What are everyone’s thoughts on tourism in Hawaii? I’ve heard a lot about the negative impact it has (especially recently). I hesitate to make the trip because of it…curious of what others know/have experienced.

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It’s a fair question. Is tourism in Hawaii ethical in its current format? Many (particularly native Hawaiians) would say no.

A sovereign nation was taken over and is now used as the playground for the conquerers, reshaping beachfronts into massive corporate palaces where the locals wait on you hand and foot. Yes, that’s just one way to spin it, but it is how many native Hawaiians view it.

Personally, I think we need to reshape our relationship with Hawaii and scale back the grand tourism. In the meantime, either don’t go or consider staying in smaller/local accommodations and explore the actual communities beyond the tourist traps.

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Thanks for answering the question D1 - agreed there are a few different ways to spin it but the rhetoric you outlined is certainly a common one.

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I think if you respect the history of the islands and the people as well as the culture, it is fine to go. We went to the BI and Maui last year, and also read the same thing. We felt we approached everything respectfully, left no trace, appreciated everything from a historical and cultural standpoint.

However, I think the larger problem is a lot of people don’t. The BI wasn’t as touristy so it didn’t stick out as much but Maui is a whooooole different story. In Maui, they literally have an announcement on the tram that goes from the airport to the car rental station that mentions “no influencing”. There are signs all over the road to Hana about no influencing/taking pictures where people shouldn’t. There were many a time in Maui where we saw people just stop in the far right lane (with their car partially sticking out) to go and take pictures, even when there were signs saying “no trespassing”. We’d go to areas where people were climbing on stuff, there were numerous stories last year about people touching wild animals, and just being overall disrespectful to people’s property and the island. It’s like people don’t get out enough and realize, this is someone else’s home, treat it with respect like you’d treat your own. But seeing how a lot of Americans are…the lack of awareness is unsurprising 🙄

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Yeah it actually made me regret going to Maui. That was my second time and first as an adult but I don’t think I’ll go back. It was also just disarming seeing the resort areas full of white boomers or just wealthier looking white people while all the brown people giving massages, serving drinks…at least on the BI, you saw more diversity in tourists, there isn’t a huge resort area, and the tourists seemed kinder. But on Maui, literally when we first got there, there were Karens at the car rental and the first place we got food from, and then just seeing the picture taking along the road in the prohibited areas just left a sour taste for the rest of the trip. I’ve heard Honululu is even worse/the same so I think I’ll stick to Kauai and BI going forward.

i went to oahu last summer and had the greatest time without even stepping near those giant ass resorts. crash at some local hostels and eat at local joints. North Shore Oahu is way less urbanized than waikiki and honolulu

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The unfortunate truth is that Hawaii is very dependent on tourism and the military industrial complex. Just make sure you stay at local hotels, guesthouses (avoid Airbnb's that don't have the owner living in them and are only investment properties), go to local restaurants and festivals, use real taxis not Ubers, and make sure that you spend your money in ways that keep the money on the island (by a bottle of water at a local store, not at Walmart).

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I’ve been to Hawaii about 30 times in my life now. Love every second of it

I totally agree people should just treat themselves, others and their surroundings better. There’s already a big homeless problem in Oahu.

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