The end of tourism in Hawaii as we know it
A new plan for tourism in Hawaii is coming. It’s fraught with pitfalls in typical Hawaiian fashion, including various opinions and all the in-fighting within Hawaii’s marketing entities. However, one thing is clear: old-school Hawaii tourism is coming to an end.
It’s time to say goodbye to the golden age of Hawaiian tourism that reigned for sixty years, from the 1960s to 2019. It was a great ride, and Hawaii and visitors loved it and enjoyed it. It’s a shared heritage that began with the advent of jet travel.
60 years ago, Elvis’ Blue Hawaii + Jets transformed Hawaii Travel
As we pay homage to some Hawaii visitors of the past who choose not to return and to mass tourism, we say goodbye to aspects of the industry that are stereotyped in perfect iconic images like the one above. What a trip it has been. Kicking and screaming (all and all), we are entering a time of seismic change in Hawaii travel, and nothing less.
So what happened, and what comes next?
For the past sixty years, tourists have loved Hawaii to death. Whether it’s Hanauma Bay, the Road to Hana, North Shore Kauai, or a list of other epic Hawaiian destinations, over-tourism has had a huge impact on the environment and people. from Hawaii. During Covid, the world rethought, and what became clear was that a lot would change when tourism resumed.
Do not worry; the sandcastles of your dreams haven’t entirely disappeared. Yet a new vision and related imagery for our still-iconic destinations is envisioned, a future co-created by and benefiting residents, Hawaii’s travel industry, and visitors.
This new quality of life and this environmental orientation are reminiscent of what happens in other overly touristy places such as Bali, Machu Picchu and Barcelona. Another example is France’s national parks and country towns that have systems and strategies in place to manage traffic flows amid the summer travel boom. “What we try to do, especially for national markets like Paris and the French, is to get people to come all year round rather than during the summer or the peak period. They also introduced visitor quotas, advance reservations and fees. Sound familiar?
Hawaii and many other destinations like these are forging new avenues where tourism provides greater benefits to visitors and residents.
In some places, it is referred to as “locality”, which means to consider visitors more like temporary residents than tourists. Although not a literal translation, it does imply that visitors and residents are essential parts of the same Hawaiian ecosystem, with responsibilities and benefits that result in a better and more harmonious Hawaii for all. . It is a long-term vision with human relations as the focal point and where visitors and residents co-exist and co-create. Hawaii must find ways for industry, residents and visitors to work together in a way that all benefit. And it doesn’t work in the taro fields, as mentioned in Are You The Tourists Hawaii Wants.
There will be no more growth for growth’s sake.
So far, this has been the primary focus of the Hawaii Tourism Authority since its inception. Develop new experiences in Hawaiian tourism, including culture and “locality”.
Moving from a visitor growth model to a visitor value model is the next big hurdle. There is a dire need to create a better experience for visitors and residents along the way.
Hawaii has a chance to become a world leader in creating its new travel paradigm.
But does he have the means and the resources to be an opinion leader? So far, it’s been slow in coming. This is not from HTA or HVCB, which, as you recall, just launched as an HTA partner after 120 years of marketing in Hawaii. Is it the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement? This is the new partner chosen by HTA, but probably challenged by the courts. Given their lack of experience and focus on Native Hawaiian issues, we question that.
Let’s continue to value regular visitors. The latest report indicates that 68% of visitors return.
The importance of return visitors could not be more evident, although Hawaiian HTA and HVCB traders seem to have missed this point entirely. It is for visitors to live quality experiences that they want to share. One quality Hawaiian visitor should beget another. Right now, we’re not sure it’s going the way it used to be. You see it in the comments here. Do you tell your friends to come back or not?
Can Hawaii put in the effort to retain its returning customers who have been the meat and potatoes of our inherited tourism revenue? Return visitors can be the most accessible customers to please, with less negative impact. They are also Hawaii’s best defenders. Returning customers spend more and are more satisfied with their Hawaiian vacation.
An interesting comment from Cheryl’s regular regarding returning visitors: “IMO, returning visitors are precisely the people the state should fear losing. Those of us who return year after year know and love the island and its people and treat it as if it were our second home. When you assess the “returners” out of the market, you’re left with people looking for the $29 fares and a party week who have little respect for the culture or the people, or the super rich who are there. to be expected firmly and who cares about the inhabitants. Return visitors inject a lot of money into the economy, we just do it differently than people who come for a week or so, and the state leaves us no choice but to look elsewhere for a place to spend our winters.
Hawaii also needs new visitors from emerging markets.
Many of you have mentioned it in the comments. Whether it’s upcoming nonstop flights from London or those from Southeast Asia or Japan, Hawaii wants to attract visitors whose mindset aligns with the new paradigm. travel.
What are the first steps to participate in the new trip to Hawaii?
1. Include sustainable tourism in your Hawaiian trips. It can be as simple as selecting nonstop flights instead of connecting them, since most environmental damage occurs during takeoff and landing.
2. Go green at your destination in Hawaii. Remember not to change your sheets and towels every day. Turn off the air conditioning, fan, and other electronics when you leave your room. Use recycling programs or create your own. Travel with reusable water bottles, cups, shopping bags, containers, and other things that reduce single-use disposable items.
3. Take special care of Hawaiian heritage places.
4. Find new proactive ways to get out of your comfort zone.
UH School of Travel Management was right about one thing.
They said if you can’t reduce tourism, make it regenerative. And it will be refreshing. He was referring to planting taro and cleaning beaches, which you’ve most openly said you don’t favor as ways to spend your hard-earned vacation in Hawaii. So what will it look like?
Some of what it will include will make tourism more attractive to Hawaii residents. The study called it “tourist attractiveness” and looked at ways to reduce negative feelings towards tourists. Noble goals are not specific in mind, but we clearly get the point.
We are ready to move towards a goal of more sustainable and regenerative tourism.
It’s going to be awkward. We will get there. The world is moving in this direction, and we will be part of this movement.
Remove the stigma of being anti-tourist.
In the process, can Hawaii do anything to remove the perception that it is anti-visitor? Since this is primarily due to over-tourism, what can Hawaii do to mitigate the negative impact of tourism and improve perception?
Manage the rising costs of vacationing in Hawaii.
It’s not just Hawaii that has suddenly become very expensive. Instead, it’s global. Still, it’s such a hotspot for value-oriented Hawaiian tourists who’ve enjoyed relatively inexpensive Hawaii vacations for years. With car rentals, for example, Hawaii has nothing to do with lack of availability or costs (other than taxes). But it’s thrown into the “Hawaii blame bucket” on overall vacation costs. Then there are the highest visitor accommodation taxes in the country. This is something Hawaii controls, and the recent addition of 3% across the board hasn’t helped. Accommodations are abusive and air fares are also on the rise.
What do you think of the ongoing changes in tourism in Hawaii?