Beginning of Summer Trip to Hawaii: Dizzying Influx, Huge Disappointments

Hawaii’s long-awaited summer travel crisis officially begins today with increased traffic, sold-out crowds, longer restaurant lines and crowds on the beaches as Hawaii busily gears up to host over 10 million visitors a year, nearly 8 times our population this year. As you will see in the chart below, domestic arrivals are well ahead of all previous years. Domestic arrivals disproportionately affect neighboring islands, which receive fewer foreign visitors than Oahu.

Residents and visitors to the city will be in suspense until the slow season begins in mid-August. Both groups prepare for the onslaught of the arrivals and whatever they may have to endure. We would like to think that we are all in this together and want to have the best possible situation for all of us.

And we’re still being asked, “Does Hawaii hate visitors?”

The simple and obvious answer is no, as we prepare to welcome an unprecedented number of guests over the summer, facing in many ways severely under-resourced. We join you in that we do not like to see that neither visitors nor locals have anything to do with even a small pile of rotten eggs. And yet, it’s busy, probably too busy given our limited options, and there’s truth to the fact that overly demanding and expectant travelers ruin the experience of traveling to Hawaii, especially during the height of summer.

Speaking of how Hawaiians feel about tourism, the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) released a survey of residents last year. “It found that while many are concerned about the growth of the visitor industry, the majority of Hawaiians believe that tourism is worth the trouble that comes with the industry.”

The commenter said: “There seems to be an undercurrent of resentment and hatred towards visitors in many forums, no matter how respectful we are. It’s really like many people think they have the right to cheat us at every turn (getting their 5 pounds of flesh) for a visit. It also seems that some want to treat us like Disney visitors as this story continues to spread. Is this how Hawaiians really feel, or are they some kind of “bad actors” trying to scare away visitors?

For us and for you, let’s take a break during this summer revenge trip to Hawaii.

No doubt we are already seeing this before the summer crisis officially begins today. Over the next few months, we will be facing more traffic, crowds and frustration as Hawaii prepares to host over 10 million visitors a year, nearly 8 times our population this year.

One reader had a solution for traffic on Kauai: “There will never be a north-south power line, but what about a bike path? How about a tram? … get tourists from Poipu to Jaéna without crossing the perimeter.” What do you think?

Where we see the frustration of over-tourism in Hawaii.

  • Traffic congestion. It takes some time to get through on one side…

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