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Hawaiians Urged to Be Kind
People, Travel

Hawaiians Urged to Be Kind

As a record number of visitors stream into Hawaii, state officials want residents to know: Tourism is your friend.
The agency that promotes travel to Hawaii is starting an online video campaign to remind locals about the benefits of the state’s biggest employer.
The campaign is aimed at showing tourism helps a broad cross-section of the state, not just those who work in hotels or at other jobs directly in the industry, said Leslie Dance, the Hawaii Tourism Authority’s vice president for marketing and product development. People sometimes forget how important tourism is and start lamenting there are too many people around, particularly when business is good, she said, AP reported.
“It’s just a tendency for people to start complaining,” Dance said. “And so the thing is, let’s remind everybody again.”
Critics say the industry offers poorly paid jobs and exploits Hawaiian culture. But many complaints are about increased traffic and congestion.
The campaign comes as the state tries to maintain the momentum that brought a record 8.6 million travelers to Hawaii last year, the fourth-straight year of record-breaking visitor arrivals. Industry officials attribute the growth to an increase in flights and Hawaii’s enduring popularity with global travelers.
Rena Risso, a 30-year-old who was born and raised in Kailua, understands the positive aspects of tourism, but she believes they’re outweighed by the negatives.
“I think, as far as the local’s point of view, its humbug,” she said. “I can’t even take my kids to the beach on a weekend because it’s so crazy.”
The tourism agency should do more than promote “uncritical support for the growth of tourism,” said Jonathan Osorio, a professor of Hawaiian studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. It should be required to consider the long-term effects of continued growth on Hawaii’s resources and society, he said.

 

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