Absolutely No Proof of This Occurring! Many are collecting some sort of Assistance, they can afford to buy their ticket over time. That same source of money will support them in Hawaii as long as they remain Homeless. “Assuming” does cause several things including trouble. Deal with Homeless Issue’s and Relocation before Tourism! Igor keeps misinforming the Official Numbers!

  17. Waikiki, is very noisy with the same motorcycles using the streets as a drag strip. We didn’t think the police had any power over these drag racers. We returned again in 2021 and were pleased with the clean streets compared with past years and huge police presence in Waikiki was nice. Hookers were not around as in past years, that was nice. We stayed for two weeks in a room with a stovetop because it’s too expensive to eat out and I enjoy cooking anyway. Every morning I walked around Diamond Head and then spent our days people watching or at a park. We find the people to be very friendly most of the time. Not sure if we will return.

  18. Regarding the homeless (often called “houseless”) in Hawai’i, I have heard many times during my nearly four years of living on Oahu, that it is common practice by many cities and states on the mainland to send some of their homeless residents on one-way trips to Hawaii. I was incredulous at this notion, but I became convinced during my latest flight from Denver to Honolulu in February when I sat in a row in coach class on a United flight with a passenger who was easily recognizable as a homeless person. His attire was shabby, he smelled very bad, and conducted himself in a way that was clearly not in conformance with general civil habits. His belongings were in a half-dozen heavily worn plastic bags. Incredible. How can this be allowed?

    1. How can this be allowed?
      …is not the question that should be asked. Rather:

      What choices did these individuals make that led to their becoming homeless?

      As well intended as anyone can be, there are some people bent on self destruction and no governmental policy can change that. I get it is hard for people to ask for help sometimes but self responsibility comes with freedom of choice.

      1. Choices of other state’s residents should not result in that state flying them one way to HI, which has been the case in some instances. Keep their bad choices in their own home state.

        That said, the US has a huge homeless problem that is multifaceted and not simply explained away by “bad choices.”

    2. I seem to recall that several years ago,the State of Hawaii offered one way tickets to any homeless that wanted to go back to the mainland and the program was an abject failure. Someone please correct me if I am wrong about the program, but that’s how I remember it.

    3. Unfortunately it’s been going on for decades. I grew up on Maui and my father, from 1975 – 80, worked as a Psychiatrist for the State. Many of the newly admitted patients to the mental health center had recently arrived from the Mainland with a one way ticket courtesy of another state. For years, there was a man (also a frequent visitor to the state’s mental health facility) who was known as ‘Diaper Man’. He would walk up and down Hana Hwy in Kahalui in a pair of ‘diapers’ and nothing else. He was a well known fixture for residents and harmless but unfortunately not everyone who arrived with a one way ticket was. It’s impossible to stop them from coming.

    4. People have been spreading that legend for years. I’ve heard it but never seen any proof during my 32 years working for an airline and living in Hawaii. Spent a lot of time walking through terminals and never saw a homeless person on the gate side of TSA.
      Your comment that he had “6 garbage bags” is obviously false. No airline would board him with that nor in the condition you described.
      Lying to make a political point is at an all time high and in fact has crossed over into uncharted territory that is undermining our collective future and hurting us all. Half the Country doesn’t seem to care but truth does matter.

    5. I believe that there is a kernel of truth to this. Many states/local governments would send people on way-way tickets to destinations where they had family. So, if you were homeless in Seattle (say) and had family in Hawaii they might send you “home” with the idea that your Ohana would care for you. Not saying that this wasn’t abused, but I think there was a plan behind some of it.

    6. Una is absolutely on the mark with her comment and shall remain truthful each year post Covid 19. Taxes, whether derived from Use, Rental, Room, Sales or Whatever Form that Tourists Are Paying while visiting the State of Hawaii is what Funds Most Programs. Imagine as they disappear just how important Tourists really are to everyone and everything. You’re already Chasing some away and More Will Follow.

    7. Wh as t I stated is absolute fact. The passenger had numerous plastic bags on board and he basically a mess. Don’t accuse me of lying. No politics

      1. Sorry pal, I just don’t buy United ( Den-HNL) would board a homeless guy reeking of the street and carrying 6 plastic bags of junk.
        Unless he was jumpseating?….that’s a joke

  19. Hawaiians have inhabited the islands for less than 1000 years. Arriving from Tahiti, they conquered it from the Marquesians; who conquered the Menehune. For Hawaiians to lay absolute claim to the land from this relatively short history is ridiculous. The monarchy in England has existed longer than the Hawaiian monarchy did.

  20. Every would-be visitor to Hawai’i should read this article in today’s WaPo:
    Opinion It’s true our Hawaiian Islands are overrun — and not just by chickens
    By Keoni DeFranco
    June 8, 2022

    1. Everyone should watch this video. The conversation is a recurrent subject repeated ad nausium, and the video, though offered as comedy, provides a stark explanation of the fight over hawaii. For your consideration


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