Millions of people visit Hawaii every year without a second thought about the locals. 

Lots of tourists don’t realize the ethical controversy about visiting Hawaii, but there are a variety of reasons why people should do more research and stop going to the state altogether.

Traveling is an essential part of modern-day culture, and something many people consider their passion. Summer, specifically, has become synonymous with traveling.

When people travel for the summer, the most popular places to visit in the United States are New York, Las Vegas and Maui; Hawaii has been listed as the second most popular travel destination in 2021. 

The islands are some of the most popular summer vacation destinations because of the their beauty, from the beaches to the palm trees. However, the islands may not stay this way for long.

As people continue traveling to the island, Hawaii is getting slammed with over-tourism. 

Over-tourism is a phenomenon that occurs when popular spots are highly populated by tourists, causing harmful effects on those places, ranging from excessive traffic and crowding to making room for more tourists by displacing locals. 

After the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, over-tourism only grew as people wanted to get out of their houses and travel. Nearly 600,000 people visited Hawaii in 2021

The population of Hawaii is only 1.4 million people, so an influx of visitors was too much for the small state to handle. The islands are only so big. When large groups come it becomes overcrowded, and the locals are the ones who end up displaced to make room for more tourist attractions. 

Many tourists think of Hawaii as a vacation spot, rather than a home to locals, which can lead to many people disrespecting the island. Being mindless in their own vacation bubble, tourists do not recognize there are islanders who pay the price for their actions.   

Visitors have been seen purposely going to places that are sacred to Native Hawaiians, trashing the island and disrespecting wild animals. 

Sacred sites such as certain temples and mountains are even advertised to tourists.

Last year, people posted videos of themselves in Hawaii touching the endangered Hawaiian Monk seals. The seals were resting on the beach when these tourists took it as an opportunity to disturb the animals.

There are rules in place to prevent these types of offenses to begin with. However, some tourists don’t respect the island and think they can do whatever they want. These people should know better, but their top priorities are themselves and their families having a good time. 

Furthermore, the locals and Native Hawaiians have been telling people to stop visiting the islands. This is shown by the locals protesting and speaking out against the desecration of land to build hotels and resorts.

There are a few reasons why locals say not to travel to Hawaii; one is that a significant portion of natural resources in Hawaii go toward tourism instead of the locals.

Fifty-one percent of Hawaii's homeless population is Native Hawaiian and are homeless because most of the state's real estate is built for tourists, which drives up residential property prices. Single-family homes on average are about $1 million, but most Hawaiians earn about $88,000 a year. 

Real estate developers care more about making money and building resorts than the locals.

Tourists also aren’t always good for Hawaii because of the problem it poses with people looking for unexplored areas to venture to. 

Additionally, people build hotels and resorts on sacred land, even though the Native Hawaiians protest these builds. People do not listen to or care what Native Hawaiians and locals have to say. 

In the process of building on sacred land, resort and hotel contractors are also destroying the environment by clearing land to make hotels and tourist attractions. Also, an important factor for tourists to consider is the impacts of visiting Hawaii.

This goes hand in hand with the issue of how polluted the island is; tourism is a big part of that. With the number of people that visit Hawaii, it’s no surprise how much plastic pollution there is. 

People litter and trash Hawaii without a care in the world. It was found the amount of trash entering the ocean near Hawaii increases by 40% during the summer seasons. Though, this isn’t only happening in Hawaii — it occurs all over the world thanks to consumerism.

After reading, if you still decide to travel to Hawaii and want to try to do it ethically and respectfully, the best way is to do research on how you can support Native Hawaiian businesses. There’s no need to go to sacred locations on the islands and cause more harm than good.

It is better to avoid traveling to Hawaii overall, but if you do, there are resources on how to be more respectful.

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